Judge J. Michelle Childs – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

Judge Juliana Michelle Childs has spent approximately fifteen years on the state and federal bench in South Carolina. While she was a frontrunner for a Fourth Circuit vacancy in her home state, Childs is currently nominated to a seat on the powerful D.C. Circuit.

Background

Julianna Michelle Childs was born in Detroit on March 24, 1966. Childs graduated from the University of South Florida in 1988 and from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1991. After graduating, Childs joined the Columbia office of Nexsen Pruet, LLC. where she became the firm’s first African American partner.

In 2000, Childs was named by Gov. Jim Hodges to be deputy director of the labor division of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, & Regulations. In 2002, Childs was named to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

In 2006, Childs was selected to be a Circuit Court judge on the Richland County bench. In 2010, Childs was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, where she currently serves.

History of the Seat

Childs has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The seat will open at the move to senior status of Judge David Tatel.

Political Activity

Childs has a limited political history, largely consisting of a single donation to Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 1999.

Legal Career

Childs started her legal career at the firm of Nexsen Pruet before moving on to the South Carolina Department of Labor and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Childs worked at Nexsen Pruet between 1992 and 2000, including serving as the firm’s first African American Partner. At the firm, Childs worked on employment, business litigation, and family law. She also tried over twenty cases before a jury. Among these trials, Childs represented Bamberg County in a suit brought by the estate of an inmate at the Bamberg County Detention Center after he committed suicide in his cell. See Stanley v. Bamberg County, 1997-CP-05-19. After a hung jury, the case settled. On the federal side, Childs represented L&L Wings, Inc. in a Title VII discrimination lawsuit, which ended with a jury verdict for the plaintiffs on one claim of retaliation and claims of sexual harassment, with the defendants winning other claims. See Harris and Prasky v. L&L Wings, Inc., 132 F.3d 978 (4th Cir. 1997).

Childs served on the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission after her appointment in 2002 to 2006. In that role, Childs adjudicated issues of compensation, disability, benefits, and workplace injury. During her tenure, the Commission voted to eliminate the positions of Court Reporters to reduce expenditures, and the reporters filed suit. See Morris v. South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission et al., No. 26201 (S.C. Aug. 21, 2006). While a trial judge sided with the reporters, the South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously reversed. See id.

Jurisprudence

Since her unanimous confirmation in 2010, Childs has served as a federal district judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. In addition, Childs was a state court judge between 2006 and 2010. Some of the cases she has presided over are summarized below.

State Bench

Childs served on the Richland County Circuit Court between 2006 and 2010, during which time she presided over both criminal and civil matters in a court of general jurisdiction. During her tenure, Childs presided over approximately 42 jury trials and 8 bench trials. For example, Childs presided over a $3.5 million verdict for a plaintiff struck by a motor vehicle operator due to the alleged negligence of the South Carolina Department of Transportation. See Cohen v. S.C. Dep’t of Trans., 2005-CP-27-188. In another notable decisions on the state bench, Childs dismissed a re-indictment based on allegations of molestation by the victim’s stepfather. See State v. Gerald Williamson, 2006-CP-40-2803. Childs found that a ten year delay in the indictment of the case unduly prejudiced the Defendant and justified the dismissal.

Childs also sat as Acting Justice for the South Carolina Supreme Court on occasion, including in one case where she reversed a circuit court’s failure to sustain a Batson challenge after a juror was struck due to objections based on their dreadlocks. See McCrea v. Gheraibeh, 669 S.E.2d 333 (S.C. 2008).

Election Law

Childs has made multiple key rulings on issues of election law. In 2011, Childs rejected a challenge to South Carolina’s open primary law brought by the Greenville County Republican Party, ruling that the open primary did not violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments. See Greenville Cnty. Repub. Party Exec. Comm. v. South Carolina , 824 F. Supp. 2d 655 (D.S.C. 2011).

In another notable decision, Childs struck down South Carolina’s absentee ballot witness requirements, finding the requirements to violate voters’ rights given the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Childs’ ruling was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which reinstated the requirement. See Adam Liptak, Supreme Court Revives Witness Requirement for South Carolina Absentee Ballots, N.Y. Times, Oct. 6, 2020.

Sitting by Designation on Fourth Circuit

During her time on the district court, Childs sat by designation numerous times on the Fourth Circuit. Among her decisions in so sitting, Childs joined the court in reversing a grant of summary judgment to defendants in a Title VII action, noting that the denial of a better severance package could constitute an adverse employment action under Title VII. See Gerner v. Cnty. of Chesterfield, 674 F.3d 264 (4th Cir. 2012). In another opinion, Childs joined a unanimous court in affirming a life imprisonment sentence for a defendant convicted of drug trafficking. U.S. v. Edmonds, 679 F.3d 169 (4th Cir. 2012).

Writings and Statements

Throughout her life and career, Childs has frequently commented on the law and her role as judge. For example, as a state court judge, Childs authored one of a collection of letters published by the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, in which she discussed her rise to become a judge. See Judge J. Michelle Childs, The Letter and the Spirit, 48 Judges’ Journal 23 (Fall 2009). In the piece, Childs notes that a judges is a “public citizen who bears a special responsibility for the quality of our justice system.” and adds: “[Judges] are charged with the spirit as well as the letter of the law in orderly decision making.” Id. at 26.

