Friday, September 02, 2022

September 2022 Judiciary News

Time for some judiciary news.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

9th Circuit:  Biden nominee Roopali Desai was confirmed by a surprisingly large 67-29 vote.  This seems to be a sop to Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who lobbied for the appointment.  Desai has a long record of leftist activism.

9th Circuit:  Anthony Johnstone-clerk for Sidney Thomas (9th Circuit), law professor (U Montana)
ED-NY:  Orelia Merchant-NY AG office
ED-NY:  Ramon Reyes-clerk for David Trager (ED-NY), Magistrate Judge (ED-NY)
SD-NY:  Arun Subramanian-clerk for Gerard Lynch (SD-NY), Dennis Jacobs (2nd Circuit), Ginsberg, private practice
ED-MI:  Jonathan Grey-clerk for Louis Sands (MD-GA), Damon Keith (6th Circuit), Magistrate Judge (ED-MI)
CD-IL:  Colleen Lawless-Seventh Judicial Circuit (IL)
ND-CA:  P. Casey Pitts-clerk for Stephen Reinhardt (9th Circuit), private practice
ED-WA:  Charnelle Marie Bjelkengren-Washington State Superior Court
D-CO:  Gordon Gallagher-Magistrate Judge (D-CO)

The Federal Judiciary:

Security:  Attorney General Merrick Garland has refused to enforce the law against protests in front of Supreme Court justices houses, despite public support for enforcing the law.

Affirmative action:  The cases challenging affirmative action policies at University of North Carolina and Harvard will be argued on October 31, shortly before the November election.  Justice Jackson is recused from the latter case.

Alito:  Ed Whelan dismantles Margaret Talbot's article in the New Yorker accusing Justice Alito of various perfidies.

Barrett:  Carrie Severino profiles Justice Barrett's commitment to the rule of law and the Constitution.

Commission:  Some members of President Biden’s commission on the Supreme Court are disappointed he hasn't embraced the report, or even mentioned it.

ND-NY:  Judge David Hurd has withdrawn his senior status declaration.  President Biden nominated Jorge Alberto Rodriguez, who works for the NY attorney general in Albany, to the seat.  He has promised to move to Utica if confirmed.  Hurd insisted that his successor live and work in Utica.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 119 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
SD-CA: Gonzalo Curiel (Obama) 3/20/23 (senior)
SD-FL: Marcia Cooke (W) 7/15 (senior)
D-CO: Raymond Moore (Obama) 6/20/23 (senior)
D-CT: Stefan Underhill (Clinton) 11/1 (senior)
SD-TX: Micaela Alvarez (W) 6/8/23 (senior)

State Supreme Courts:

California:  Governor Gavin Newsom nominated Associate Justice Patricia Guerrero to replace retiring Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye.  He also nominated Judge Kelli Evans to replace Guerrero on the court.  Evans, age 53, was appointed by Newsom to the Alameda County Superior Court in 2021, and previously was his chief deputy legal affairs secretary.  This is Newsom's third appointment to the court.

Florida:  Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court.  She fills the seat of retiring Justice Alan Lawson.  DeSantis tried to appoint Francis to the court in 2020, but was blocked by the court due to Francis not having 10 years of experience.  This is DeSantis' fourth appointee on the court.

Montana:  The Montana Supreme Court struck down an initiative passed by the legislature to elect the court via districts rather than statewide.  The 5-2 ruling was the latest strike by the liberal court against reforms passed by the conservative legislature.

Nevada:  Nevada Supreme Court Justice Abbi Silver will retire on September 29.  She ran unopposed for her seat in 2018.  The governor will appoint a replacement from three candidates nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission.

New Jersey:  Chief Justice Stuart Rabner named Superior Court Judges Clarkson Fisher Jr., Jack Sabatino, and Douglas Fasciale to temporarily serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court.  The vacancies are part of a long-running dispute between the legislature and Governor Phil Murphy.

North Carolina:  The North Carolina Supreme Court issued a crazy ruling purporting to overturn two constitutional amendments passed by the voters in 2018.  The amendments on voter ID and income tax limitation were put on the ballot by the legislature.  The court claimed that because the map used to elect the legislature was allegedly gerrymandered, the amendments were illegitimate.

Tennessee:  On August 4, all five justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court were retained with between 71% and 74% of the vote.