“President Obama took an important step to strengthen the federal bench and fill some of the judicial vacancies that urgently need to be filled when he nominated three highly qualified candidates to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today. Cornelia (Nina) Pillard, Patricia Ann Millett and Robert Leon Wilkins are veteran appellate lawyers with mainstream judicial philosophies who deserve speedy confirmation by the Senate.
Nina Pillard is well known to the National Partnership for Women & Families. She represented our client, pro bono, in 2003 when she successfully argued that the U.S. Supreme Court should uphold the family leave provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act as applied to state employers. In Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs, she convinced then-Chief Justice Rehnquist to write the majority opinion protecting this essential law and the workers who rely on it. We also worked closely with Pillard in the 1996 Supreme Court case, United States v. Virginia, in which she successfully argued for the solicitor general that the exclusion of women from the Virginia Military Institute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The vacancies on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals have been declared judicial emergencies, for good reason. It is an important court, with national jurisdiction and a caseload that affects women’s rights, workers’ rights, access to health care, federal agencies and much more. Judicial vacancies threaten citizens’ ability to vindicate their rights. The president has nominated three highly qualified candidates. The Senate must do its part and confirm them quickly.”