Gavel Grab

GOP Announces Plan To Block Appellate Nominations

Invoking the so-called “Thurmond Rule,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), has decided to block confirmations of federal appellate judges until after the presidential election in November, Roll Call reports.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) argued that the Republicans are blocking  U.S. Circuit Court nominations just as Democrats did under former President George W. Bush. “By this time, nobody can say it’s not fair to this president based on the number of nominations we’ve put up,” he said.

This practice of blocking appellate nominations, says Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), is not new, “it’s always been used,” he said. Individual Senate Republicans have agreed to block President Obama’s nominees for numerous reasons.

Although the article said that District Court nominees were likely to receive votes as late as September, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) cited the looming presidential election as his reason to filibuster the nomination of a Baton Rouge District Court judge. Vitter said he’d “bent over backwards” to cooperate with the President on nominations, but with the election only months away, wants to “let the people speak before supporting any others.” Read more

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Senate Confirms Judicial Appointee Andrew David Hurwitz

The Senate confirmed Andrew David Hurwitz in a voice vote, Tuesday, for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after Republicans attempted to delay the confirmation with a filibuster, citing Hurwitz’s involvement  as a law clerk in  two  1972 abortion rulings that preceded Roe v. Wade.

Republicans claimed that Hurwitz’s “backing of the decision that legalized abortion showed a misunderstanding of the proper role of the judicial system.” Republicans further criticized Hurwitz for boasting about the work he did for former Connecticut District Judge Jon Newman, who voted for two rulings striking down the state’s laws banning abortion, and later for Potter Stewart, who joined the 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, called the attempt a “new low.” “An unfair campaign is being mounted by the extreme right against this outstanding nominee,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tuesday, demanded a roll-call vote on Hurwitz’s confirmation, “a highly unusual step,” the National Journal reported. Senator Grassley expressed his disappointment with the vote’s outcome and said he had not been notified of the vote.

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5/30/08: The Blogs React to Ziegler's Reprimand

A Slap On The Wrist – Big Money Blog
The folks at the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign feel that the punishment on Ziegler was not hard enough.

Ziegler decision just right – Shark and Shepherd
And the folks at Shark and Shepherd feel the punishment was sufficient.

Chavez on Judicial Nominations – Confirm Them
Linda Chavez has a discussion on Federal Judicial Nominations.

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5/9/08 – The Friday Edition

Justice O’Connor brings experience, wisdom to Boston – Forth Worth Star-Telegram
Editorial criticizing Presidential Candidate John McCain’s speech on judges he would appoint.
Read more…

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4/8/08: The Return of the Blog Watch

America’s Next Top Justice? – Above the Law
ATL blog speculates who will be nominated next for the Supremes.

Read more…

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New Scholarship on Federal Judicial Confirmations

Professor David R. Stras and Justice Department attorney Ryan W. Scott have published “Navigating the New Politics of Judicial Appointments” in the Northwestern University Law Review.  The piece is a Review Essay focusing on a recent book, The Next Justice by Princeton provost Christopher L. Eisgruber.  Citing ”the prominent role played by interest groups and the media in shaping the process,” Stras and Scott argue:

The political pressures on Senators make it unlikely that they can become tougher and more assertive in the process, either by adopting a more probing set of questions at confirmation hearings or by rejecting nominees in favor of judicial moderates…. a “get tough” strategy by the Senate in the judicial appointments process is likely to provoke a strong response from the President.

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4/3/08: The Daily Blog Postings


Judge Explains His Decision to Order Whites Out of Courtroom
– Law Blog – Wall Street Journal

Judge Arrington, of Georgia, explains why he had the talk with just African Americans in his courtroom. Very interesting read, with video.

Another day, another bit of proof: There’s no compromising on FISA. – Daily Kos
A bit of pessimism on a potential FISA compromise.

Time to Invoke the “Thurmond Rule” on Bush Judicial Nominees – Talk Left
Senators in Congress want President Bush’s judicial nominees appointed NOW!

On, Wisconsin…Supreme Court – National Association of Manufacturers
Reaction to the Wall Street Journal editorial. Also, Professor Althouse has her reaction to the article and the Wisconsin elections as well.

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3/14/08: The F.B.I Special

F.B.I. Made ‘Blanket’ Demands for Phone Records – The New York Times
A more detailed report on The F.B.I. misusing their power and subverting the judicial branch to invade the privacy of citizens.

Justices Back Pay Raise, Oppose Cameras – The Associated Press
Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas went to congress yesterday and urged pay raises for federal judges, as well as other things.

Feds question court employees – The Charleston Gazette
MasseyGate, MonacoGate, or whatever you want to call it has just gotten worse now that the F.B.I. are not investigating the matter.

Bush’s conservatism to live long in the U.S. courts– The USA TODAY
Article analyzing the impact President Bush has had on the judiciary branch.

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2/27/08: Justice at Stake in West Virgina; Who Would Barack Obama Nominate for the Supreme Court?; and More…

Clean elections update in West Virginia– West Virginia Blue
The fight for Clean Elections in West Virginia are underway and being helped by Justice at Stake’s own, Eamonn Donovan.

Who Would Barack Obama Nominate to the Supreme Court?– The Volokoh Conspiracy
This blog post compiles a set of quotes by Sen. Barack Obama concerning who he would nominate to the Supreme Court if he were to be elected president of the United States.

Pay for campaigns with public money– Jackson City Patriot
An editorial discussing the need for Public Financing of Supreme Court Campaigns in Michigan.

Another amendment, another hearing, more of the same debate on the judicial selection process– Prime Buzz
Another day, another hearing about Judicial Selection in Missouri’s legislature. And just like before, not much will come out of it again.

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What Would a President McCain Do?

Conservatives question what a President McCain might do regarding federal judicial nominations given the Senator’s pivotal role in the so-called Gang of 14 back in 2005.

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