Overall Assessment

As an appellate nominee, Childs is hard to challenge as well qualified, with more than a decade on the federal bench and three decades of legal experience. However, the key backdrop to Childs’ nomination is the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Stephen Breyer. It is an open secret that Childs is being considered for the Supreme Court (although sources vary on how strongly) and that she is the preferred candidate of GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the few Senate Republicans to consistently support Biden judicial nominees.

Regardless of whether Childs is nominated for the high court or remains pending for the D.C. Circuit, her nomination is likely to face the same fate, a comfortable confirmation with a handful of GOP senators in support.

110 Comments

  1. I was waiting for this post… Lol

    I think I have made my opinion clear on judge Childs so I will just give the short version here. If she was nominated for the 4th circuit I would have been ok with it albeit there are far better & younger candidates. Her being nominated for the DC circuit is easily one of Biden’s three worst picks. And her being nominated for SCOTUS would approaching Harriet Myers territory as a historically bad pick.

    I believe the tide has turned against Biden nominating her but I will feel a lot better once he announces judge Brown, Kruger or anybody other then Childs to make it official.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m personally hoping for KBJ, but I would be cool with Krueger.

      Given that Dems currently have Senate seats in most swing states and 3 in red states and their majority is still only 50-50, this may be the last Dem Supreme Court justice for a while, even without a GOP thwarting of democracy.

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      • Frankly Dems need to expand the playing field regarding the Senate. It starts by refocusing on economic populism, and allowing red state Democrats to moderate on cultural issues. Like it or not, the big issue they need to moderate on is immigration. The Obama era position is tolerable to the swing and light red voter, the 2020 progressive position is not.

        Someone like Tim Ryan is a good example in Ohio. He is a perfect fit for the state if he can distance himself from the national party on cultural issues.

        I’m much more pragmatic regarding elections for red state Democrats. But being a “fiscal conservative” helps you basically nowhere, not even in the upscale suburbs. If you are going to moderate to win in light red states, it should be on certain cultural issues. Of course, it doesn’t help to have a President who has been slow in responding to basically everything in his first year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This, along with Rearden and O’Hearn, are worse than any selection President Obama made that was not part of a deal with the GOP. I have no doubt that Judge Childs would like side with the conservatives on this court quite regularly.

    What makes the selection of Childs worse than Rearden however, is her nomination to a highly influential circuit court position. At least Rearden and O’Hearn, as bad as they are, were appointed to district court positions. And that this selection is solely based on political patronage, Judge Childs would have never been considered without having Clyburn as a patron.

    I strongly continue to maintain that Judge Childs is also not qualified for either the DC Circuit nor SCOTUS, aside from all ideological and age related considerations. She simply lacks the requisite administrative or constitutional law experience to be on either court. A district court judge in South Carolina simply does deal with these issues, and I don’t see anywhere else in her career that Childs has engaged in them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think everyone here knows my views on Childs, so I won’t rehearse them. I think she would be a bold pick and although I don’t share Dequan’s view that it would be a Harriet Miers-equivalent pick, it certainly seems odd that she’s under consideration for the DC Circuit given that the Fourth is a much more natural pick.

    That said, David Tatel has waited long enough, so perhaps its best that he has a replacement confirmed promptly. If KBJ is nominated, it will be interesting to see who replaces her (ideas?).

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  4. Off topic, but I thought American readers might find this interesting by way of comparison. The UK Supreme Court – ‘UKSC’ or more rarely ‘SCOTUK’ – has two vacancies at present, due to the statutory retirements of Lord Lloyd-Jones (the informal ‘Welsh’ judge on the Court) and Lady Arden – whose husband used to be the Court’s Deputy President and whom she replaced on it when appointed in 2018.

    Fun additional fact: Lady Arden was the last judge in the UK to have a retirement age of 75, as she had been appointed prior to 31st March 1995, when the age was changed to 70.

    Notice from the Court: https://www.supremecourt.uk/news/supreme-court-launches-selection-process-for-new-justices.html

    Fuller explanation: https://www.supremecourt.uk/news/judicial-vacancies.html

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      • There’s a good graphical representation through the link, but the basic outline is:

        1. When a vacancy arises, a selection commission is convened by the Lord Chancellor/Secretary of State for Justice – whose closest equivalent in the US Cabinet is the Attorney General (but bear in mind that the Attorney General is a separate position within the UK Cabinet).

        The current Justice Secretary is Dominic Raab, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister. Traditionally the Justice Secretary takes a hands-off approach to the process, although given how unpopular the judiciary are with the Conservative Party, he may involve himself more than usual.

        2. The Commission comprises senior judges from across the UK. It must include the current President of the Supreme Court (i.e. its Chief Justice), another senior Judge who is not on the Supreme Court, representatives of the judiciaries of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and one non-lawyer/non-judge.

        3. The Commission opens up the process to applications and sifts through them much like any other vacancy. There are some minimum requirements for applicants, who have to have either:

        – Been a member of one of the Circuit Court equivalents of the UK for at least two years; OR

        – 15 years high-level legal practice, either as a senior attorney before the most high-level courts of the UK, or exceptional academic standing (although only one judge has ever been appointed from an academic position, Lord Burows)

        But otherwise they’re fairly free in terms of who they pick. One weakness is that the the seniority requirements and the informal understanding that you have to be fairly advanced in your career to be eligible for selection, makes the senior judiciary pretty unrepresentative. There has never been a non-white justice, and only 4 women have ever sat on the body.

