The Third Circuit Court of Appeals, crippled by an overwhelming docket, is also laboring with a vacancy on its bench. In November of 2014 the White House nominated the Honorable Luis Restrepo to fill the position. Judge Restrepo only recently took his place on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bench after receiving bipartisan support, including the express endorsement of Senator Toomey.
Back in November of 2014, Senator Toomey said, “As both a federal magistrate and district judge, Judge Restrepo has served the people of Pennsylvania honorably and with distinction. He also is dedicated to his community by giving his free time to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Sen. Casey and I recommended Judge Restrepo to the White House for a seat on the federal district court, and I believe that he will also make a superb addition to the Third Circuit based in Philadelphia."
But now, Senator Toomey has admittedly participated in a Republican backed effort to prevent the Obama administration from seeking any kind of legacy on the Federal bench or appeals courts. As one conservative think tank member suggested this past March in the Wall Street Journal, “There is little risk of the public outrage that might accompany a DHS shutdown or even a fight over a Cabinet nominee.”
I have appeared before Judge Restrepo both as a district court judge and as a federal magistrate judge before that. I have always found him to be an open minded, capable, and reasonable judge. His background as a defense lawyer brought a rare perspective to the Eastern District. Judge Restrepo's experience offered a viewpoint that restored humanity to what is often a grueling and dehumanizing experience --- employment discrimination litigation.
Hopefully, Pennsylvania voters will remember Senator Toomey's shenanigans with this nomination when Toomey runs for re-election next year. In the mean time, readers can sign an online petition at this link and read more about Judge Restrepo and the nomination here, here, and here.