Thursday, December 01, 2022

December 2022 Judiciary News

November is over.

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Vacancies:  Harsh Voruganti of the Vetting Room surveys the existing judicial vacancies and prospects to fill them, now that Ds have held the Senate.

Circuit courts:  President Biden has appointed 25 Biden nominees to circuit courts so far.  However, most replace previous D appointees, with only four replacing R appointees.  Those four were all moderate to liberal.

1st Circuit:  Carrie Severino exposes the radical views of pro-abortion activist Julie Rikelman, nominated to the 1st Circuit.


The Federal Judiciary:

Affirmative action:  The cases challenging affirmative action policies at University of North Carolina and Harvard were argued on October 31.  Justice Jackson and Justice Sotomayor made poor arguments and asked foolish questions.  Harvard's arguments were unpersuasive.

Supreme Court:  The Hill asks who is the leader of the conservatives on the Supreme Court, but doesn't explain why they would need a leader.

Disclosure:  Carrie Severino exposes the bias in a report from Fix the Court that implies that conservative justices are inappropriately influenced by their spouses' work.

Yale:  Last month, 5th Circuit judge James Ho announced that he will no longer hire clerks from Yale due to harassment of conservative speakers and students.  An additional 12 judges have anonymously joined the boycott, along with Judge Elizabeth Branch (11th Circuit).  However, Judge Jerry Smith (5th Circuit) opposes the boycott.

DC Circuit:  Judge Laurence Silberman died on October 2 at age 86.  He served in the Nixon/Ford administration, and was appointed to the court by Reagan in 1985.  He went senior in 2000, and served in that capacity until his death.  Justice Amy Coney Barrett was one of his many clerks who later became judges.

ND-IL:  Judge Robert Dow has been appointed "Counselor to the Chief Justice" John Roberts, and will serve as his chief of staff.  Dow was appointed by W in 2007.  This creates an open seat on ND-IL, though Dow can return to the bench later.

Law professors:  Mark Joseph Stern claims that liberal law professors are having a hard time adapting “intellectually, pedagogically, and emotionally” to a constitutionalist Supreme Court.  Ed Whelan shows the absurdity of this, as leftist law professors were eager to overturn precedents when they thought the left would control the court.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 119 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
ND-IL: Robert Dow (W) 12/5 (counselor to John Roberts)
ND-IL: Charles Norgle (Reagan) 10/4 (senior)
WD-TX: Frank Montalvo (W) 12/1 (senior)
MD-FL: Brian Davis (Obama) 12/30/23 (senior)
D-NJ: Kevin McNulty (Obama) 10/31/23 (senior)
ED-MO: John Andrew Ross (Obama) 6/9/23 (senior)

State Supreme Courts:

Florida:  Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill to create a 6th District Court of Appeal in Florida, covering the Tampa Bay area.  The boundaries of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th districts are modified to accommodate this, and some judges have been reassigned to new circuits.  The bill creates three new judgeships in the 6th district and four new judgeships in the 5th district for DeSantis to fill.

Michigan:  Governor Whitmer appointed state rep (18-22) Kyra Harris Bolden (D) to the Michigan Supreme Court.  Bolden is a black woman who is only 34 and has little to distinguish her career.  She succeeds Chief Justice Bridget McCormack (D), who retired on November 22.  Bolden will face a special election in 2024.  The court currently has 4 D and 3 R nominees.

Nevada:  Governor Steve Sisolak appointed attorney Patricia Lee to the Nevada Supreme Court.  She is part black and part Asian.  She replaces Justice Abbi Silver, who retired.

New York:  Seven candidates to fill the position of Chief Judge on the New York Court of Appeals have been announced.  The position was vacated by Janet DiFiore, one of a group of four 'conservative' (non-leftist) judges (along with Cannatarro, Garcia, and Singas) on the court.  Judge Anthony Cannataro, currently the acting chief judge, is one of the candidates.  If he is selected by Governor Kathy Hochul, she will have to make another appointment to fill his seat.

Oregon:  Chief Justice Martha Walters and Justice Thomas Balmer will both retire on December 31.  Walters was appointed in 2006 by Ted Kulongoski, and Balmer was appointed in 2001 by John Kitzhaber.  Governor Kate Brown will appoint both replacements before she leaves office in January.  The retirements seemed to be timed to avoid the possibility that they could be replaced by a Republican (the election was won by another D).

Tennessee:  Justice Sharon Lee is retiring from Tennessee Supreme court in August 2023. She is the last D on the court, and was appointed in 2009 by Phil Bredesen.  Governor Bill Lee (R) will get his second appointment to the court.  The replacement must be from East Tennessee.