After a delay of almost four years, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) promised this week that legislators would consider the promotions of two Latinos to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
Fending off criticism from President Clinton that Senate Republicans were delaying a handful of Latino judicial nominations, Lott said he was poised to consider the nominations of Richard Paez, a U.S. District Court judge in Los Angeles, and Marsha Berzon, a labor lawyer in the Bay Area.
"I will move to proceed to each of these nominations no later than March 15 of next year," Lott told Democratic Senate leaders.
Clinton has accused Republicans of stalling action on the nominations of five Latinos for federal judgeships. Lott has denied the claim, saying that four Latinos were among 19 nominees confirmed this year. Paez was nominated in January of 1996; Berzon two years later.
The nomination fracas has touched deep chords in both political parties, as presidential contenders are seeking votes from a greatly expanded Latino electorate.