This vote was on confirming the nomination of Marisa Demeo to be an associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Republicans had held up a vote on her nomination mostly over questions about some of her stances on immigration-related issues, primarily involving language.
Roland Burris, D-Ill., complained that Republicans’ obstruction on judicial nominees has ground the justice system “to a halt.”
“My good friend, the junior Senator from South Carolina, has chosen to obstruct an eminently qualified judicial nominee and current DC magistrate judge, named Marisa Demeo. When the President of the United States appoints a judge to the Superior Court here in Washington, these nominations are generally approved by the Senate without delay or controversy,” Burris said. “But this time, my Republican friends have decided to play politics with our judicial system. They have stalled Judge Demeo's nomination for 8 months, and have turned a routine vote into the longest confirmation battle of the Obama Presidency. And for what reason? My colleagues and I have asked our Republican friends to name their objections, but no one can get a straight answer. No Republican has cast any doubt on Judge Demeo's qualifications, which are superb.” Buris noted that during her confirmation hearings, no Republican even questioned her.
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said her background and record “raise issues with me.” He also noted that her nomination went through the Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, not the Judiciary Committee, on which he is the top Republican.
“Ms. Demeo's background provides evidence that she may be more political and strong-willed personally than impartial. Her prior experience includes serving as regional counsel for the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF). In this position, she made a number of troubling statements. For example, she argued that ``governments have a legal obligation to help those who don't speak English well.'' We have an obligation, all of us, to help people who do not speak English, and I think that is so. But as a judge, I am wondering: Does this mean that constitutionally she is saying the government has a legal obligation to do that? That seems, to me, the tone of her statement.”
Sessions said she was at MALDEF when the organization sued the state of Texas because its high schools did not offer exit exams necessary to graduate in Spanish.
By a vote of 66-32, the Senate confirmed Marisa Demeo. Every Democrat present voted for her nomination. Of Republicans present, eight voted for her nomination and 32 voted against it. The end result is that the Senate confirmed Marisa Demeo to be an associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.