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3rd Circ. Judge Restrepo Is Finally Near Confirmation

By Peter Clarke, JD on June 12, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The confirmation hearing went well for Judge L. Felipe Restrepo in early June. After long delays for Judge Restrepo, it shouldn't be long before the 3rd Circuit officially welcomes their new judge to the bench.

A longtime judge on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Restrepo received President Obama's nomination for the circuit court on November 12th. From the beginning on this process, the judge's public supporters have included Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey.

Confirmation Hearing Success

During the hearing, Sen. David Perdue asked Restrepo about his court decisions that had been remanded by the circuit court. Over the course of eleven years, there were only two such decisions. One of them, Restrepo stated, involved an understandable disagreement concerning a point of law; the other, he admitted, was a case he should have handled more carefully.

The course of the hearing was similarly frictionless. By all accounts, it appears that Restrepo will well on his way to taking the bench. Many have grumbled that the process has already taken far too long.

Accusations of Stalling Continue

Restrepo isn't the only judge currently held in limbo. What's with the holdup? In a word: politics. At least, that's how Democrats see the issue.

Democrats continually point out delays in the system, blaming Republicans for stalling unnecessary with judicial appointments. According to Democrats, the GOP is stalling with Obama nominees as they wait for a change in executive leaderships.

The appointment of Judge Restrepo has been directly affected by delays, some argue. In Philadelphia, there is speculation that Republican Senator Toomey, while publically promoting Restrepo, has secretly delayed the proceedings. Whether or not these calculated delays have taken place, there is an urgent need for judges to take their new posts. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Restrepo's position was labeled a "judicial emergency vacancy."

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