The Senate confirmed Gregg Costa and David Guaderrama to fill judicial emergency vacancies in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Western Districts of Texas. “While this process took far too long and there remain too many unfilled judicial vacancies in Texas, this vote represents modest progress,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, (D-TX). There are still four U.S District Court vacancies in Texas.
In addition, the Senate approved Brian Wimes for the Eastern and Western districts of Missouri by a vote of 91-1. All three votes were part of the deal between Senate Democrats and Republicans to confirm 14 judges by May 7. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was the sole nay vote.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Maine trial lawyer William Kayatta Jr. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, with two dissenting votes from Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Sessions’ objection was that Kayatta had been the lead investigator for an American Bar Association panel that gave now-Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan its highest rating of “unanimously well-qualified” during its vetting process. Sessions called the rating of Kagan, who was solicitor general and the first female dean of Harvard Law School, “not only unsupported by the record but, in my opinion, the product of political bias.” Lee voted “no” in continued retaliation against President Obama for recess appointing several executive branch nominees.
Pushing back against Sen. Dean Heller’s (R-Nev.) objections to Nevada district court nominee Elissa Cadish over her answer to a question about the Second Amendment, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he would ask the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing even without Heller’s support, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. "It's an emergency vacancy," Reid said. "There has yet to be anyone I've heard who doesn't think she is qualified." Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has typically required that both home-state senators submit a “blue slip” indicating their support for a nominee before the committee will schedule a hearing. Reid conceded it was unlikely Leahy would make an exception to his rule.
President Obama made four nominations to the federal district courts this week. Lorna Schofield, nominated to the Southern District of New York, would be the first Filipino-American federal judge in U.S. history, and Rachelle "Shelly" Decker Dick, nominated to the Middle District of Louisiana, would be the first woman to serve on that court. Also nominated were Assistant U.S. Attorney Terrence G. Berg, for the Eastern District of Michigan, and Deputy Federal Public Defender Jesus G. Bernal, for the Central District of California.
The Latest from “In the News”
- Senate confirms Missouri district judge nominee, The Hill
- Reid seeks to bypass Heller on federal judge nominee, The Las Vegas Review Journal
- Doggett says delayed confirmation of Texas judges "long overdue," Houston Chronicle
The Latest from “Recommended Readings”
- Robert Bork, Romney Standard-Bearer, The New York Times
- Judiciary Up for Grabs, The Daily Caller
- The Myth of the Thurmond Rule, Alliance For Justice
- Sen. Leahy on Confirmations to Texas District Courts
- Sen. Schumer on Justice Roman for Southern District of New York
- Sen. Leahy on Confirmation of Judge Brian Wimes