Judicial Nominees

  • May 13, 2010

    "The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved the nomination of Goodwin Liu to be a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sending him to the full Senate for consideration after a party-line vote of 12 Democrats in favor to 7 Republicans opposed," reports The New York Times' Charlie Savage.

    The Committee also approved without opposition the nominations of federal prosecutor Ray Lohier to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Magistrate Judge Leonard Stark to the District of Delaware. Both nominations were forwarded to the Senate floor without dissent.

    The debate on Liu, a Berkeley Law professor and former ACS board chair, has "increasingly become a proxy for Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court," the Blog of the Legal Times suggested, with Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Committee's ranking member stating, that, "In Solicitor General Kagan, President Obama has chosen another academic who has focused on policy the majority of her career, including in the Clinton White House, and who has never been a judge or seriously practiced law."

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein responded by highlighting three appellate judges who came from law schools and who were in their 30s when nominated by a Republican president: Frank Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit, Kimberly Moore of the Federal Circuit, and J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the Fourth Circuit. 

  • April 23, 2010

    With many of President Obama's judicial and executive nominations delayed in the Senate, some members of that body are urging reconsideration a rule permitting one delay tactic. The charge is being led by Sen. Claire McCaskill (pictured).

    The Hill reports:  

    Senators have long been able to block action on any nomination (and sometimes legislation) by placing an anonymous "hold." Twenty Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), are now pushing the Senate to ban that practice.

    In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the group, argues that the anonymity of secret holds violates the spirit of democracy.

  • April 22, 2010

    President Obama announced more judicial nominees this week, while the Senate overcame obstruction to confirm some long-delayed executive and judicial nominations.

    Among the nominees confirmed is Duke law professor Chris Schroeder, who President Obama selected to lead the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy. Schroeder is a co-author of Keeping Faith with the Constitution, a book published by ACS. His nomination languished in the Senate for 11 months before being confirmed by a 72-24 vote.  

    Other confirmations include Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Judge Denny Chin to the Second Circuit. Vanaskie's nomination, announced in August 2009, received Senate approval by a vote of 77-20. Chin was nominated last October and confirmed unanimously this week.

    While Chin's nomination was delayed in the Senate, the Second Circuit became the site of "the worst judicial emergency in the nation, as defined by the Judicial Conference of the United States," The Blog of the Legal Times reports. "There are 920 'adjusted filings per panel,' compared with a threshold for emergencies of 700 adjusted filings per panel."

  • April 21, 2010

    The Senate confirmed D.C. magistrate judge Marisa Demeo to the area's Superior Court last last night. The 66-32 vote fell largely along party-lines. 

    Demeo drew more opposition than is usual of nominees to the capital's local trial court, reports the Blog of the Legal Times (BLT). "[M]any Republicans opposed Demeo because of her opposition to [Miguel] Estrada and her other work during seven years as a lawyer and lobbyist for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund," the BLT states.

    While working at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Demeo represented the group's interest in opposing the confirmation of Estrada, nominated in 2001 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Democrats filibustered Estrada's nomination for the administration's failure to release documents concerning his work in the Solicitor General's office, and Estrada eventually withdrew from consideration.

  • April 15, 2010
    Democratic Senators increasingly are seeking to assert their muscle and gain swifter confirmation of President Obama's judicial nominees in the face of Republican delays, a report in Politico details.

    "Twenty-two nominations, 22 highly qualified nominees are languishing on the Senate floor because we haven't been able to reach time agreements with the Senate Republicans," Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy said. "Many of these were voted out of committee unanimously [with] every Republican, every Democrat supporting the nominee."

    "We are going to stay in as long as it takes, even if it means nights, weekends, to get these nominees through," Sen. Chuck Schumer warned at a press conference this week. "Because it's just unpardonable, unexplainable, only the worst of motivations that's holding these judges up."

    At an oversight hearing before the Judiciary Committee this week, Attorney General Eric Holder urged more expeditious consideration of nominees, speaking specifically about law enforcement nominees delayed in the Senate.