federal court vacancies

  • July 26, 2013

    by Jeremy Leaming

    President Obama seeking to fill vacancies on the federal bench, which hover above 80, has nominated a diverse group, including an ACS leader and member, to U.S. District Court judgeships.

    Matthew F. Leitman, who has served as a leader the ACS Michigan Chapter, was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Leitman is a principal at Miller Canfield, a Michigan law practice that has offices in Canada, Mexico, Poland and China. Leitman’s work encompasses complex commercial litigation, criminal defense, and litigation before state and federal appellate courts. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

    Vince Girdhari Chhabria, an ACS member and speaker at ACS events, was nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. If confirmed, Chhabria would be the first South Asian judge in California and the fourth South Asian judge in the U.S., The Times of India reports. Chhabria currently serves as Deputy Chief Attorney for Government Litigation and as the Co-Chief of Appellate Litigation in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is an ACS Board member. (In June, Herrera talked with ACSblog about his office’s significant involvement in advancing marriage equality in California.) Chhabria received his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

    The other nominees are: Judith Ellen Levy, an Assistant U.S. Attorney, for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; Laurie J. Michelson, U.S. Magistrate Judge, for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan; James “Jay” Maxwell Moody Jr., an Arkansas Circuit Judge, for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas; and Linda Vivienne Parker, a Michigan state judge, for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

    There are 85 vacancies on the federal bench. For more information about those vacancies and nominations see JudicialNominations.org.

  • November 14, 2012

    by Jeremy Leaming

    While conservative lawmakers in Congress try to figure out how to protect tax breaks for the nation’s superrich, President Obama is moving ahead on multiple fronts. Not only is the president pushing back against conservatives’ rigid tax policy, he’s quickly addressing the vacancy crisis on the federal bench.

    Today he announced seven nominations to the federal bench, a diverse bunch, as is Obama’s practice. (Last year National Public Radio noted the federal bench is still dominated by white men, but that the president in his first term had made great strides to diversify the bench.)

    None of today’s nominees were white men. The president nominated to the federal bench, Valerie E. Caproni, Kenneth John Gonzales, Claire R. Kelly, Raymond P. Moore, Beverly Reid O’Connell, William L. Thomas, Analisa Torres and Derrick Kahala Watson.

    ACS President Caroline Fredrickson lauded today’s nominations, saying that the president has “made it clear that our courts are a priority. We commend his swift action and we are hopeful the Senate will act promptly and demonstrate a move toward renewed bipartisanship both in the lame duck and the 113th Congress.”  

    In a press release about the nominees, the president reiterated his commitment to making the federal bench more reflective of society and to tackling the high number of vacancies on the bench.

    “These individuals have demonstrated the talent, expertise, and fair-mindedness Americans expect and deserve from their judicial system,” Obama said. “They also represent my continued commitment to ensure that the judiciary resembles the nation it serves.”

    He added, “Too many of our courtrooms stand empty. I hope the Senate will promptly consider all of my nominees and ensure justice for everyday Americans.”

  • October 14, 2011

    by Jeremy Leaming

    The Senate’s confirmation of ten judicial nominees during the span of two weeks is welcome progress, but federal court vacancies remain high and a continued effort to move judicial nominations is needed, American Bar Association President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III says in letters to congressional leaders.

    In Oct. 13 letters to Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-K.Y.), Robinson writes, “Nothing less than a sustained, concerted, and cooperative effort will be sufficient to make discernible progress in reducing the longstanding and dangerously high vacancy rate on the federal courts. And, as important, nothing less will assure litigants – businesses and aggrieved individuals alike – that our federal courts have sufficient judges to hear their cases in a timely and thorough fashion.”

    In his letter to McConnell, Robinson (pictured) notes, “Despite the recent confirmation of ten judges, there are 92 vacancies on the bench today because of recent retirements and a death. Regrettably, this outcome is not an aberration or product of selective statistical reporting; even though the Senate has confirmed from one to seven judges every month this Congress, the vacancy rate continues to hover around 10 percent – right where it has been for the past 24 months.”

    Concluding his letter to Reid, Robinson calls for more “agreements to schedule multiple nominees for votes on the same day at regular intervals throughout the remainder of this session.”

    For more information on judicial vacancies and the status of nominations, see JudicialNominations.org