This Week on

July 15, 2011

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved five judicial nominees this week, but postponed votes on six others, including former Kansas Attorney General Steve Six, whose nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has been opposed by his two home-state senators. Three nominees were approved by a voice vote: Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Higginson for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, DOJ antitrust official Katherine Forrest for the Southern District of New York, and state judge Jane Triche-Milazzo for the Eastern District of Louisiana, The Blog of Legal Times reports. Former White House Associate Counsel Alison Nathan was approved by a vote of 14-4 for the Southern District of New York, and state judge Susan Hickey, nominated to the Western District of Arkansas, was reported to the Senate by a vote of 15-3. Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Committee, hinted at “trouble ahead” for Nathan, saying that he was “concerned” about her views on the death penalty, foreign law, and terrorism cases, the Keen News Service reports.

Also this week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on several nominees, during which Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy lamented that in the past two months, the Senate has taken action on only four nominees, at a time when more than 90 vacancies remain. “Regrettably our progress in Committee considering judicial nominations in regular order has not been matched in the Senate, where agreements to debate and vote on judicial nominations have ground to a halt,” Leahy said. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Bernstein calls Republican obstruction of judicial nominees the “other, unseen crisis.”

The Latest from “In the News”

  • “Senate Judiciary Committee approves Higginson and Triche-Milazzo judicial nominations,” from the Times-Picayune
  • “Humor, tough questions mark judges’ confirmation hearings,” from the Anchorage Daily News
  • “East Bay judge likely as 1st Latina on S.F. court,” from The San Francisco Chronicle
  • “White House Nominations Chief Headed to Harvard,” from The Blog of Legal Times
  • “Two LGBT individuals named to tax court,” from HRC Back Story

The Latest from “Recommended Readings”

  • “The other, unseen crisis,” from The Washington Post
  • “Nuffer federal bench nomination part of Obama appointee trend,” from The Salt Lake Tribune
  • “Senate action needed on Michael Green judicial nomination,” from The Democrat and Chronicle
  • “Explanation Needed,” from the Montgomery/Hutchinson News