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Senate Judiciary Committee Advances the Protecting Older Americans Act, Four Judicial Nominations to the Full Senate

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the Protecting Older Americans Act, which would invalidate forced arbitration clauses that prevent age discrimination victims from seeking justice and public accountability in court. An AARP survey found that 78% of older workers have either seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and the Committee held a hearing on the effects of forced arbitration broadly last month. The bill builds off the lawmakers’ successful effort last Congress to invalidate forced arbitration agreements in cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“Older Americans who face age discrimination should have a choice of whether to bring their claims in court or pursue them through arbitration. Our bipartisan hearing last month on the effects of forced arbitration confirmed that truth. This Committee came together in 2022 to invalidate forced arbitration clauses and open the courts for victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and it’s time for Congress to build on that progress and do the same for victims of age discrimination,” said U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Additionally, the Committee advanced four judicial nominations to the full Senate, continuing the Committee’s work to bring balance to the federal judiciary. The nominations advanced include one circuit court nominee and three district court nominees.

“I’m pleased to see our work to advance judicial nominations and bring balance to the federal judiciary continue with strength. We just advanced four highly qualified nominees, including U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Ritz has been subjected to untrue, unfounded, and wholly inappropriate accusations, a stark and unwarranted pivot from the strong support for his nomination to be U.S. Attorney in 2022 by this Committee and his home state Senators. While the treatment of Mr. Ritz was beyond disappointing, I’ll continue encouraging my Republican and Democratic colleagues to engage with the White House to identify and advance nominees to lifetime posts on the federal bench,” said Durbin.

Read this roundup of the growing support for Mr. Ritz’s nomination despite false Republican smears.

Following today’s meeting, the Senate Judiciary Committee has reported 214 Article III judges to the full Senate – and the Senate has confirmed 194 judges to lifetime appointments on the federal bench – under the leadership of Chair Durbin. Now, seventeen lifetime judges – including four circuit court nominees and thirteen district court nominees – are eligible for a vote on the Senate floor.

The following pieces of legislation and nominations were reported by the indicated vote totals:

  • Kevin Gafford Ritz, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit: 11-10
  • Brian Edward Murphy, to be United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts: 11-10
  • Rebecca L. Pennell, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington: 11-10
  • Jeannette A. Vargas, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York: 11-10
  • S. 1979, Protecting Older Americans Act: 15-6