Gavel Grab

In the News: Senators’ Panels Advise on Judicial Candidates

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has announced the formation of a committee to advise her on candidates for federal judicial vacancies in the state.

Distinguished members of the Massachusetts legal community will sit on the committee, according to an Associated Press article. They will review applications for open judgeships, and she ultimately will make recommendations to the White House, Warren said in a press release.

As a way to cool partisan tempers in Washington, the American Bar Association has recommended that senators form bipartisan commissions in each state to review and suggest slates of the most professionally qualified judicial candidates. You can learn more from Justice at Stake’s website

Meanwhile Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mt., has recommended the names of Montana Supreme Court Justice Brian Morris and Yellowstone County District Judge Susan Watters to the White House for two open federal district judgeships in the state, the Montana Standard reported.

If nominated and confirmed, Judge Watters would “be the first woman in Montana to become a federal district judge,” the Billings Gazette said. She initially was appointed to the bench by Gov. Marc Racicot, a Republican. 

An advisory panel listed Judge Watters among three finalists for one of the seats. Justice Morris was not among three finalists listed by the panel for the other seat; Baucus looked beyond the three and picked him. Justice Morris first was elected to the bench in 2004. He is a former law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

At Daily Beast, Megan McArdle wrote a commentary entitled, “Who’s to Blame for the Congressional Judicial Meltdown? Everybody.”

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