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The thumb-down editorial "Vote on Matheson" (Our View, Dec. 5) explains how "the nomination of Scott M. Matheson Jr. to the bench of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being held hostage to partisan gridlock" and exhorts Sen. Orrin Hatch to "publicly urge his Republican colleagues to bring this nomination to a vote."

The Senate should indeed vote on Matheson and on 37 other pending judicial nominees, 29 of which were unanimously cleared by the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Hatch is a member.

Seven of the cleared nominees who had one or more committee "no" votes are women, people of color, or both. Fairness, and the need to fill unprecedented numbers of judicial vacancies, argue for full Senate votes on all nominees.

For example, prominent conservative Republican supporters of Goodwin Liu's nomination to a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "emergency vacancy" include Kenneth Starr and Clint Bolick. President George W. Bush's White House ethics counsel Richard Painter explained that Liu "should not be controversial." Seven Republican-appointed judges signed a 9th Circuit Judicial Council letter describing "our desperate need for judges."

Glenn Sugameli

Staff attorney, Judging the Environment project on federal judicial nominations, Defenders of Wildlife

Washington, D.C.