        4. The Commission conducts ‘soundings’ of the senior judiciary and the Lord Chancellor, before formally recommending a candidate. The Lord Chancellor may either:

        – Accept

        – Refuse

        – Ask the Commission to reconsider

        In virtually all instances, the Lord Chancellor accepts without question the recommendation. I honestly can’t think of an occasion when someone has been turned down – although decisions are rarely publicly revealed.

        5. That done, the Lord Chancellor communicates his decision to the PM, who then makes the recommendation to the Queen. Her Majesty naturally agrees with whatever the recommendation is, and the appointment is made.

        The whole process usually takes about 3 – 4 months.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @livesofthelaw

        Thanks for the detailed overview of the UK judicial selection process.

        It seems like the PM’s primary role (through the Lord Chancellor) is to convene a commission to vet candidates and eventually select a candidate. But once candidate is selected, there is no additional confirmation required, which I suppose makes sense in a parliamentary system.

        Although it is often the case that there is a coalition of parties that back the PM or there could be a minority PM. In those situations, this selection system gives that Lord Chancellor too much power. Yes, a no confidence vote can be invoked, but rarely is.

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  5. Another issue with J.Michelle Childs is that during the battle for marriage equality, she dragged her feet on issuing a ruling about South Carolina’s marriage ban to the point a suit was filed in another court to get around her.
    She did rule in favor of overturning the ban after SCOTUS did the heavy lifting for her.
    While some LGBT groups have said she’ll be a fair and impartial judge I’d rather not roll the dice if we don’t have to.

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      • She did but before Obergefell, there was Bostic v. Schaefer and other cases moving through the 4th Circuit.
        While other district judges ruled in favor of equality, Childs took her time in doing a ruling, waiting until SCOTUS turned the cases away(thus bringing marriage equality to the 4th Circuit.) to issue a ruling in favor.
        Suggests that she didn’t want to rule in favor but knew a negative ruling could hurt her chances of elevation so she dragged it out until others did the work for her.
        LGBT groups have said she’ll be fair but I’d rather not roll the dice with SCOTUS.

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      • Interesting observation about Childs and Obergefell. If your inkling is correct, that is pathetic on her part, a slap in the face to LGBT people, and makes me dislike her even more. Damn, if she gets picked, I hope progressive groups let Biden know what an awful selection it was.

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      • I was worried Childs might get picked but after hearing Clyburn’s comments I put in the last post on this site, I think he already knows she will not be the nominee.

        Biden really needs to announce the pick this week for one to ease all of our anxiety but more importantly with the senate in session the next six weeks when they return Monday, the nominee can be confirmed before the Easter recess. If he waits until next week to announce I don’t think the nominee will be confirmed until after the recess. I don’t want to chance another two weeks off being a heartbeat away from losing the majority.

        Liked by 2 people

      • @delco

        Progressive groups need to repeat to Biden that they will not support Childs if she’s nominated. Biden is on his own.

        Frankly I just don’t trust Biden at all, and think he’s been an awful President in so many ways. I’d give him a D right now, and if he picks Childs, an F.

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  6. I honestly would be happier if Biden re-nominated David Souter against for his old seat before Michelle Childs…

    Since Childs is basically half a Republican, she’d make it a 6.5 – 2.5 court……

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    • Even though I know it won’t happen, I truly wish after she is not selected for SCOTUS, Childs realizes she will never be selected & takes the 4th circuit vacancy instead of the DC circuit. There’s really no reason for her to leave South Carolina if she’s not going to be going to the SCOTUs unless she just wants to sit on the second most important court in the land.

      I wish she was more like justice Kruger & not want to move from her home state for any other job other then SCOTUS. If Biden picks KBJ & Child’s were to switch to the 4th circuit, we could get two solid picks for the DC circuit.

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    • I might prefer that Breyer die on the bench than to nominate Childs. I honestly think Childs is basically equivalent to a O’Connor or Kennedy, basically barely left of center on social issues and right of center on everything else. She is likely to be better than that on voting rights, but that’s probably it. My biggest concern about Childs is that I think she’d have no problem retiring under a Republican President.

      It would be an absolutely awful selection in every way possible, including the patronage angle. But even if we were certain that Childs was a strong progressive, I would still oppose her on the grounds that she is unqualified and this is a patronage appointment.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. If nothing else, I want to see a nominee so we can get going on nominating and confirming lower court judges, especially to the Circuit courts, as this very well may be the last chance to do so for a while.
    We start by having hearings for Arianna Freeman and Nancy Abudu and get to work on nominating people to other vacancies.
    As I said before, I’m almost certain Tamika Montgomery-Reeves is going to be nominated for the 3rd Circuit vacancy in Delaware and I could see Samantha D. Elliott being nominated for the upcoming vacancy on the NH seat in the 1st Circuit, which will be a flip.
    Not sure who the nominees for some of the other seats would be though.

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    • I will be watching the SJC website tomorrow to see if they announce a nominations hearing for next week Wednesday, as they always announce a week in advance. They posted another hearing today for next week Tuesday so I’m hoping for a nominations hearing certainly next Wednesday & hopefully the next two Wednesday’s.

