It is past time for the Senate to vote on William Kayatta, the highly qualified consensus nominee whom President Barack Obama nominated for the Boston-based First Circuit last January. Because a vacancy in one of the court’s six active judgeships can prevent it from delivering justice and the opening has persisted for nearly a year, Republican Senators Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, who all enthusiastically support Kayatta, must urge the Senate to expeditiously consider the superb nominee.
The First Circuit is the court of last resort for 99 percent of appeals from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island. The circuit is the smallest, making one vacancy critical. Functioning without a sixth of the complement frustrates swift, economical and fair appellate disposition and places undue pressure on the remaining judges.