Statement by President Bush on a 10-9 party-line Senate Judiciary Committee vote opposing the confirmation of District Court Judge Charles Pickering to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals:

I am deeply disappointed that Judge Charles Pickering, a distinguished judge who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in the past, is being denied the opportunity to further serve his country. The action of the Senate Judiciary Committee to refuse Judge Pickering a vote by the full Senate leaves another empty seat in the federal judiciary at a time when we face a vacancy crisis. It was unfortunate for democracy and unfortunate for America.

Judge Pickering has earned the praise and support of those who know him and know his record best — both Democrats and Republicans from his home state of Mississippi. They know him to be a fair and measured judge, an advocate of civil rights and a dedicated member of his community. He has served with distinction, and deserves better than to be blocked by a party line vote of ten Senators on one Committee. The voice of the entire Senate deserves to be heard.