by Samantha Berkovits
The U.S. Senate confirmed Paul Watford to a judicial emergency seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Monday evening, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid moved to force a vote on his nomination. Watford’s confirmation will provide some much-needed relief to the Ninth Circuit, which has more than twice the caseload of the next busiest circuit. But the confirmation vote came only after Reid filed a motion to force a vote – the 27th he has had to file on President Obama’s judicial nominees. Before the scheduled cloture vote, senators agreed to instead hold an up-or-down vote on his nomination and confirmed him 61-34.
President Obama has nominated Thomas M. Durkin to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Durkin, a partner at Mayer Brown and former federal prosecutor, has the full support of Senators Durbin and Kirk. He was first suggested as a potential nominee three years ago, and the seat has been vacant since 2010 when Judge Wayne Anderson retired.
Circuit Court Judge J.L. Edmondsons has announced he will retire, creating another vacancy on the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and paving the way for a possible deal to confirm held-up nominee Jill Pryor to the appeals court, according to The Daily Report. When he takes senior status on July 15, it will create a second vacancy on the Eleventh Circuit. Pryor, nominated by Obama at the beginning of the year, has been held up by Georgia’s senators – they have refused to submit the required “blue slips.” The Daily Report suggests that Obama might be able to herd Pryor through with a deal to confirm a second nominee, Mark Cohen, who was recommended by Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
The Latest from “In the News”
- “Vote on Oklahoma judicial nominees delayed by GOP,” The Oklahoman
- “Senate ‘Fire Department’ seeks to ease partisan rancor,” Chicago Tribune
- “Here’s your chance to become a federal judge,” Texas Lawyer
The Latest from “Recommended Readings”
- “On Judicial Nominations, Media Should Focus On Vacancy Crisis, Not Thurmond ‘Rule’,” Media Matters
- “Some Federal Judicial Congratulations — and a Bit of Trivia,” Above the Law
- “Is Justice Ginsburg Risking the Future of the Supreme Court?” The Daily Beast
- Sen. Feinstein on Confirmation of Paul Watford to 9th Circuit
- Sen. Boxer on Confirmation of Paul Watford to 9th Circuit
- Sens. Durbin and Kirk on Nomination of Thomas Durkin