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      • I’m hoping for that as well.
        As this point, it’s pretty clear who the frontrunners for SCOTUS are.
        Time to move on hearings for those who aren’t and at least set it up so they can get floor votes in the future when Lujan gets back.

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  8. I have a funny feeling in my gut there won’t be any judicial confirmations next week. Monday is already teed up with no judges. Tuesday Washington DC is expecting a large trucker protest that I’m sure will bring the US senate to a standstill. Depending on how bad it is that may spill over to Wednesday. If that happens, I look for the senate to be ready to high tail out of town early Thursday.

    Then again if any of that happens Schumer could keep the senate in session Friday and/or Saturday to make up for any lost time… Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    I needed that laugh

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sick and tired of the Senate not doing their job. And it’s not just on judges either. The Senate is a full time job, not a place to take vacation every other week.

      This is yet another thing that pisses off voters and then those voters vote for awful “non-politicians” like Trump and his ilk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup, I completely agree. How much would the Democrats stock would rise is Schumer kept the senate in session one Friday & Saturday a month. They could hold votes on voting rights, immigration & other issues that even if it failed, would at least show the American people they are trying. Sprinkle in a few judges on those days just so the day isn’t a total waste.

        He should definitely have called the senate back in session this week to focus on the Russia/Ukraine issue, even if it’s just for show. Republicans are light years better at doing things even if it’s just for show then Democrats. That’s part of the reason they get so many voters to vote against their own interest.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The announcement should be coming any day. I’ll bet it’s on the weekend. But the White House has the Russia-Ukraine crisis looming larger.

    Does Kamala Harris know Leondra Krueger personally? I had assumed she did, but I could be wrong. I would think that Nancy Pelosi wants a Californian on the court. Home state loyalty matters to any elected official. That’s a big reason why Lindsay Graham has been praising Michelle Childs, having a judge on the Supreme Court would be a big deal for a small state like South Carolina.

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    • The announcement definitely should come before Tuesday when we have the state of the union. I was hoping for tomorrow when it would receive maximum news coverage. Friday or the weekend would be less of an impact to the non daily news subscriber.

      I would think Biden probably knows Justice Kruger more then VP Harris. I haven’t seen anything from what I read that shows Harris has overlapped Kruger in any jobs or departments. And Feinstein was the only Democrat from the SJC that wasn’t at the meeting with Biden when he met with them to discuss the vacancy so not sure how much more influence she would have over Schumer or Durbin pushing for their home state possible nominees.

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    • A Supreme Court nomination is sufficiently high profile enough to not be on the weekend. It will be Thursday, Friday, or Monday. If something big is happening in Ukraine then it could be delayed another day or two.

      I think what could be hurting Kruger with Biden and his team is the sense that she refused to be a team player. She was offered the Solicitor General position twice and refused, probably because she did not want to be on record taking certain positions on behalf of the administration. I think there are people in the Biden team who are not going to look at that favorably.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The progressives are starting to get more vocal thank God. I think the smart money is moving towards Jackson…

        (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/civil-rights-attorney-crump-urges-biden-to-nominate-jackson-to-supreme-court/ar-AAUd6jm?ocid=msedgntp)

        As for Kruger, I wonder had RBG not have died before Biden had taken office, would she had taken the solicitor general position. She probably felt Biden would only get one shot at a SCOTUS seat & felt Jackson was too much of a front runner to make it worth leaving California to move cross country. I bet if you got Kruger alone & gave her some truth serum, she would tell you had RBG still been alive & the possibility of two vacancies, she would have taken the chance to leave the California SCOTUS to move to DC.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sure that KBJ was a clear frontrunner for the first slot in 2020. After all, Kruger had been a state Supreme Court justice for 6 years.
        But if KBJ had replaced RBG in February 2021 (if RBG lived a few more months she resigns pretty much the day that Biden is inaugurated), that would make it considerably less likely that Biden picks a second black woman. So I don’t think her chances improve that much with a second opening.

        BTW I don’t think the real reason why Kruger declined the Solicitor General was because she didn’t want to leave California. I think the real reason is that she didn’t want to take positions that would make her confirmation to SCOTUS more difficult (like it did for Kagan).

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Much like @Dequan, I have been waiting for this post.

    Where to begin…

    Between the AOCs and Biden on one hand and the insurrectionist party on the other, I feel so disinherited of my political home.

    For ethos:
    I was a mostly neutral anybody-but-Bernie Dem in 2020. All I cared about was to see the back of Trump. As a NY Dem, I didn’t have early influence in the primaries; I thought that by the time it got to me an acceptable candidate will have emerged. I would have voted for a broom that swayed in the wind if it meant defeat for Sen. Sanders.

    Around the SC primary, it became obvious that that broom would be Biden.

    (SC INTERJECTION: Rep. Clyburn’s endorsement helped Biden in SC BUT the extent is GREATLY exaggerated. Very few black SC Dem over 21 would have voted for an 80 YO socialist. Period. I don’t usually engage in racialization, but empirically speaking, we blacks are far more strategic about how we vote. That’s what happens when we are denied the vote for so long, the franchise becomes all the more precious. At any rate, Biden was the only natural choice. Then right after the other moderates left the field and largely endorsed Biden, thus boosting him. But this all happened in such close succession that we now misremember and inflate the Clyburn endorsement. I say this to say that Biden does not owe him a SCOTUS seat!)

