SENATORS HEINRICH AND UDALL REFUSE TO PUSH FEDERAL JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS FORWARD AS CRIMINAL CASES PILE UP IN STATE
ALBUQUERQUE, SEPTEMBER 28 — The recent decision by U.S. Senators Heinrich and Udall to postpone and politicize the nominations of two federal judgeships for New Mexico will burden our state even more when it comes to fighting crime.
President Trump’s selections in May of 1st Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Federici and Albuquerque attorney Brenda Saiz were excellent choices and received the endorsement of both U.S. Senators. Then last week they suddenly changed their minds. The New Mexico lawmakers decided to halt the process given the proximity to the national election.
The Senators claimed that the President politicized his Supreme Court nominations, but the Supreme Court has nothing to do with crime in New Mexico and the dire need for federal judges. It’s their state being impacted by these vacancies. The president’s High Court short list announcement on September 9 was not political at all. It was protocol. In addition, Sen. Udall and Heinrich froze the nominations before Justice Ginsburg passed away, apparently using the election as an excuse.
This postponement could mean New Mexico’s federal judgeship vacancies could last at least another year. This delay puts the stakes extremely high for a state’s that plagued by crime.
The following is a statement from Republican Party of New Mexico Chairman Steve Pearce on the decision by Sen. Martin Heinrich and Sen. Tom Udall to hold up the nominations process:
“It’s a bad time for New Mexico. We struggle with crime in this state, and with New Mexico’s federal courts among the busiest in the nation, it’s vital we fill these two vacancies on the bench. Crime and capital cases will continue to escalate if we don’t confirm President Trump’s nominees. These vacancies have put unprecedented pressures on our federal courts. Both Democratic U.S. Senators know that for a long time we have had a serious backlog of federal drug trafficking and other criminal cases in New Mexico, and the federal court system here can’t handle the overwhelming number of criminal matters. It’s a sad commentary that our Senators won’t address our crime problem, and instead they refuse to fulfill their duty to get our federal courts up to speed so justice can be served. This is absolutely the worst political act a Senator could do, and this delay will continue to endanger our communities and citizens who deserve that criminal cases be prosecuted.”