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CNSNews: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Democrats will “fill up the DC circuit one way or another,” even it means changing the rules in the Senate to get nominees confirmed.
Pocono Record: Voters may not know as much as they should about statewide judicial candidates. But the common sense of ordinary citizens inspires more confidence than savvy, politically motivated power brokers in smoke-filled rooms. Pennsylvanians need judges who are willing to face the voters, not who owe their appointment to insider fat cats.
FoxNews: President Obama nominated Justice Department official Thomas Perez for Labor secretary Monday — but the candidate could be haunted by a newly released report that found he gave incomplete testimony on the controversial decision to drop charges against members of the New Black Panther Party.
AP: President Barack Obama has chosen Thomas Perez, a top Justice Department official, to be the next secretary of labor, calling him a consensus builder whose “story reminds us of this country’s promise.”
Jonathan Adler at the Volokh Conspiracy: Partisans in judicial nomination fights like to play the victim. As each side tells it, obstruction of judicial nominees is all the other side’s fault. Each act of contemporary obstruction is justified by some act of obstruction that came before. The reality, however, is that there are no clean hands in these fights any more. For over twenty-five years the two parties have been engaged in an escalating game of tit-for-tat. Each time the tables are turned, the opposition party retaliates in kind, and then some. Given the reactions to my post yesterday on judicial nominations, I thought it would be worth recounting the history (as I have before) — with the relevant data — and then to explain what it means. I’ll follow this up with a post on what I think should be done, in light of this history, to end the obstruction of judicial nominees.
Talking Points Memo: In a closed door lunch meeting with Senate Democrats on Tuesday, President Obama expressed his frustration with Republican slow-walking and filibustering of key nominees, and urged them to address the issue, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide.
SCOTUS Blog: The National Labor Relations Board will seek to go on to the Supreme Court in a major constitutional test of the President’s power to make appointments to government offices when the Senate is out of town, the Board announced Tuesday.
Volokh Conspiracy: No real surprise here: the NLRB is going to skip seeking en banc review of Canning v. NLRB and petition for cert. There are scads of other cases now working their way through the courts of appeals and this is a way of resolving the issue once and for all.
Blog of the Legal Times: Over the next month, lawyers and judges interested in serving on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia can apply for a judicial vacancy that’s expected to open up this summer.
Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy: Over the weekend, the NYT published a highly misleading story about Republican filibusters of President Obama’s judicial nominees. Consider the very first sentence of the article: “A fresh feud over federal judgeships has again begun to agitate the Senate, with Republicans so far blocking President Obama from filling any of the four vacancies on the nation’s most prestigious and important appeals court.
David Fontana at Huffington Post: So maybe it is time to look outside of Washington, to look to the states for new and exciting judicial nominees who actually become judges. Why the states? Well, for one thing, there is less that Republicans who lose elections at the state level can do to block Democrats from getting progressive judges on the bench.
Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate unanimously confirmed Washington lawyer Richard Taranto to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Monday, more than 17 months after he was first nominated for the position and more than a year after his confirmation hearing.
Wall Street Journal (via Google News): Senate Republicans used a filibuster last week to block the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Democrats are in full boil. President Obama denounced “the Republican pattern of obstruction,” but Republicans are merely following the filibuster precedent that Democrats set when George W. Bush was President. Turnabout is unfair play.
The Montana Standard: The Montana Democrat will recommend that District Judge Susan Watters take U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull’s Billings seat and that Supreme Court Justice Brian Morris replace U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon of Great Falls.
The Hill: President Obama plans to nominate Thomas Perez, who heads Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, to become the next secretary of Labor, according to reports.
AP: Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish submitted a letter to the senators, made public Friday, saying she asked President Barack Obama to withdraw the nomination after it appeared to have reached an impasse.
NPR: It’s not solely Senate Republicans who are to blame for the headless government. Obama has failed to put forward nominees for some posts, and Light says the president is “moving at a snail’s pace” to make other nominations. Light says the administration also has “the longest questionnaire in the presidential history for vetting people who might become nominees. It’s brutal.” That serves to discourage some people from wanting to become nominees in the first place.
Washington Times: President Obama’s effort to reshape the federal judiciary will enter a new phase of open warfare with Republican lawmakers Wednesday when the Senate votes on whether to break the filibuster of Caitlin Halligan’s nomination for a seat on the prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Roll Call: The Senate voted 51-41 to end debate on the nomination, nine votes shy of the 60 needed to move forward. Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski was the only Republican to cross party lines, voting to invoke cloture.
