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Harry R.
Democrat NV

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  • Nomination of Elizabeth A. Wolford to Be United States District Judge for the District of New York

    by Senator Harry Reid

    Posted on 2013-12-11

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    Read More about Nomination of Elizabeth A. Wolford to Be United States District Judge for the District of New York

    REID. On behalf of the majority, I yield back 57 minutes.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    The Senator from New Hampshire.

    McCafferty Nomination Mrs. SHAHEEN. Madam President, I appreciate the 3 minutes to be on the floor in support of the nomination of [[Page S8712]] Landya McCafferty to the Federal district court for the District of New Hampshire. If confirmed, Landya will be the first woman to serve on the Federal bench in New Hampshire. But it is not Landya's gender that matters; it is her professional experience and her personal qualities that make her stand out. She has widespread bipartisan support throughout the New Hampshire legal community and she will make an excellent addition to the Federal district court in New Hampshire.

    She is currently the U.S. magistrate judge for the District of New Hampshire. Her Federal court experience includes clerking for two district court judges and at the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Landya has also prosecuted professional misconduct cases for the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney Discipline Office, served as an appellate and trial attorney in the highly regarded New Hampshire public defender program, and worked in private practice as a civil litigator.

    Landya is an innovator. As a magistrate judge, she has become a nationally recognized expert and teacher on how to use technology to achieve a more efficient and paperless workflow in the Federal court system.

    She was unanimously rated ``well qualified'' by the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary--their highest rating.

    Landya is also active in the legal community outside the courtroom. For the past decade she has lectured at continuing legal education seminars on various topics, primarily on legal ethics, and has also presented guest lectures on legal ethics and civil procedure at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

    I am pleased that this morning, after several months, we are finally going to get a chance to vote on Landya McCafferty, who is a well- qualified, noncontroversial district court nominee. She has the support of Senator Ayotte, who also represents New Hampshire.

    I have no doubt Landya McCafferty will be an outstanding Federal district court judge, and I urge my colleagues to support her nomination when the vote comes up this morning.

    I thank the Chair and yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.

    Mrs. FISCHER. Madam President, I rise to discuss the nomination of Elizabeth Wolford to be U.S. district judge for the District of New York.

    I am new here. I am just completing my first year in the Senate. But I believe this nomination gives us all an opportunity to discuss how government is or is not working in Washington, DC.

    I know when I travel the State of Nebraska--and I am back in the State most weekends and put on hundreds of miles; we are a big State, but as I travel the State of Nebraska, people always ask me: How are things going in Washington? How are you doing in Washington? I can't help but compare what we do in Nebraska to what we are doing now in Washington, DC, because in Nebraska we have a pretty unique system. We are unicameral, we have one house, we are nonpartisan, and we get things done.

    We have an agenda set up every day in the Nebraska legislature, and we follow that agenda. We have bills listed. We go through those bills, and, most importantly, we take votes. As a State senator in the State of Nebraska, I have an opportunity to rise and debate with my colleagues on the issues before us. I have the opportunity to sit at my desk in the chamber in the Nebraska capitol and write out an amendment, take it up to the desk, have it discussed, and then have it voted upon.

    I believe the Nebraska way is a good example for what we could do here in Washington because we have so many important issues before us that are not being debated. I am speaking basically to an empty Chamber right now. We aren't debating the big issues before this country. We are not acting upon the big issues that are before this country. We certainly are not voting on those issues.

    We have a system in the Senate where amendments are not accepted. That whole concept is very foreign to me, because, as I said, in Nebraska we are able to file amendments and we are able to have those amendments voted upon. We also respect the rights of the minority, for although we may be officially nonpartisan, we do belong to political parties. We have a right to express our views on an issue, to represent our constituents, and to express their concerns. Those rights are respected, they are valued, and they are upheld.

    I can tell my colleagues I had bills that were filibustered in the State, and those filibusters would last, in one case, 16 hours. But in the end, after those views of the minority were expressed, we took a vote on the issue. In Nebraska, we take up those issues. We defend the rights of our constituents to be heard, and that is what this body should do as well. We should honor the rights of all of our constituents and have their views be heard.

    Being from Nebraska, we don't have as many people as some of the other States. But within this body, every Senator is equal. Every citizen has equal representation. That is a principle, and that is a value that must be respected.

    I am sorry to say I believe we are at a point where that principle, that value is no longer respected within the U.S. Senate.

    I see my colleague from Nebraska is in the Chamber, Madam President. I ask unanimous consent that the Senator from Nebraska and I be able to enter into a colloquy.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mrs. FISCHER. Thank you, Madam President.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.

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