Senate Confirms Two to D.C. District Court; Chen Nomination Moves Forward

March 18, 2011
By unanimous votes, the Senate confirmed D.C. Superior Court Judge James "Jeb" Boasberg and litigator Amy Berman Jackson to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, The Blog of Legal Times reports.

Last month, the district court's chief judge, Royce Lamberth, criticized the delays in confirming people to that court, where there were three vacancies and the load of cases from Guantanamo Bay had severely delayed civil trials.

As the National Women's Law Center's Amy Matsui points out in a blog post, the Senate adjourned yesterday evening until March 28, leaving nine nominees without a vote who have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and sent to the Senate floor.

"When they return, it sounds like a little March Madness may be in order - picking up the pace on confirming judges," Matsui writes.

Also this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved district court nominee Edward Chen by a vote of 10 to 8, sending his nomination to the full Senate for a vote.

Chen, nominated to the Northern District of California, was one of four nominees explicitly excluded from confirmation deal discussions last session because of Republican opposition. Another of those nominees was UC Berkeley associate dean and law professor Goodwin Liu, who was held over by the committee during the same executive business meeting "at the request of Republicans," Main Justice reports.

The committee held "friendly" hearings on three other district court nominees, including J. Paul Oetken, who would become the first openly gay male federal judge. No Republican senators were present for the hearing of Oetken and Paul Engelmeyer, both nominated to the Southern District of New York, and Ramona Manglona nominated to the District of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Another openly gay federal court nominee, Edward C. DuMont, nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, has not been scheduled for a hearing since he was nominated last April.