The nomination of trucking-focused attorney Brenda Saiz to the federal bench in New Mexico is in trouble, a victim of the strife surrounding the replacement of Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court.
Multiple news reports — one of them posted on the website of one of the New Mexico senators — said the two U.S. lawmakers from Saiz’s state are using their prerogative to block the Saiz nomination. Those two senators are both Democrats: Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich. The two senators, according to press reports, issued a statement late last week that they would not allow the nomination of Saiz and another New Mexico federal court nominee, Fred Federici, to proceed. Federici is an assistant U.S. attorney.
Senate tradition is that a home-state senator can block a nominee to the federal bench without cause by submitting a “blue slip.” Saiz had been nominated to the Federal District Court for New Mexico by President Donald Trump in May.
In their statement, according to the reports, the two senators said they had recommended Saiz and Federici previously to fill vacancies in the New Mexico Federal District Court.
Both nominees received the “well-qualified” designation from the American Bar Association.
“Just weeks before the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the president insisted on politicizing the judicial appointment process in his remarks at a thinly veiled campaign event at the White House,” Heinrich and Udall said in their joint statement, according to reports. “We will be pausing the process given the close proximity to the election and will continue to work expeditiously to fill these vacancies once the American people have spoken.”
Multiple reports have said the New Mexico federal court system is overwhelmed at present, with immigration and drug cases leading the list of cases that have burdened the docket.
Saiz is the leader of the products and general liability practice group at the Albuquerque law firm of Rodey Dickason Sloan Akin & Robb. According to her profile on the firm’s website, she focuses on medical malpractice and trucking law. Earlier, she had been described by another trucking-focused attorney as “a very well-respected member of the transportation law community.”