    I was pleased with the defeat of Sanders and hopeful about the viability of Biden against Trump. All things considered, while I was satisfied with the nomination of Biden, I feared that he would continue Pres. Obama’s two worst traits: inability to understand the base nature and steadfast resolve of Republican opposition AND an absurd lack of urgency. Anyway, I quieted these concerns for the time being.

    The primaries faded into the general and September imposed itself upon us. And what an imposition it was…

    Prior to 7:30pm on September 18, 2020, I would get heart flutters every time I got a news alert on my phone. It was a truly awful way to live. And then that news alert came at around 7:30pm on September 18, 2020.

    I don’t wish to relive the painful interlude between 09/18 and 11/03. but we all know the history.

    For logos:

    Enter post-January 2021.

    Biden has manifested and magnified the two Obama traits as I feared he would.

    Cutting a lot out to finally get to the point…

    I said all the above to:

    1: show that I am not some trumpian Biden-basher or closeted Republican.
    2: show that I am not a Bernie Bro. Quite the opposite.
    I hope you don’t wash me as either when I say that Joe Biden has so far been a bad president with a grade of D+ (a “selection” of his excellent judicial nominees/appointees bears the heavy burden of keeping him from falling below D-).

    The very thing that is Biden’s redemption is now the source of my great agitation.

    Since this space is for the judiciary, I will limit my comments to that.

    Justice Breyer’s retirement could have been announced in 2021. How is Biden, almost a month since the actual retirement, unable to name someone? He promised us that he would do so before the end of the month. Will he do it this week? It seems very unlikely, per news reports of where he is in the interview process. In the 50-50 US Senate, senators are literally having heart attacks or being medically sidelined left, right, and center. Where is Biden’s urgency? Monday 2/28 is the end of the month. He damn well better nominate someone by then. If this deadline slips, we should make sure he suffers our displeasure. March 1 is probably out as it’s SOTU day. Unless he wants to overhype his speech by either making the announcement that day or that night at the actual event. But presidents normally like to space out good news, not bury it on the weekend or give it out in lump sums. Anyway, that’s the president’s total lack of urgency laid bare.

    And then there is the president’s perpetual propensity to please his political opponents. Childs has two things going for her: her political patron and the Republican party.
    While Childs might not be the eventual nominee (though this is far from certain), that she got so far along in the process is a crying shame. Why should R-appointees be so radically right but D-appointees cannot be anything but meekly in the middle?
    Why should we care about bipartisanship when Republicans don’t? Justice Barrett, with her wholly partisan confirmation vote is no less legitimately seated than Breyer, with his 87 Yea votes.


    Pathos:
    With the aforementioned, I hope you can see that I (a true-blue, card-carrying, never voted for a Republican in my life, Democrat) have reasons to dread the next three years of Biden’s presidency if they are consistent with the first. Biden’s SCOTUS nomination could go a long way to help restore my faith in his administration or force me to renounce it as a hide-my-head-in-a-paper-bag mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “All things considered, while I was satisfied with the nomination of Biden, I feared that he would continue Pres. Obama’s two worst traits: inability to understand the base nature and steadfast resolve of Republican opposition AND an absurd lack of urgency. ”

      It’s the absurd lack of urgency that is the primary problem with the Biden administration. They have been slow to respond on *everything*, COVID, the economy, inflation, negotiations with Joe Manchin on BBB, foreign policy, etc. Most of these things frankly are not even things you can just blame the GOP for either. There are no shortage of executive orders that the administration could have taken, and if they are struck down by SCOTUS, well you use that as an opportunity to attack this partisan right-wing SCOTUS for what it is, the way that FDR did.

      And now comes a SCOTUS nomination that should be a slam dunk. And yes, it is an embarrassment that Childs was even considered for a SCOTUS nominee. She is wholly unqualified.

      I strongly agree with you that the actual influence of Clyburn’s endorsement was far less than it appeared. A lot of people forget what else happened that week, Biden coming in second place in Nevada, Elizabeth Warren’s takedown of Michael Bloomberg in the debate, and Biden’s fairly impressive and emotional performance in that same debate. Even if Clyburn doesn’t endorse, Biden wins South Carolina handily and goes on to consolidate the anti-Sanders vote on Super Tuesday.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. There will be a nominations hearing next week.
    I hope there are Circuit court nominees during this hearing and I also hope there are more judicial nominees coming down the pipe besides SCOTUS.
    1 during the month of February won’t cut it.

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    • Thank God. I was getting nervous but I finally see the SJC website posted it. There absolutely needs to be at least 2 of the 4 pending appeals court nominees in this hearing. Hopefully there will be at least 5 or 6 nominees total. They really have a lot of catching up to do so this needs to be the first of back to back weeks of hearings.

      Sadly I doubt we will see another batch of nominations this month. I’m fine with that as long as March has two. And each batch needs to have more nominees then I can count on one hand, preferably more then I can count in two hands. There’s way too many states with two Democrat senators that have had vacancies for more then 4 months. Massachusetts, Oregon, New York & California all should have nominees announced by the president be of March for district court seats. And we need at least a half dozen appeals court nominees announced by the end of next month as well.

      Next week will be March. Between an upcoming week focused on the SCOTUS nominee, all the remaining recess weeks, other issues that can arise plus the majority being a heart best away from being lost, we really need a HUGE number of nominees announced by the end of April.