Washington Times: Facing the stiffest Republican opposition to a judicial nominee in two years, the White House is pushing for a confirmation vote this week on Caitlin Halligan’s appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Washington Blade: The U.S. Senate on Monday evening made history with little difficulty when it confirmed the first openly gay Asian-American for a seat on the federal bench. By a voice vote, the Senate confirmed Pamela Ki Mai Chen, a lesbian, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate will vote Wednesday morning on Caitlin Halligan, the embattled nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as part of a recent Democratic push to fill federal judicial vacancies.
LifeNews: Americans United for Life Action President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest called for the U.S. Senate to vote no on cloture on the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in what will be a scored vote on
Washington Post: In Florida, President Obama has nominated the first openly gay black man to sit on a federal district court. In New York, he has nominated the first Asian American lesbian. And his pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit? The first South Asian.
Americans United for Life Action Calls for NO Vote on Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals in what will be a Scored Vote on Life
International Business Times: Halligan “is unqualified to sit on such a prestigious court because of her conduct in office, using her position in state government to advance radical, pro-abortion legal theories against the constitutional rights of pro-life citizens,” said AULA’s Dr. Yoest.
Texas Tribune: Roberts and his colleagues are off the leash. Their counterparts in Texas are not so lucky. Elected judges have to hope the politics work out — that voters will understand unpopular decisions and blame the people who write the laws and not the people who interpret them.
Blog of the Legal Times: The committee unanimously voted to approve Nelson Roman to be a judge for the Southern District of New York and Shelly Dick for the Middle District of Louisiana. The other nominees had opposition from Republicans: William Orrick for the Northern District of California was approved 11-7, and David Medine for the privacy board was approved 10-8.
Blog of the Legal Times: Jane Kelly got an extra friendly reception from the Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing Wednesday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, soaking up a stream of compliments and fielding questions about why diversity in the courts is important.
UK Supreme Court: Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, today welcomes the announcement of three appointments to the Court.
National Review Bench Memos: The body passed a proposed constitutional amendment to reform the state’s judicial selection system, by an overwhelming margin of 29 to 2.
AP: President Barack Obama is trying to change the face of a federal judiciary that has a long tradition of white men passing judgment on parties from all walks of life – if he can get his nominees past the Senate.
The Guardian: Senior legal figures believe promotion of three male judges to highest court delayed because ministers want a woman to fill one of the vacancies
National Review Bench Memos: President Obama’s nomination of Caitlin Halligan to a D.C. Circuit seat is scheduled for a Senate Judiciary Committee vote tomorrow.
Blog of the Legal Times: The Senate confirmed William Kayatta Jr. of Maine to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Wednesday, making him the first new circuit judge to take the bench since June and the first federal judge confirmed during this session of Congress.
The Hill: Republican senators are blocking a vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) this week unless he provides additional financial information, setting up what Democrats say is the first-ever filibuster of a Defense secretary nominee
Daily Mail: The incoming head of the CIA converted to Islam while working as a station chief in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, a former FBI agent has claimed. John Guandolo, who retired from the FBI in 2008, said in a radio interview that John Brennan – who has been nominated by Barack Obama as the new director of the CIA – visited the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina accompanied by Saudi officials who may have persuaded him to convert.
Reuters: President Barack Obama nominated Thursday an openly gay attorney to serve on the U.S. appeals court for patent cases after a previous gay nominee for that court stalled.
Reuters: President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated two government attorneys to fill vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Blog of the Legal Times: Capitol Hill has been getting most of the heat for the large number of judicial vacancies in the federal courts, but one D.C. advocacy group has issued a new report highlighting delays in the filling the bench before the nominees even reach the Senate.
NY Law Journal: Rivera garnered the support of all 11 Democratic members of the committee but failed to capture the 12 votes necessary for committee support. The end result is Rivera’s future will be decided by the full Senate, where Democrats hold a thin majority. A vote is expected on Feb. 11.
Atlanta J. Constitution: The chief judge of the federal appeals court in Atlanta said Monday he may wait until the Senate fills one of two current vacancies on the court before he becomes a senior judge. Chief Judge Joel Dubina . . .
SCOTUS Blog: Arguing that the National Labor Relations Board has lost its power to take any action, lawyers for a Connecticut nursing home company on Monday asked the Supreme Court to forbid a lower court from enforcing a Board order arising out of a union strike.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: The application Health Bridge Management v. Kreisberg, docket 12A769) thus put before the Court for the first time the high-profile constitutional controversy over the President’s authority to make temporary appointments of government officials — a power sharply restricted by the D.C. Circuit Court last month.
The HIll: Senate Republicans are demanding the administration hand over all documents related to Jack Lew’s failure, when he was head of the Office of Management and Budget, to comply with a law aimed at ensuring Medicare’s solvency.
National Review Bench Memos: Great news out of Kansas. The Kansas senate overwhelmingly passed judicial selectionreforms on Wednesday. The constitutional amendment, required for the Kansas supreme court reforms, passed with a 28-12 vote, while the Senate Concurrent resolution, required for the Kansas Court of Appeals reforms, passed with a 29–10 vote, with one abstention. The Capital Journal has more . . .
