Archive for the 'Judicial Nominations' Category
The Senate’s Democratic Leader called it a “court-packing” plan, an attorney speaking on behalf of the state Supreme Court opposed the measure, and the House Judiciary Committee chairman, a Republican, said he was “appalled” by the Supreme Court’s taking a stance.
The council serves dual roles, as both a judicial nominating commission and a judicial performance evaluation board. It has three lawyer members appointed by the Alaska State Bar Association, three non-attorney members appointed by the governor, and the Chief Justice as chair. The measure Read more
A proposed constitutional amendment in Florida puts another court-packing scheme before the legislature. It would allow an outgoing governor to make prospective appointments of judges, and if passed would permit the next governor to choose a majority of the state Supreme Court, the Miami Herald reports.
If the measure were adopted, the next governor would be able to appoint not only the successor to a justice who retires in January 2017 but also successors to three justices who are scheduled to retire in January 2019, the newspaper said. There are seven justices on the court. The latter three make up the court’s liberal wing; the bill sponsor is a Republican.
The measure specifically allows the governor who is stepping down to make appointments to the bench for vacancies that occur on inauguration day, in order to clarify uncertainty in existing law as to whether such appointments are made by the arriving, or departing, governor.
There is “commotion” in the legal community about giving such Read more
What doesn’t make sense here? A Talking Points Memo blog reports that the Senate confirmed Pedro A. Delgado Hernandez of Puerto Rico for a federal district court judgeship by a 98-0 vote on Wednesday — the same day that 41 Republicans had voted earlier to filibuster his nomination by blocking an up-or-down vote.
The vote totals suggest that Republicans who sought at one point in the day to block the judicial nomination did a turnabout when it came to a final vote on confirming the nominee. Talking Points Memo blogger Sahil Kapur remarked only, “The post-nuclear Senate is a strange place.”
Other analysts have written recently (see Gavel Grab) that Senate Republicans are using a variety of procedural tools to try to obstruct judicial nominees, now that Senate Democrats have changed the rules to make filibusters of most judicial nominees much harder or even impossible. The rules change was so controversial it was dubbed the “nuclear option.” Read more
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s screening commission for judicial candidates has recommended three finalists for an opening on the state Supreme Court.
The finalists are Appeals Judge Jeffrey Bivins, attorney Linda Knight and Shelby County Juvenile Court Administrative Officer Larry K. Scroggs, according to the Associated Press.
It was announced earlier that Supreme Court Justice William Koch will retire in July to serve as dean of the Nashville School of Law (see Gavel Grab). The appointment to the high court will be the second made by Haslam. The high court has five members.
With his refusal in recent years to reappoint two veteran state Supreme Court justices, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has raised real concerns about whether he values judicial independence, or whether he’s simply set on overhauling the court, George Amick writes in a column for The Trenton Times.
This year, Christie faces a decision whether to reappoint Chief Justice Stuart Rabner for a new, and tenured, term. He has called Justice Rabner “activist” and “arrogant” when he disagreed with his opinion on affordable housing. And that, Amick suggests, “unwittingly certified Rabner’s great value to the public as a jurist who refuses to allow his judgment on court matters to be compromised by fear of the governor’s displeasure.”
If Christie forces Justice Rabner off the court, the bench would be harmed and also might face operating with three vacancies out of seven seats. The New Jersey State Bar has urged reappointment of Justice Rabner, saying it would be “an unprecedented intrusion of politics into the judiciary” to do otherwise. Amick agrees. “The governor should heed the advice,” he says. “If he doesn’t, everyone loses.”
Decrying “unprecedented obstruction and delays” in the U.S. Senate over confirming judges, a progressive advocate in Florida says four new nominees for federal district courts in the state must be approved swiftly.
“It shouldn’t be a years-long process to appoint a federal judge. We should expect our senators to fill all the vacancies on Florida’s [U.S.] district courts quickly now that we have extremely qualified nominees,” writes Mark Ferrulo, director of Progress Florida, in a Florida Today op-ed. Sens. Marco Rubio, a Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Democrat, “are the only ones who can make that happen,” he adds.
U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. was among guests in attendance when Patricia Millett, a veteran appellate court litigator, was formally sworn in as a new judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
“We on the Supreme Court are losing a great advocate,” Chief Justice Roberts said, according to Legal Times. He administered Judge Millett’s oath of office, and Justice Elena Kagan also attended the event.
Judge Millett is one of three Obama appointees who were confirmed to the highly influential appeals court after a confirmation battle in the Senate. Democrats in the Senate forced a controversial rules change, eliminating filibusters of most judicial nominees, to pave the way for confirmation of Judge Millett and two others.
Growing resistance by progressive groups and African-American lawmakers to two of President Obama’s nominees for the federal district court in Georgia has become a national news story. A New York Times article about the dust-up suggests it will not be receding any time soon.
Gavel Grab has mentioned the swirling controversy over the nominations of Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs and Atlanta attorney Mark Cohen. “The conflict is the latest twist in a struggle over confirmations,” the Times reports, highlighting both the limited ability of Democrats to push through judicial nominations after changing the Senate rules last year to make it easier to do so; and the ability of minority party senators to block judicial nominations through the Senate’s traditional “blue-slip” process.
Cohen has come under fire for successfully defending a Georgia voter identification law, and Judge Boggs for conservative stances when Read more
Rep. David Scott, D-Ga. (photo at right of two) used a NewsOne interview to unload on the president for the “disrespect” he showed to America by nominating two social conservatives for the federal district court in Georgia, according to Huffington Post. Then White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler (photo at left of two) replied in an interview with that publication:
“Do we work with Republican senators to find a compromise, or should we leave the seats vacant? We believe it would be grossly irresponsible for the president to leave these seats vacant.”
There is a continuing drumbeat of criticism for President Obama’s choice of Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs to sit on the federal district court from liberals who contend the nominee doesn’t share Obama’s values.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, writes in a Washington Post op-ed about the controversial nomination, “The president has made his deal, but Senate Democrats have no obligation to uphold it. And they shouldn’t. There is simply too much at stake and too little reason to back down now.”
Vanden Heuvel says Obama agreed to nominate Judge Boggs in a package deal with Georgia’s two Republican senators that would allow an earlier judicial nominee to advance. That nominee had been stalled by the Republicans using a Senate tradition called the “blue slip” process (see Gavel Grab). Vanden Heuvel’s essay was headlined, ”Stop the Democrats’ surrender to the blue slip.”
To learn about criticisms leveled by more than two dozen liberal groups of the Boggs nomination, see Gavel Grab. Meanwhile, the Senate voted this week to confirm four federal district judges: Jeffrey A. Meyer in Connecticut, Pulaski County Circuit Judge James “Jay” Moody Jr. in Arkansas, and San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman and James Donato in California. News sources for this report include the Hartford Courant, Arkansas News, and San Jose Mercury News.