Senate Judiciary Committee Formally Welcomes Senator Laphonza Butler, Advances Four Judicial Nominees

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee formally welcomed Senator Laphonza Butler (D-CA) to the Committee, after it was announced that she would fill the seat left vacant following the passing of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

Approved at today’s business meeting, Senator Butler is now Chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and filled Senator Feinstein’s three other subcommittee assignments on the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism; the Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, and Federal Rights; and the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law.

“I offer Senator Butler a warm welcome to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her input on behalf of the people of California will be well taken, and I look forward to her valuable perspective as we continue our work on behalf of the American people, including advancing nominations to the federal bench, pursuing Supreme Court ethics reform, and protecting children’s safety online,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Additionally, the Committee advanced four judicial nominations to the full Senate.

“We advanced the nominations of four fair arbiters of justice to the full Senate today. This includes the nomination of John Kazen to serve as a district judge in Texas, with the endorsement of Senators Cruz and Cornyn. With twenty-six lifetime judgeships eligible for a vote on the Senate floor, our committee will continue to advance the nominations of diverse, highly qualified judges to serve on the federal bench,” said Durbin.

The Senate has confirmed 147 judges to lifetime appointments on the federal bench under Chair Durbin and during the Biden administration. Following today’s business meeting, twenty-six lifetime judges – including four circuit court nominees and twenty district court nominees – are eligible for a vote on the Senate floor.

The following nominees advanced by the indicated vote totals:

  • John Kazen, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas: approved by voice vote.
  • Shanlyn Park, to be United States District Judge forthe District of Hawaii: 12-9.
  • Jamel Semper, to be United States District Judge forthe District of New Jersey: 13-8.
  • Micah Smith, to be United States District Judge forthe District of Hawaii: 14-7.

An archived video of today’s hearing can be found here.