Judicial Nominations

  • February 6, 2014
    Writing for The Huffington Post, distinguished George Washington University Law School Prof. Alan B. Morrison and co-author Adam A. Marshall argue in favor of the National Popular Vote (NPV) movement. In his article, Morrison—a faculty advisor to the ACS Student Chapter at GWU—explains why the current state of the Electoral College is a major deficit to American democracy and how the NPV movement would facilitate a more representative voting system.
    Writing for SCOTUSblog, Jody Freeman explains why the greenhouse gas cases pending at the U.S. Supreme Court will have little impact on the EPA and the government’s ability to regulate emissions.
    The Associated Press reports on the developing case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that has Utah state attorneys insisting that same-sex marriage will devalue the family structure and lead to economic crisis.
    David H. Gans of Slate breaks down Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against the Obama administration to reveal why, when it comes to the free exercise of religion, most corporations are sitting this one out.
    At the blog of Legal Times, Todd Ruger notes the diversity of President Obama’s judicial nominees.


  • February 4, 2014
    The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed into law by President Obama in 2009 and has been a vital tool in the battle against wage discrimination ever since. Writing for Roll Call on the anniversary of the bill’s passage, Lilly Ledbetter and the American Civil Liberties Union’s Deborah J. Vagins reflect on the legacy of the Ledbetter Act, the importance of the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act and the necessity of executive order.
    Last year, the Senate eliminated its 60-vote supermajority requirement for most judicial and executive appointments after Senate Republicans chose to filibuster an egregious number of President Obama’s nominees. In an article for The Blog of Legal Times, Todd Ruger explains why it is likely that the Senate’s power to filibuster nominations will remain applicable to our nation’s highest court.
    Writing for the Center for American Progress, Joshua Field examines the current state of the Voting Rights Act, post-Shelby County. In his report, Field addresses the need to combat voting-related discrimination and the role our federal courts must play going forward.
    In an article for The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro examines the ACLU’s First Amendment fight against the Supreme Court’s ban on protesting on the Court’s plaza.
  • February 3, 2014
    Guest Post
    by Richard W. Painter, S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law, University of Minnesota Law School; former Associate Counsel to the President and Chief Ethics Lawyer, White House Counsel's Office (2005-2007); co-author of the ACS Issue Brief, “Extraordinary Circumstances: The Legacy of the Gang of 14 and a Proposal for Judicial Nominations"
    Senator Rubio of Florida is now one of the strongest contenders in the GOP for president. He is qualified and likeable and thus far has a clean record on ethics. One or more of Rubio’s Senate colleagues also might have a shot at the nomination. There are other good candidates as well. And Republicans, if they can get their act together, have a very good chance of electing a president in 2016. 
    One of the most important things a new president will do is appoint judges, the job that our current president has been trying to do for the past five years. The president will need the advice and consent of the Senate to make these appointments, but courts need judges, and presidents and senators have an obligation to make sure vacancies on courts are filled.
    And the place where senators should care most about filling judicial vacancies should be their own home states. The interests of constituents in access to judges and justice should be a priority over playing partisan politics.
    And this is why, until recently, it usually was not a problem for the Senate to allow home state senators an informal veto—implemented through the so called “blue slip” process—over confirmation of judges in their own states. Senators might try to block nominees from other states with filibusters and other tactics, but would protect their own constituents by working out a deal with the White House for nomination and confirmation of an acceptable nominee in their state.      
  • January 31, 2014
    On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearing for six District Court of Arizona nominees:
    • Steven Paul Logan,
    • John Joseph Tuchi,
    • Diane J. Humetewa,
    • Rosemary Marquez,
    • Douglas L. Rayes, and
    • James Alan Soto.
    These nominees had been delayed in committee pending agreement by Sen. Flake (R-Ariz.), who recently returned his blue slips, allowing their nominations to progress. Rosemary Marquez is currently the longest pending nominee, having been originally nominated on June 23, 2011. If confirmed, Diane Humetewa would be the first Native American woman federal judge. All of these nominees would fill judicial emergencies, and desperately needed by the District of Arizona which is operating with six out of 13 judgeships vacant.
    On Wednesday, the North Carolina NAACP sent a letter to Senator Burr (R-N.C.) requesting that he return his blue slip for Jennifer May-Parker so that her nomination can proceed. May-Parker was nominated to the Eastern District of North Carolina on June 20, 2013 for a seat vacant since December 31, 2005. This is the second-oldest vacancy in the country. The oldest vacancy is for the Ninth Circuit, which became vacant on December 31, 2004. John B. Owens was nominated for that seat and his nomination is on the Senate floor pending action by the full Senate.
    The Congressional Black Caucus is publically urging President Obama to select more African American nominees, especially in Alabama and Georgia, states with large African American populations but few African Americans on the bench.
  • January 17, 2014
    This week saw a flurry of action on the judicial nominations front.
    On Monday, January 13, the Senate confirmed Robert Wilkins to the D.C. Circuit with a vote of 55-43. With his confirmation, the D.C. Circuit is fully staffed for the first time since 1991.
    On Thursday, January 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee held votes on 29 nominees, including nine nominees who had already been reported out last year.  All 29 nominees were voted out of Committee, including several with connections to ACS’s network. No votes by the full Senate have been set. Quick action, however, could cut the judicial vacancy rate by one-third. The nominees voted out of Committee are:
    • Carolyn B. McHugh, Tenth Circuit, Voice Vote
    • John B. Owens, Ninth Circuit, Voice Vote
    • Michelle T. Friedland, Ninth Circuit, Roll Call Vote, 14-3
    • Nancy L. Moritz, Tenth Circuit, Voice Vote
    • David Jeremiah Barron, First Circuit, Call Vote, 10-8
    • Jeffrey Alker Meyer, District of Connecticut, Voice Vote
    • Timothy L. Brooks, Western District of Arkansas, Voice Vote
    • James Donato, Northern District of California, Voice Vote
    • Beth Labson Freeman, Northern District of California, Voice Vote
    • Pedro A. Delgado Hernandez, District of Puerto Rico, Voice Vote
    • Pamela L. Reeves, Eastern District of Tennessee, Voice Vote
    • Vince Girdhari Chhabria, Northern District of California, Roll Call Vote, 13-5
    • James Maxwell Moody, Jr., Eastern District of Kansas, Vote
    • Matthew Frederick Leitman, Eastern District of Michigan, Voice Vote
    • Judith Ellen Levy, Eastern District of Michigan, Voice Vote
    • Laurie J. Michelson, Eastern District of Michigan, Voice Vote
    • Linda Vivienne Parker, Eastern District of Michigan, Roll Call Vote, 14-3
    • Christopher Reid Cooper, District of Columbia, Voice Vote
    • M. Douglas Harpool, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Voice Vote
    • Gerald Austin McHugh, Jr., Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Roll Call Vote, 12-5
    • Edward G. Smith, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Voice Vote
    • Sheryl H. Lipman, Western District of Tennessee, Voice Vote
    • Stanley Allen Bastian, Eastern District of Washington, Voice Vote
    • Manish S. Shah, Northern District of Illinois, Voice Vote
    • Daniel D. Crabtree, District of Kansas, Voice Vote
    • Cynthia Ann Bashant, Southern District California, Voice Vote
    • Jon David Levy, District of Maine, Roll Call Vote, 15-2
    • Theodore David Chuang, District of Maryland, Roll Call Vote, 10-8
    • George Jarrod Hazel, District of Maryland, Voice Vote