Blog of the Legal Times: Those nominees – Richard Taranto for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Robert Bacharach for the Tenth Circuit and William Kayatta Jr. for the First Circuit – all had their nominations languish in the full Senate, never getting a confirmation vote for months. To continue to be considered, the White House had to renominate them this session.
Trib.com: President Barack Obama on Thursday nominated Wyoming Attorney General Gregory Phillips for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
The Hill: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) on Wednesday said he and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are putting forward legislation that would cut the salaries of the two National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) members who were recess-appointed last year.
SCOTUS Blog: Political polarization in Congress seems to be affecting the relationship between Congress and the Supreme Court, inadvertently strengthening the Court at the expense of Congress. These days – unlike in the past – Congress rarely overrides the Supreme Court’s statutory decisions. Yet the same congressional polarization that is strengthening the Court is likely to spill over into the Supreme Court nominations process, greatly increasing the risk of a Senate filibuster when the next conservative Justice leaves the Court.
The HIll: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) sailed through the chamber in a 94-to-3 vote, with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Texas Sens. Ted Cruz (R) and John Cornyn (R) casting the only “no” votes.
AP: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sen. John Kerry to be the next secretary of state.
SCOTUS: The spreading constitutional controversy over President Obama’s use of the power to appoint government officials when the Senate is not in full session has now reached all but three of the federal courts of appeals, with thirty separate challenges. So far, only one of the cases has been decided — the overwhelming defeat of the President’s position by the D.C. Circuit Court last Friday.
American Constitution Society: – The judicial nomination process remains deeply flawed with President Obama’s judicial nominees facing massive delays between nomination and confirmation, a new ACS Issue Brief reports. The Issue Brief, “Is Our Dysfunctional Process for Filling Judicial Vacancies an Insoluble Problem?,” compares the number of President Obama’s judicial confirmations with his predecessors and offers suggestions to change the process.
Bloomberg: President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the U.S. National Labor Relations Board last year were “constitutionally invalid” because the Senate wasn’t in recess at the time, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled. | Canning v. NLRB, No. 12-1115 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 25, 2013)
Boston Globe (AP): The Democrat on Thursday announced he has tapped Superior Court Judge Christine Keller to serve on the Connecticut Appellate Court. Keller is married to former House Speaker Thomas Ritter of Hartford.
Ed Whelan at National Review Bench Memos: As this Politico article reports, Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed today to some changes to the Senate rules governing filibusters but rejected the “more sweeping changes” that some on the Left were urging. I won’t try to summarize here the changes that affect legislation and executive-branch nominations . . .
AP: The Senate’s senior Democrat and Republican reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose modest limits on the filibuster, the delaying tactic that minority parties have long used to kill legislation.
Blog of the Legal Times: Senate Republicans are holding up the nomination of Sri Srinivasan for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, saying they want to know more about his role in the abrupt settlement of a Fair Housing Act case a year ago.
National Review Bench Memos: Hearings in Kansas over judicial selection reform continued yesterday, as two members of Kansas’s judicial nominating commission testified for the House Judiciary Committee. They attested to what Bench Memos readers already know—that the commission masks partisan politics in the name of “merit.”
Blog of the Legal Times: Five federal judicial nominees got a nomination hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a sign that Democrats will continue to push aggressively to reduce the historically high number of vacancies on the federal bench.
Washington Post: Virginia’s General Assembly appears poised to put an openly gay judge on the bench Tuesday, reversing itself on one of the most contentious issues of last year’s session.
Hartford Courant: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated state Appellate Court Judge Carmen Espinosa on Monday to become the first Hispanic justice of the state Supreme Court.
Blog of the Legal Times: There will be a Tea Party for two on the Republican side of the Senate Judiciary Committee next session. Senate Republicans announced today that newly elected Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a lawyer who was backed by the Tea Party movement, will serve as a member of the committee during this session.
CNSNews: President Barack Obama re-nominated former New York State Solicitor General Caitlin Halligan to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after her nomination had been blocked for more than a year . . .
Carl Tobias at The Hill: In August, Northern District of California Judge James Ware retired after two decades of service, leaving the court with four vacancies in 14 judgeships. The huge caseload prompted the U.S. Courts to declare all four “emergencies.”
Philly.com: New Jersey Democrats have long argued that they would approve only “diverse” nominees to the state Supreme Court. But now, as liberal opposition builds against Gov. Christie’s most recent picks, the definition of diverse appears to be changing.
Topeka Capitol-Journal: The president has four spots — a number larger than usual in one year — to fill in 2013 on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a tribunal one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.