Thursday, March 02, 2023

March 2023 Judiciary News

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

1st Circuit:  Michael Delaney, the nominee for the NH seat on the 1st Circuit, was grilled by R senators due to his advocacy as an attorney for publically disclosing the identity of a minor victim of sexual assault.

D-KS:  President Biden nominated Jabari Wamble to D-KS.  He was previously nominated to the 10th Circuit in August 2022, but never received an ABA rating, and the nomination expired in January.  No explanation has been given for the downgrade.


The Federal Judiciary:

Ethics:  Various leftist groups are attacking the Supreme Court for not having a code of ethics.  Ed Whelan explains the problems with this idea.

Biden judges:  Carrie Severino argues that Trump's judicial appointees are better qualified that Biden's based on their clerkships and law school honors.

ND-TX:  Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) attacked judge Matthew Kacsmaryk (ND-TX) along with the Fifth Circuit, and the Supreme Court due to the possibility that Kacsmaryk might issue an injunction against FDA approval of the abortion drug mifepristone.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 110 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
D-MN: John Tunheim (Clinton) TBD (senior)
D-HI: Michael Seabright (W) 1/30/24 (senior)
3rd Circuit: Joseph Greenaway (Obama) 6/15/23 (retired)

State Supreme Courts:

Hawaii:  Justices Michael Wilson and Paula Nakayama will leave the court soon, as they are age-limited in April and October, respectively.  Wilson was appointed by Neil Abercrombie in 2014, and Nakayama was appointed by John D. Waihe╩╗e III in 1993.  There are 13 applicants for the two positions.

Maine:  Maine Supreme Court Justice Thomas Humphrey retired last year.  Governor Janet Mills appointed York County judge Wayne Douglas to the court.  He is 71, and was appointed to the district court in 2002 by Angus King.

New York:  Governor Kathy Hochul's nomination of Hector LaSalle to be Chief Judge on the New York Court of Appeals was rejected by the New York State Senate by a 39-20 vote.  Hochul will make a new nomination.

Oregon:  The US Senate confirmed Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson to D-OR by a 52-46 vote.  Governor Tina Kotek will appoint her replacement.

South Carolina:  The South Carolina legislature elected Judge Gary Hill to the South Carolina Supreme Court.  Hill clerked for Billy Wilkins, a Reagan appointee to the 4th Circuit, and has been a judge since 2000.  He replaces Justice Kaye Gorenflo Hearn, author of a controversial 3-2 decision protecting abortion.  His election spurred some criticism that the court would be the only state supreme court without a woman.  The other two (female) nominees dropped out of contention, seemingly due to a lack of support in the legislature.

Tennessee:  Governor Bill Lee (R) appointed Dwight Tarwater to the Tennessee Supreme Court.  Tarwater was general counsel to then Governor Bill Haslem (R).  He will replace Justice Sharon Lee (D), who retires in August 2023.  The position had to go to a resident of East Tennessee.

Wisconsin:  On February 21, Leftist Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz won 46% to 24% for conservative former justice Dan Kelly.  Conservative judge Jennifer Dorow trailed with 22%, and liberal judge Everett Mitchell was last with 8%.  Protasiewicz and Kelly advance to the general election on April 4.