Judicial Nominations

  • February 21, 2014
    Guest Post
    by Sara Murphy, 1L Section Representative, ACS Harvard Law School Student Chapter

    On January 31, the Honorable David S. Tatel and the Honorable Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit joined Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow for a discussion about life on the D.C. Circuit. The event, co-sponsored by the ACS Harvard Law School Student Chapter and the school’s chapter of the  Federalist Society, drew a large crowd of both law students and members of the public.
     
    The D.C. Circuit essentially presides over the federal government; it has jurisdiction over all the federal agencies, and has original jurisdiction in some matters. Judge Tatel remarked that the court excels at issuing objective and non-ideological opinions – or comes as close to it as a court can get. He attributed this, in part, to small size of the court, which allows the judges to get to know each other well. The culture in the D.C. Circuit encourages judges to keep an open mind, and to have respect for each other and for panel decisions. Judge Kavanaugh agreed that the relationship between the judges was collegial, and noted that even when the judges disagree they do so with a tone of respect.
     
    According to Judge Tatel, the greatest challenge in being a judge is overcoming the immediate instinct judges develop about the case based on who they are and where they came from. How do you move beyond those instincts in trying to resolve the case within a framework of objective legal standards? He noted that the challenge is the greatest when the applicable standards drive the court to a decision that conflicts with the judge’s original instinct. This might end up leading the judge to decide a case that is different than how he might recommend resolving it as a member of Congress. Judge Tatel also commented that these sorts of decisions were the most satisfying.
     
  • February 19, 2014
     
    In an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel and Audie Cornish, Daniel Webster—Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research—discusses the grave consequences that followed Missouri’s 2007 repeal of a law requiring background checks for gun buyers.
     
    President Obama continues to face criticism concerning the diversity of his judicial nominees. MSNBC’s Adam Serwer reports on growing liberal concern surrounding the president’s judicial nominees in Georgia.
     
    Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic reflects on the Jordan Davis murder, eloquently identifying racism in America as “not merely a belief system but a heritage.”
     
    A group of legal organizations are using television advertising to push the issue of court transparency at the Supreme Court. Josh Gerstein of Politico has the story.
     
    At CAC’s Text & History Blog, Tom Donnelly shares “six reasons to keep an eye on the Greenhouse Gas Cases.”
     
    Matt Bodie at Prawfs Blawg argues in favor of incentivizing cheaper law school course material.
  • February 18, 2014
     
    In an article for the The Orange County Register, Erwin Chemerinsky, Faculty Advisor for the University of California Irvine School of Law ACS Student Chapter, explains why the upcoming decision of Harris v. Quinn could pose a threat to public employee unions.
     
    Volkswagen workers at a Chattanooga, Tennessee plant announced their decision last Friday not to join the United Automobile Workers. Steve Greenhouse of The New York
    Times reports on the possibility of a German-style works council in 
    Chattanooga and what it could mean for Volkswagen and the UAW.
     
    At the CPRBlog, Thomas McGarity and Matt Shudtz examine the legal concessions made by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in a policy proposal that protects workers from silica dust exposure.
     
    Writing for The Daily Beast, Jamelle Bouie discusses the Michael Dunn murder trial and the racial consequences of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
     
    Mark Sherman of The Associated Press notes how President Obama’s judicial appointees are shaping the discussion on same-sex marriage in Virginia.
     
    Writing for The Root, Henry Louis Gates Jr. explains why the race of a mythical princess continues to play a role in the study of black history.
  • February 14, 2014

    by Rebekah DeHaven

    On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for three judicial nominees. They were:

    • Robin Rosenbaum, Eleventh Circuit,
    • Bruce Hendricks, District of South Carolina, and
    • Mark Mastroianni, to be United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.

    On Wednesday, Sen. Pryor (D-Ark.) requested that Majority Leader Reid  (D-Nev.) ask unanimous consent to consider the nomination of James Moody to the Eastern District of Arkansas. Sen. Pryor stressed the importance of moving Moody’s nomination because of uncertainty regarding Judge Moody’s current Pulaski County Circuit judgeship election.

    Sen. Reid asked the Senate for unanimous consent to consider Moody’s nomination, along with the nomination of Jeffrey Meyer to the District of Connecticut, James Donato to the Northern District of California and Beth Freeman to the Northern District of California. Sen. Cornyn (R-Tex.) objected, and Sen. Reid filed cloture on all four nominees. The first cloture vote will occur at 5:30pm on Monday, Feb. 24 when the Senate returns from recess.

  • February 7, 2014
     
    On February 5, President Obama announced five judicial nominees. They were:
    Cheryl Ann Krause to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
     
    Judy Beth Bloom to the Southern District of Florida,
     
    Paul G. Byron to the Middle District of Florida,
     
    Darrin P. Gayles to the Southern District of Florida, and
     
    Carlos Eduardo Mendoza to the Middle District of Florida.
     
    If confirmed, Darrin Gayles would be the first openly gay African American man to serve as a federal judge. The White House released a new report, “This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse,” highlighting the administration’s work to diversify the federal bench.
     
    Despite the push to highlight the administration’s diverse judicial nominees, senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday to discuss ongoing concerns over the lack of diverse nominees for Georgia courts. Earlier in the week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced his agreement with the CBC’s concerns.
     
    On February 6, three judicial nominees were voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and reported to the full Senate after being held over the week before. They join 29 other nominees for a total of 32 judicial nominees waiting for action on the Senate floor. The nominees reported out of Committee were:
    Indira Talwani, District of Massachusetts,
     
    James D. Peterson, Western District of Wisconsin, and
     
    Nancy J. Rosenstengel, Southern District of Illinois.