by Samantha Berkovits
After nearly two years and the support of two consecutive Republican home state senators, the U.S. Senate has confirmed Toledo defense lawyer Jeffrey Helmick to a judicial emergency seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Confirmed by a 62-36 vote, those opposing his nomination cited his work defending a suspected terrorist. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) defended Helmick “zealously, comparing him with Founding Father John Adams, who defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre.” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who has spoken out against judicial obstruction, said, "He's only controversial in the Senate Judiciary Committee ... He's not controversial in Ohio, where they know Jeffrey Helmick the best.” The Senate also confirmed Judge Timothy S. Hillman to the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts this week.
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture on the nomination of Andrew Hurwitz to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and a Senate vote is scheduled for Monday, June 11. Hurwitz has the support of Arizona’s Republican Senators John Kyl and John McCain, but has faced concerns from other Republicans over opinions that he helped draft when he clerked for U.S. District Judge Jon O. Newman. The opinions in question influenced the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.
Senator Vitter (R-La.) is blocking the nomination of Shelly Dick to a vacancy on the U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana. Vitter has indicated that he will not be returning any blue slips until after the November election, but has not provided a substantive reason for holding up the nomination.
The Latest from “In the News”
- “Senate confirms defense attorney for Northern District Court of Ohio,” The Hill
- “Vitter Blocking Nominee,”The Advocate
- “Fitchburg's Timothy Hillman gets nod for federal judgeship,” Telegram and Gazette
The Latest from “Recommended Readings”
- “Obama's Empty Federal Bench,” Mother Jones
- “Taking exception: The most important issue this election? Supreme Court seats,” Twin Cities Pioneer Press
- “Judges Should Write Their Own Opinions,” The New York Times
- Sen. Leahy on Confirmation of Jeffrey Helmick
- Sen. Leahy on Timothy Hillman
- Sen. Rockefeller on Swearing In of Judge Thacker