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  12. Progressive groups are now openly hinting for KBJ or at least not Childs. Demand Justice apparently already has ads to run to back KBJ. I wish they would do this explicitly, come straight out and say that they will not support Childs under any circumstances. And frankly they should also openly oppose Childs for the DC Circuit.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/liberals-circle-wagons-ketanji-brown-jackson-bidens-supreme-court-deci-rcna17437

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Shawn

      While Demand Justice (Full disclosure I am affiliated with them) has not openly opposed Childs, I think putting Minnesota Justice Wright (An older district court judge) on their list & not Childs, speaks just as loudly.

      I don’t think they would oppose Childs for the DC Circuit. I think openly opposing a nominee (Particularly from a Democrat president) should be reserved for the worst of the worst. While I know we both oppose Childs for the SCOTUS, we do so for different reasons. You oppose Childs because you feel she is not qualified & because she wouldn’t even be considered if it wasn’t for political patronage. I feel Childs is qualified, just a horrible selection. And even worse, we have so many Biden appointed judges that would make phenomenal selections. Plus I think Childs would be to the right of the Justice she would replace. So for me, that’s a non starter.

      For the lower courts I would certainly with hold endorsements of bad nominees but I would not openly oppose one unless they were completely unacceptable. I would have openly opposed Christine O’Hearn because on top of being a horrible nominee in a state with two Democrat senators, she couldn’t even answer basic legal questions at her hearing. As mentioned before in other post I may end up feeling the same way about Jennifer Reardon depending on her hearing.

      Childs however is qualified for a court of appeals nomination. I absolutely hate the fact she was nominated to the DC circuit & probably would have not even been happy with her being nominated to the 4th circuit but that’s because there are far better & younger candidates for both seats, not because I don’t feel she’s not qualified. That’s probably why we haven’t seen progressive groups openly opposing Childs. But once again putting Justice Wright on your list while excluding Childs is basically doing the same thing.

      I know you probably don’t agree but just giving you a different perspective from somebody that agrees with your end even if I don’t agree with the means.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry I meant judge Wright, not justice Wright. She is a Minnesota district court judge, not a Minnesota supreme court justice.

        But to further explain, I feel Christine O’Hearn is not qualified for the federal bench. So, if Trump had nominated her, I would have still voted no. On the other hand, I feel Childs is a horrible nominee for a Democrat to nominate to SCOTUS. However, if Trump had nominated Childs instead of ACB to the SCOTUS when RBG died, I would have carried her to the hearing & loudly endorsed her. That’s because when your unqualified, your unqualified no matter who nominates you. You can be qualified & still be a bad nominee depending on who nominates you as is the case with Childs in my opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Where I disagree with you is that I do think Childs is the worst of the worst given that the nomination was to the DC Circuit. I think think she is a horrible choice who is also unqualified for the DC Circuit (but is qualified for the 4th Circ) and would have never been considered if not for political patronage.

        The other important thing here is that the DC Circuit isn’t just a lower court. It is by far the most important one. It’s one thing to nominated bad choices to a district court, it’s something entirely different for the DC Circuit. As such, even under your criterion, Childs should be in the “completely unacceptable” category and should be openly opposed to the DC Circuit. DC Circuit nominations should be taken almost as seriously as SCOTUS ones.

        I don’t necessarily think that Childs is worse than Rearden or O’Hearn just on the merits. The difference is that the latter are being appointed to district court positions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan

        “However, if Trump had nominated Childs instead of ACB to the SCOTUS when RBG died, I would have carried her to the hearing & loudly endorsed her.”

        Well sure. I’m willing to endorse unqualified people if the alternative is someone like ACB or Alito. I’ve said many times here that Harriet Miers was perhaps the most unqualified nominee in the last century, and was a pure crony selection. Yet I would have voted for her in 2005 because I knew the alternative was going to considerably worse. But here the alternative isn’t Alito or ACB, it’s KBJ or Kruger.

        But the fact that I would have supported Childs from Trump (instead of ACB) doesn’t mean she is not unqualified. While Childs is not as unqualified as Miers because she has some judicial experience, she likely has had less experience with administrative and constitutional law than Miers did. And to me that is someone who is not qualified to be on SCOTUS. And there is no evidence that Childs’ background is of the exemplary nature to be selected for the highest court in the land to overcome her shortcomings.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We definitely disagree on Childs being unqualified for the DC circuit and/or SCOTUS. If you take her name off of her resume, remove Clyburn openly pushing for her, have Trump nominate her instead of Biden & change her year of birth from 1966 to 1986, she gets my enthusiastic endorsement. That’s why I can’t say with conviction she is unqualified. Because if circumstances other than her qualifications were different, I would absolutely support her.

        If Christine O’Hern was nominated by Trump & her year of birth was 1989 instead of 1969 I still couldn’t support her after watching her nominations hearing. She is simply unqualified regardless of what circumstances you change outside of her qualifications.

        Now I do agree with you on what court a person is nominated to matters when it comes to how bad of a pick it is. That’s why I said I would vote no for Childs to the DC circuit & probably hold my nose & vote yes for her to the 4th circuit if I were a senator. But if I felt she was unqualified I would vote no regardless of what court she was nominated to unless I was openly voting for an unqualified nominee for the greater good like in your earlier example of voting for Harriet Myers when she was nominated to SCOTUS if I know the alternative was a qualified Samuel Alito.

