The Biden Administration has tapped attorneys from many prominent civil rights organizations for the bench. Eastern District nominee Natasha Merle, who works for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is part of this trend.
Merle attended the University of Texas at Austin, graduating in 2005. Merle then attended New York University Law School, graduating in 2008. She then clerked for Judge Robert Carter on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before joining the Gulf Region Advocacy Center.
After two years at the Advocacy Center, Center became a federal public defender in the Eastern District of New York and then clerked for Judge John Gleeson on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She then joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where she currently serves as deputy director of litigation.
History of the Seat
Merle has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. This seat opened on February 1, 2021 by statute because Judge Roslynn Mauskopf was designated to the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Merle has held a number of legal positions throughout her career, although she has spent the majority of it at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Early in her career, Merle spent a year as a federal public defender, where she worked on appeals. See, e.g., People v. Rowser, 139 A.3d 489 (N.Y. App. Div. 2016).
Merle has been with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund since 2013. Notably, she was part of the legal team representing Duane Bell, a Texas man whose death sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court because of racially prejudiced comments presented by a defense expert during the sentencing phase of his trial. See Buck v. Davis, 137 S. Ct. 759 (2017). In a media statement, Merle noted that the case was about whether a state could execute someone after a sentencing infected with “racial bias.” Feliks Garcia, Supreme Court Slams Texas Man’s ‘Racially Tainted’ Death Sentence, Calls It “Indefensible”; The Jury’s Decision Hinged on Expert Witness Testimony That Claimed That Black People Were Statistically More Prone to Violent Criminal Behavior, The Independent, Oct. 5, 2016.
In additional matters, Merle was part of the legal team suing Alabama over its voter ID law, and argued the case before the Eleventh Circuit. Mallory Moensch, Civil Rights Groups Appeal Alabama Voter ID Ruling, A.P. State & Local, Feb. 22, 2018. See also Greater Birmingham Ministries v. Merrill, 250 F. Supp. 3d 1238 (N.D. Ala. 2017). She also brought suit against Arkansas for vote dilution of black voters in judicial elections. See Frazier v. Kelley, 460 F. Supp. 3d 799 (E.D. Ark. 2020).
In non-voting matters, Merle sued on behalf of black communities in Philadelphia over excessive force used during protests over police brutality in 2020. See Ellie Silverman and Mike Newall, Trump: May Send Officers to Phila.; It Was Among Cities He Named as He Lauded Use of Force Against Oregon Protesters. Kenney Said They Are Not Wanted Here, Philadelphia Daily News, July 21, 2020. She also sued the Alamance County Sheriff for allegedly using excessive force against protesters. See Isaac Groves, Second Lawsuit Charges Sheriff, Police with Suppressing Vote, Times-News, Nov. 9, 2020.
Statements and Writings
In her role at the NAACP LDF, Merle has frequently written and commented on the law, particularly in relation to pending litigation. For example, Merle noted, in connection with a lawsuit against President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, that “[a]llegations of voter fraud have historically been used to target minority voters and deprive them full access to the franchise.” See Press Release, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, LDF, Local Alabama Organization File Federal Lawsuit Challenging President’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission, Targeted News Service, July 18, 2017.
Additionally, Merle has also submitted letters to government officials, for example, sending a letter to the Texas Secretary of State asking for additional efforts to accommodate voting for those internally displaced by Hurricane Harvey. See Sam Levine, Civil Rights Group Threatens Texas If It Doesn’t Protect Voting Rights of Hurricane Victims, Huffington Post, Oct. 13, 2017.
Like many of her colleagues tapped for the bench and executive positions, Merle is likely to see strong opposition. Nonetheless, given Democrats’ relative discipline on judicial nominations, Merle is still favored to join the bench by the summer.
This is the first Biden nominee from a list presented last year from The People’s Parity Project. Hopefully it will not be the last as she is phenomenal & so are many others on the list.
This is a fantastic nominee.
The Thurs committee mtg is canceled…
Yea, we were speaking about it last night in the Nusrat Jahan Choudhury post. And no nominations hearing next week either…smh
No nomination hearing next week is expected since they had hearing yesterday……But they should have one more lower court hearing before the Jackson SCOTUS hearing starts…
Hopefully the Thurs meeting being canceled means the first time nominees this week will be voted on next week…
Sen Lujan returned to the senate today..
Amen. Hopefully next week the senate can actually get some work done.
This is a fantastic nominee. It’s unfortunate how bipolar some of these nominees are in blue states. Natasha Merle and Jennifer Rearden, or Tiffany Cartwright and David Estudillo.
