Friday, May 31, 2024

June 2024 Judiciary News

Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:

Nominees:  Carrie Severino explains why Biden nominees Adeel Mangi, Nancy Maldonado, Sparkle Sooknanan, Amir Ali, and Mustafa Kasubhai should not be confirmed.

Blue Slip:  Senator Durbin has proposed to reinstate the blue slip for circuit courts, which suggests D senators think Rs are likely to win the senate in November.

3rd Circuit: The White House is still supporting the nomination of Adeel Mangi, despite him lacking the votes for confirmation.  Three D senators, Joe Manchin, Catherine Cortez Masto, and Jacky Rosen oppose Mangi due to his ties to anti-Semites and hostility to law enforcement.  Biden may fear losing Muslim votes if he withdraws the nomination.

SD-NY:  Senator Ted Cruz (R) asked Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn whether it is acceptable to put men in women's prisons, which she found it difficult to answer.

D-MT:  President Biden nominated Danna Jackson to an open seat on D-MT without consulting senator Steve Daines (R).  Daines will oppose Jackson's nomination.


The Federal Judiciary:

Judgeships:  The US Senate passed a bill to make all 10 temporary federal district court judgeships permanent.  The judgeships are located in WD-NC, ED-TX, ED-MO, D-AZ, D-HI, CD-CA, D-KS, D-NM, SD-FL, and ND-AL.

Judgeships:  There is supposedly momentum in congress to create more than 60 new federal judgeships.  However, it is far from certain that this will happen.

Alito:  The left is in a lather over a story that Justice Alito's house briefly flew an American flag upside down.  They are claiming this has something to do with the Stop the Steal movement, despite no evidence of this.  Alito rejected demands that he recuse from pending cases, and Justice Roberts rejected a demand to meet with D senators about the controversy.

Kavanaugh:  At a recent conference, Justice Kavanaugh offered a surprisingly positive assessment of the Warren court.

Vacancy Declarations:  There are now 69 current and future judicial vacancies.  New vacancies over the past two months are listed below.
ND-NY: David Hurd (Clinton) TBD (senior)
D-SC: Robert Bryan Harwell (W) 6/4/24 (senior)
3rd Circuit: Kent Jordan (W) 1/15/25 (retired)
ND-GA: Steve Jones (Obama) 1/1/25 (senior)
ED-PA: Gene E. K. Pratter (W) 5/18/24 (death)

State Supreme Courts:

Elections:  Bolts magazine surveys 2024 state supreme court elections.

Connecticut:  Chief Justice Richard Robinson will retire on September 6.  He was appointed in 2013 by Dannel Malloy (D) and promoted to chief in 2018.  Ned Lamont (D) will get his third appointment to the court.

Georgia:  Four justices were elected on May 21.  John Ellington, Nels Peterson, and Michael Boggs were unopposed for reelection.
Andrew Pinson won the seat to which he was appointed in 2022 by Brian Kemp (R) 55-45 over former congressman (2004-14) John Barrow (D).  Barrow centered his campaign on abortion, and fought the state Judicial Qualifications Commission over making promises about future cases.

Maryland:  Justice Michele Hotten was age-limited on April 20.  She was appointed in 2015 by Larry Hogan.  Her replacement will be appointed by Governor Wes Moore (D).  The applicants are judges Krystal Alves, Tiffany Anderson, Peter Killough, and William Snoddy.

Minnesota:  Governor Tim Walz (D) nominated 7th District Chief Judge Sarah Hennesy and Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Theodora Ga├»tas to the Minnesota Supreme Court.  They replace Justices Barry Anderson and Margaret Chutich who are retiring in May and July.  The court will have all D appointees.

Montana:  Montana Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath and Justice Dirk Sandefur will not seek reelection in 2024.  The primary election is June 4.
Chief:  Former federal magistrate judge (2006-19) Jerry Lynch, age 72, has support on the left.  Broadwater County attorney Cory Swanson (R) has support on the right.  Doug Marshall is also running.
Sandefur seat:  Flathead County District Court Judge Dan Wilson (R supported) and 7th Judicial District Judge Katherine Bidegaray (D supported) are running, along with former state rep (10-14) Jerry O'Neil (R).
Clerk:  The MSC clerk is an elected office that administers court business.  Incumbent Bowen Greenwood (R) faces a primary challenge from state senator Jason Ellsworth.  The winner will face Erin Farris-Olsen (D).

Oklahoma:  The state house voted 60-36 against a proposal to end the judicial nominating commission after the state senate passed it 32-14.  The commission is significantly influenced by the liberal Oklahoma Bar Association.

South Carolina:  Justice Donald Beatty will be age-limited on July 31.  Beatty is a former state rep and liberal D who is the only black member of the court.  Six candidates applied for the position.  Court of Appeals Judges Blake Hewitt and Letitia Verdin and Circuit Court Judge Jocelyn Newman were advanced by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission.  Verdin is the presumptive choice after Newman and Hewitt later dropped out of contention.  The position will officially be filled by the state legislature on June 5.

West Virginia:  Two seats were up for election on May 14.  Haley Bunn (R) was unopposed for the seat to which she was appointed in 2022.  John Hutchison (I) retired from the seat to which he was appointed in 2019.  State senator (2014-P) Charles S. Trump IV (R) was unopposed for the seat.

Wisconsin:  Justice Ann Walsh Bradley will not seek reelection in 2025.  She is the most senior justice on the court, and part of a 4-3 liberal block that controls the court since 2023.  Bradley is age 73 and was first elected in 1995.  Former AG Brad Schimel (R) is seeking the seat.  Court of Appeals Judge Chris Taylor (D) and Dane County Circuit Judge Susan Crawford (D) have both expressed interest in running.


On Ed Whelan's Substack, "Confirmation Tales", recent posts deal with George W. Bush's nominations of Harriet Miers and Sam Alito.