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      • @Dequan

        If Trump offered to appoint even a GOP equivalent of Christine O’Hearn (basically an unqualified version of Justice O’Connor) in exchange for public Democratic support, I would have taken it. There was no way to prevent someone like ACB from getting on the court just like there was no way to prevent Alito in 2005. When a deal is offered to nominate someone who is an unqualified person who is less right-wing instead of a highly qualified right-winger, in the situation that you have no real avenue to block an appointment, I would take it.

        That doesn’t mean that the person I would vote for is qualified. It’s just that we are better off with an unqualified person than a qualified person who can do great harm.

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      • ” But if I felt she was unqualified I would vote no regardless of what court she was nominated ”

        Also I really disagree with this. Someone can be qualified for a district court while being currently unqualified for SCOTUS or the DC Circuit. They have very different job descriptions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Correct. Somebody can be qualified for a district court but not an appeals court or SCOTUS. I’m just saying I feel judge Childs is qualified for 3. But as mentioned earlier I feel she is a horrible nominee under THESE circumstances despite me feeling she’s qualified & I hope Biden puts this to rest in the next 48 hours & nominated KBJ.

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    • Having Childs on the DC Circuit court would basically revert the Court to being 6-4-1. The DC Court currently has a 7-4 liberal majority on it. It was 6-4-1 while Garland (a moderate liberal) was still on it and 6-3-1-1 before Thomas B. Griffith (a moderate conservative) retired.

      My take: I will only support Childs on the D.C. Circuit if it’s clear that there wouldn’t be time to find someone new and the choice were between Childs or letting Republicans keep the seat open for years.

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      • I would say it was 7-4 with Garland. Garland is basically on par with Breyer and Kagan, and I don’t think he is substantially to the right of say Srinivasan or Millett. Childs is on par with Justices O’Connor or Kennedy. There’s a *substantial* difference between them. 6-4-1 is appropriate with Childs.

        I don’t love judges like Garland very much but people like Childs, O’Hearn, and Rearden are considerable downgrades.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Putting Childs on the DC Circuit is putting her one small step from the Supreme Court. If Lindsey Graham is able to swipe a Supreme Court nomination of the opposite party then that would be a truly remarkable political achievement. How does he do it with one fellow senator and one top Dem congressman in his state? He outworks everyone. Give credit where it is due.

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  14. Durbin’s the chair of the Judiciary committee and hails from Illinois and he hasn’t prepared and groomed a judge or two for the DC Circuit at a time like this? Same for Schumer in NY. What have they been doing all these years? Lindsey in little old SC is one step ahead.

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    • @Larry Simmers

      I think Linsey Graham is smart in the aspect you’re talking about. He probably knows the same thing everybody writing on this site knows. That Childs is the worst realistic candidate on Biden’s list. That means she is the best candidate for him. Knowing it’s a 50/50 senate, he is getting out in front & pushing the weaker nominee as the one that can get bi-partisan support. He knows Biden needs a win so he may want to take the easier route since most of his base (Not the people on this site) will be happy with seeing any Black woman confirmed.

      I actually would do the same thing if the shoe was on the other foot. I believe Biden has enough people in the room that knows this & will push him to make the right decision. Plus, KBJ was a finalist for Scalia’s seat when Biden was VP. I believe Biden is taking his time to try & make it look like he is trying to reach out to senators & now with the Russia invasion it may take a couple more days to announce however I truly feel as though KBJ will be the nominee.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I know the WH has alot going on, but I hope Ron Klain, Dana Remus, and whoever else is heavily involved in the lower court nominations can release a steady flow of nominees….I mean, we had one circuit court nominee in Feb, that’s it…

    There is a hearing next Thurs with the 3 judicial nominees held over from last week plus 2 US attorneys…..Hopefully, he’ll add the other 3 from the nominations hearing last week so they can get their “held over” out of the way..

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    • I completely agree @Rick.

      It’s completely idiotic when Durbin has a hearing on a Wednesday & not put those nominees on the executive calendar 8 days later to be held over. Even if Republicans have issues or additional questions, just put them on the calendar since you know they will be held over for an additional week.

      Besides the SCOTUS announcement, I would expect the 15th batch somewhere in the first two weeks of March. And possibly a 16th before the end of March.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Biden (or any president) probably doesn’t spend much time on lower court nominations unless its the DC Circuit……I remember President Obama had a Rose Garden ceremony when he announced 3 nominees to DC Circuit in 2013…But for the most part the aforementioned Klain, Remus are doing most, if not all the legwork in the lower courts nomination process.

        I guess the last step in the nomination the president is involved in – process when the nominee receives his/her judicial commission…..Is that a formal piece of paper signed by the President that basically says “Congratulations, you’re now a federal judge”…

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      • GW Bush also had a Rose Garden ceremony for his first batch of nominees. Trump’s first nominee was Gorsuch for SCOTUS so of course he had a big ceremony. I actually wish Biden would have a ceremony for his appeals court nominees as well. I think it would put more emphasis as to the importance of the courts. Especially since he will probably only get one SCOTUS vacancy.

        The level of involvement each president has with their lower court nominees varies. From reading the SJC questionnaires of each appeals court nominee nominated by Biden so far, it seems as though he meets with those nominees in person. So he seems to be more involved then past president’s who, as mentioned, sometimes don’t get involved until it’s time to sign their judicial commissions.