What does everyone think of the current SG as a possible DC Circuit nominee?
Not that I disagree Elizabeth Prelogar, or for that matter any SG would make a good DC circuit court appointment, but I think there are better choices now. Preferably the first Hispanic to the court but if not Deepak Gupta, Karla Gillbride (She would be an excellent choice for the first blind SCOTUS justice) or a young AAPI progressive in the mold of Dale Ho.
Here’s some good news regarding todays cancelled SJC executive calendar vote…
“ Committee aide tells me Rs agreed to consider today’s nominees to be held over for a week, without meeting to decide this, so all will get votes next week.”
From what I’m seeing and as was touched on last night,the vote was postponed because Durbin didn’t want to risk Morrison and a couple of others failing a committee vote.
On a different note, with Lujan back, it’s time to clear out the backlog on judges and nominate some new ones, especially Circuit court seats.
If there’s a hearing two weeks from now with five nominees, there would be only only two nominees who would need hearings now that Pocan is out.
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I certainly hope there is a nominations hearing in two weeks (Not sure why not next week) because KBJ hearing is the week after. I’ve been saying for a while now I’m much more concerned with the pace in SJC then the floor. Schumer could knock every pending nominee out in one week.
The SJC has to wait a month to have a hearing for a nominee, then they would have to be held over a week before being voted out of committee. And that’s not even including Durbin’s slow pace on top of all that. Not having a nominations hearing next week despite 7 non William Pocan nominees is a perfect example of that.
Sorry to be Oscar the Grouch but the senate just adjourned and Schumer filed cloture on 2 executive nominees…
Well, it’s a team effort of SUCK right now……The WH is taking their good ole time announcing nominees, the SJC is taking its good ole time having hearings, and Schumer is taking is good ole time bringing floor votes..
Hopefully next week at least Padilla will be back. That way the can at least get started on the non controversial nominees. The others will have to wait until Feinstein is back which will probably be the week after next. But at this point I will take any judges.
We need to see more nominees if for no other reason that by mid April, there won’t be anyone left to have hearings on.
I’m not even counting Stephanie Davis as a “batch” so we haven’t had any new nominees since January 19th. 125 vacancies. We really need another batch this month, if not TWO. And a real batch, not 1, 2 or 3 nominees.
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We especially need Circuit court nominees as this year may very well may be the last time we can fill them with sane people and not far right hacks.
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On a different note, even though most of the attacks were lobbed at Arianna Freeman, Jennifer Rearden, Robert Huie and Evelyn Padin had to field off questions from Sen.Kennedy about how they felt about progressive prosecutors and abortion.
Just goes to show that no one Biden nominates, even those we don’t like will escape the bad faith attacks by Republicans.
I actually wish they would give senator Kennedy a better answer. They don’t have to bash DA’s but could say if they were in that or any role, they would not unilaterally say they would not prosecute certain crimes at all. I cringe every time they say they have no option the matter. I can just see ad’s this midterm with nominee after nominee answering that way.
It looks like Harris will be in Europe next week so I don’t see any discharge motions being done on Dale Ho or others.
Still with Lujan back there are enough judicial nominees that can get confirmed without her being needed as a tie breaker so hopefully Schumer will get on that.
It looks like Markey and Warren have set up a committee to screen nominees for the vacancies on MA’s district court.
Looks like it will be a while before we see nominnes for those seats as well as Sandra Lynch’s seat.
The press release only states they are accepting request for the Timothy S. Hillman seat. His senior status doesn’t begin until July 1st this Summer.
I am hoping the have already recommended nominees for the two existing vacancies. I also hope The White House will go about filling the circuit court vacancy without a commission as they have done for other circuit court seats.
While there is a bit of a slow down, I decided I would share my realistic hopes for some of the circuit court vacancies that I feel haven’t been discussed as much as others on this site.
D. Brooks Smith (Pittsburgh area):
My personal favorite is the new US Attorney for the Western District of PA Cindy Chung (1975). She used to be a Trial Attorney in the main DOJ Civil Rights division. That being said, given that she only assumed office on November 23 and her office’s leadership team was just announced this week, I doubt she will be the nominee. My guess is that Biden will renominate Rebecca Ross-Haywood (not that I hope he does by any means). Pitt Law Dean (and former John Paul Stevens clerk) Amy Wildermuth and Pitt Law Professor William Carter are also possibilities, but Biden has yet to nominate any full-time law professors if I am correct.
