April 21st, 2011
08:23 AM ET

Judicial nominee logjam creates 'crisis' in some federal courts

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

Washington (CNN) - In the words of Judge Roslyn Silver, the situation is "dire." From her chambers in Phoenix, Arizona, the chief judge of federal judicial District of Arizona warns a bulging criminal caseload is being exacerbated by three unfilled bench seats, which the Obama administration and the Senate have, until recently, shown little urgency to address.

"We have a crisis, we have vacancies, and we would like to have them filled so that justice can be served," she told CNN in an exclusive television interview.

The crisis was thrust suddenly upon the 64-year-old Arizona native. The murder of her predecessor, Chief Judge John Roll in the January 8 Tucson shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously wounded suddenly put her in charge. Losing a colleague and dear friend, while ensuring her court continued to do its job remains a personal and professional challenge for Silver, but she remains quietly confident.


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