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  16. With the news that Manchin has gone all in to lobby for Childs, I think she will be picked . I will keep voting for Dems but it’s really disheartening when Dems don’t care about going all out for our side when Republicans will do whatever the hell they want to get their extremists through.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jbendery/status/1496853642913226759?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1496853642913226759%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailykos.com%2Fstory%2F2022%2F2%2F24%2F2081099%2F-Daily-Kos-Elections-Live-Digest-2-24

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    • I don’t think even with Manchin pushing for Childs that it means she will be picked. Manchin’s first NO vote on a Biden nominee is not gonna be the first black woman nominated to the Supreme Court. Especially somebody that is imminently qualified as KBJ or somebody that he has voted YES to confirm twice in the past 12 years.

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    • Frankly I’m done voting for Biden and Democrats if Childs is selected. Not even against people like Trump or John Eastman. The main reason why I vote for Democrats are judges, and if someone like Childs is selected, there’s no more reason to do so. I’m already not going to vote for the House in a swing district until Jim Clyburn is no longer in leadership.

      I don’t trust Biden one iota frankly. While I doubt he will pick Childs just because Manchin wants her, but I think there is the serious possibility that Biden would select Childs in exchange for Manchin agreeing to move forward on some version of BBB.

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  17. On a different note, it looks like Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe is going to resign which means Democrats will once again have the floor majority and an outright one for a time if Lujan comes back.
    Now is the time to start nominating and confirming more judges.

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  18. Have to fix my post.
    He’s not resigning until the end of the year and even if something happened before that, OK changed their rules last year to allow an immediate appointment.
    My apologies for the confusion.

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  19. I am incredibly disgusted by the anti-intellectualism argument made by people like Clyburn, Graham, and Manchin. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. It was never intended to have average lawyers on it. The justices on the Supreme Court are supposed to be incredibly intelligent and will largely be represented by those who went to the top law schools.

    Yale, Harvard, and other top law schools are so in large part because their students tend to be considerably brighter and more accomplished. Now some may argue that it is in part due to their connections. Sure it is. But it is also because these attorneys are remarkably capable to begin with. This would be more concerning if these top schools barred quality students from attending like they did 50+ years ago. But the opposite is true, you have people like Judge Holly Thomas, who was the first person in her family to go to college. The truth is that these top schools spend millions of dollars every year recruiting students who do not come from the elite.
    And yes, there are plenty of high quality attorneys from other schools who deserve consideration. I’m not disputing that. But the idea that it is a demerit to have a degree from a top school is frankly garbage.

    Being less qualified should not be a selling point. You’re simply not going to convince me that somehow being in the middle of your law school class in a 100th rated law school is somehow a positive for the Supreme Court. Maybe you can make that argument for a politician, but certainly it is total BS for the highest court of the land.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I for one do not have an issue with somebody being on the SCOTUS that doesn’t come from one of the prestigious law universities. Even if somebody didn’t graduate in the top of their class, they can turn their lives around over a 20 to 30 year career.

      Where I do agree with you is J. Michelle Childs isn’t that person. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say there will (Nor has never been) a person I would support that has that past. I could definitely see a rags to riches type of a nominee that would deserve SCOTUS consideration in the future.

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      • “I for one do not have an issue with somebody being on the SCOTUS that doesn’t come from one of the prestigious law universities. ”

        I don’t have a *problem* with that either. Someone who has considerable other credentials that would make them suitable for SCOTUS is completely fine with me. (For example, former NC Supreme Court justice Cheri Beasley could be someone who could be considered. Although she’s a bit too old.)

        But I really disagree with the idea that somehow that is on its own a selling point for SCOTUS as Clyburn, Graham, and Manchin treat it.

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  20. Good good GREAT news… Alliance for Justice just stated next week’s SJC hearing will feature Arianna Freeman and Judge Stephanie Davis. I’m not sure how they know but here is a copy/paste form their weekly newsletter…

    “Next week, two more remarkable nominees will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJC): renowned public defender Arianna Freeman (3rd Cir., PA) and Judge Stephanie Davis (6th Cir., MI).

    Arianna Freeman specializes in habeas matters and would be the first Black woman to serve in the Circuit.
    Judge Stephanie Davis currently serves on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She would be the second Black woman to serve on the court and the first from Michigan.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Glad to see Circuit court nominees are finally getting hearings.
    I expect to see a couple of district court nominees in the hearing as well.
    Only a couple left from the Nov/December nominations so we’ll likely see them or ones from the January batch.
    Hopefully we’ll see the SCOTUS and more Circuit court nominees as well, as IMO, this is grind time to get them confirmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. They can knock out all of the pending nominees (Not counting William Pocan due to his blue slip not getting turned in) in two hearings if they do 6 in each…

      Hearing one: Freeman & Davis… Evelyn Padin & the 3 remaining NY nominees.

      Hearing two: Childs & Abudu… Tiffany M. Cartwright, Nina Wang & the two remaining California nominees.

      If for any reason either hearing doesn’t have six nominees in it, Nina Wang should be saved for last since the judge she is replacing doesn’t retire until July 15th.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Manchin has voted for several liberal nominees including Holly Thomas so I wouldn’t expect him to change that for Lauren Bonds.
    IMO, Jacy J. Hurst is much more likely to be the nominee though.

    Like

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