Friday, June 30, 2023

July 2023 Judiciary News

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

ED-LA:  President Biden announced two nominations for judgeships in Louisiana with support from the state's R senators.  However, nine members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter criticizing their lack of consultation on the nominations and asked that the nominations be withdrawn.

ED-WI:  A bipartisan nominating commission has recommended Byron Conway and Marc Hammer to fill a seat on ED-WI that has been open since 2019.  President Biden previously nominated William Pocan for the seat, but Senator Ron Johnson (R) withheld a blue slip.

D-SD:  This article takes a long time to say that there has been no progress to fill one current and one future vacancy in D-SD, and nobody knows why.

D-OR:  Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced six finalists for an open seat on D-OR.

SD-NY: Margaret Garnett-clerk for Gerard E. Lynch (SD-NY), AUSA (SD-NY)
D-DE: Jennifer Hall-clerk for Kent A. Jordan (3rd Circuit), Sharon Prost (Federal Circuit), Magistrate Judge (D-DE)
MD-PA: Karoline Mehalchick-Magistrate Judge (MD-PA)
ED-MI: Brandy McMillion-AUSA (ED-MI)

The Federal Judiciary:

Affirmative Action:  The court issued a 6-3 decision written by Justice Roberts striking down affirmative action in university admissions.  See also Carrie Severino.

Speech:  The court ruled 6-3 that a website designer cannot be compelled to express messages that she disagrees with.

Student Loans:  The court ruled 6-3 that the Biden administration acted illegally when it claimed to cancel some student loans.

Gerrymandering:  The court ruled that Alabama must create a second black-majority congressional district.  Carrie Severino critiques the decision.

Supreme Court:  538 found that the Supreme Court has recently become more popular (or less unpopular), indicating that the effects of the left's smear campaign are abating.

Reporters:  At a recent panel, "D.C. Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern of Slate, Elie Mystal of the Nation, and Jay Willis of the leftist Balls and Strikes" resolved to be even more biased and hysterical in their coverage of the Supreme Court.

Alito:  Following their smear of Justice Thomas, ProPublica attacked Justice Alito for vacationing with a billionaire.  However, Alito responded to the smear in a Wall Street Journal article published first.

Federal Circuit:  The dispute surrounding Judge Pauline Newman continues.  Her critics claim Newman had a heart attack, which she denies.  An interviewer describes her as "fully in command" of "complicated legal matters".

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 94 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past month are listed below.
ED-MO: John Ross (Obama) 6/9/23 (senior)
D-OR: Ann Aiken (Clinton) 12/29/23 (senior)
SD-NY: Paul Gardephe (W) 8/1/23 (senior)
D-RI: William Smith (W) 1/1/25 (senior)

State Supreme Courts:

Arkansas:  Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Robin Wynne died on June 21 at age 70.  He was elected in 2014 and reelected in 2022.  Although the court is officially nonpartisan, Wynne was a D state rep 1984-88.  Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) will appoint a replacement.

Arkansas:  Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, age 71, will retire from the court at the end of his term.  Justices Rhonda Wood and Karen Baker will seek the seat, and Justice Barbara Webb is 'strongly considering' running.  The election is on March 5, 2024.

Massachusetts:  Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice Elspeth Cypher will retire on January 12, 2024. She was appointed by governor Charlie Baker in 2017.  Governor Maura Healey (D) will get her first appointment to the court.

Minnesota:  Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea will retire in October.  She was appointed to the court by Tim Pawlenty (R) in 2006 and named chief in 2010.  Governor Tim Walz (D) will make his second appointment to the court.

West Virginia:  West Virginia Supreme Court Justice John Hutchison will retire at the end of his term in 2024.  He is an independent who was appointed in 2018 by Governor Jim Justice.

Numbers and Trivia:

Chief Judges: On July 8, the new chief judge of the 4th Circuit will be Albert Diaz, who was appointed by Obama in 2010.  He replaces Roger Gregory, who was recess-appointed by Clinton in 2000 and given a regular appointment by W in 2001.  The Presidents who appointed chief judges of the 13 appeals courts are W (2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, Fed), and Obama (1, 4, 9, DC). 


Ed Whelan's Substack, "Confirmation Tales", has recent posts that deal with Bill Clinton's nomination of Stephen Breyer to replace Harry Blackmun.
Senate Republicans Oppose Clinton's Terrible Eleventh Circuit Pick
Judicial-Confirmation Trivia Answers

Rehnquist:  Ed Whelan debunks Slate's smear of Justice William Rehnquist, falsely claiming he sympathized with segregation.


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