Although U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crab struck down Wisconsin’s ban on gay marriage Friday, some counties are still turning away same-sex couples. John M. Becker at The Bilerico Project describes the state of marriage equality in the Badger State.
In an op-ed for The New York Times, ACS board member Linda Greenhouse pays a visit to the Berkshire International Film Festival and recommends two must-see legal documentaries.
A new report released Friday reveals the immense preparation behind the Clinton administration’s nomination of Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Tony Mauro and Todd Ruger at Legal Timescomment on the report.
At PrawfsBlawgDan Rodriguez notes John McGinnis’ new article on the decline of lawyers entitled Machines v. Lawyers .
At Jost on Justice, Kenneth Jost addresses allegations of inadequate health care for Arizona prisoners.
This was another active week for judicial nominations in the Senate. On Monday, May 19, President Obama announced his nomination of Geoffrey W. Crawford to the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont for a vacancy that will open on June 15. Also on Monday, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) released a statement solidifying his opposition to Michael Boggs, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
The following day, the Senate confirmed Gregg Costa to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by a vote of 97-0. His elevation from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas results in a vacancy on that court.
Also on Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on five district court nominees:
Andre Birotte, Jr., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California;
John W. deGravelles, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana;
Randolph D. Moss, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia;
Robin L. Rosenberg, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida; and
Ronnie L. White, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
On May 14, 2014, history was made with the confirmation of Diane Humetewa (pictured) to be a district court judge in the United States District Court for the District Court of Arizona. Ms. Humetewa, an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe, is the first Native American woman in the history of our nation to serve on the federal judiciary, and will be the only American Indian serving as an Article III judge in the federal judiciary. She previously served as the Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, and earlier in her career, she worked as an attorney on the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee under then Chairman John McCain and as an Appellate Judge on the Hopi Appellate Court. Ms. Humetewa was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate with a final vote of 96-0.
In addition to being the first Native American women, she is only the third American Indian to serve as a federal district court judge with the first two being men from Oklahoma. Judge Frank Howell Seay was appointed by President Carter in 1979. Billy Michael Burrage, the last American Indian appointed to the federal bench, was confirmed during the Clinton administration. Unfortunately, as of May 2014, there are 874 Article III federal judgeships in the United States—nine on the Supreme Court, 179 on the Courts of Appeals, 677 on the District Courts and nine on the Court of International Trade – and now only one of these judgeships is held by an American Indian or Alaska Native. The Honorable Derrick Watson, serving as a district judge in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii, is Native Hawaiian and was confirmed on April 18, 2013. In addition, out of the population of federal magistrates in this country, only one – the Honorable Leo Brisbois in Minnesota – is Native American.