Diana Gribbon Motz (Baltimore area):
Liz Oyer (1979) and Paresh Patel (1971), both with the Maryland Federal Public Defender office, are strong possibilities, but my first choice would be Goldstein & Russell Partner Tejinder Singh (1982). Not only did he clerk for Motz, he is an extremely progressive plaintiffs attorney and would be the first Sikh federal judge.
Henry Franklin Floyd (South Carolina):
After J. Michelle Childs was passed over for this seat, there are no obvious picks for this seat, as the next youngest Obama appointee on the District Court in South Carolina was born in 1961. Two possibilities I have come up with are Meliah Bowers Jefferson (1980) and Lauren E. Williams (1976).
Jefferson is based in Greenville and there is nothing exceptionally progressive in her background, but she is a black woman, clerked for Childs (as well as on the South Carolina Supreme Court), has appellate experience, and was on the South Carolina Supreme Court’s Pro Bono Honor Roll.
Williams is a Charleston based criminal defense/ personal injury attorney (small practice with one other full-time lawyer) with appellate experience. She previously served as a Public Defender in New Orleans,has also done Pro Bono work with The Clemency Project, and served as a Planned Parenthood Young Advocate Volunteer.
James Dennis (New Orleans area):
My top pick would be David Sinkman (1975), the Civil Rights Coordinator for the USAO Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Tiffany Gautier-Chase (1970) of the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal is another possibility.
M. Margaret McKeown (San Diego area):
If this seat stays in San Diego, appellate practitioner and former McKeown clerk Johanna Schiavoni (1969). Mitra Ebadolah (1981), Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties would be the best possible pick, but for some reason, Biden hasn’t picked any ACLU Attorneys for seats in California. California Deputy Solicitor General Helen Hong (1978) has San Diego ties and should also be in the mix.
Forgot to include one (only including ones that I feel haven’t been discussed as much)
David Hamilton (Indiana):
Biden has yet to nominate any Magistrate Judges directly to an Appeals Court, but most Presidents do so at some point. Southern District of Indiana Magistrate Judge Doris Pryor (1976) has a chance to Biden’s first Magistrate court to Appeals court selection. She previously served as an Assistant US Attorney (National Security Chief) for the Southern District of Indiana, but before that served as a Deputy Public Defender in the Arkansas Public Defender’s Commission. Fellow Southern District of Indiana Magistrate Judge Mario Garcia (1973) also has a shot. He served on the United States Sentencing Commission’s Practitioner’s Advisory Group and as a Pro Bono Attorney on the Southern District of Indiana’s Criminal Justice Act panel. However, I feel Biden will want to nominate a black woman like Pryor to get back at Republicans for blocking Myra Selby’s nomination to the seat that eventually went to Amy Coney Barrett.
Another name to consider for the Seventh Circuit from Indiana is Zachary Myers, the U.S. Attorney for Southern Indiana. He was confirmed to his current position by a voice vote.
Tejinder Singh would be a fantastic pick for the MD seat on CA4, but I would also love to see the nomination of Tiffany Wright. Given that Barbara Milano Keenan was replaced with a guy, I guess Biden will not appoint another man in replacement of a female judge on CA4.
On a different note, was looking into Delaware’s vacancies and while I still believe the 3rd Circuit seat is Tamika Montgomery-Reeves to lose, I agree with the poster who said AUSA Christopher Howland is a dark horse candidate for that seat, as he is a member of the American Constitution Society, is young (about 40) and is gay, which would add diversity to the bench.
If not for the 3rd Circuit seat, then at least Leonard Stark’s district court seat.
3rd circuit – I really hope they forget about specific regions for seats like they did in New Yok & it goes to somebody from the Philadelphia area. But if not, I’m fine with anybody mentioned above except for Rebecca Ross-Haywood. Sorry but at this point I don’t want anybody else born in the 1960’s. Let them be US attorney’s or state supreme court justices but not for lifetime appointments to the federal bench.
I never heard of Christopher Howland but he sounds like a solid second choice should Tamika Montgomery-Reeves rather state on the state SCOTUS like Goodwin Liu or Leondra Kruger in California.
4th Circuit – Liz Oyer was the second choice I was thinking with her being a member of the DC judicial nomination commission. My first choice would be Ajmel Quereshi (c. 1981) with him being the NAACP senor counsel.
Lauren E. Williams would be a tough sell with Graham’s influence in the selection process due to him voting for so many Biden nominees. Barkari Sellers would be my personal favorite but @Shawn has mentioned he probably does not want to be a judge. Meliah Bowers would be next on my list but Graham would probably push for somebody like Janet Rhodes instead. Of course my dream scenario would be judge Childs realizes her chance at SCOTUS is over so no need to move to the DC circuit & she stays in South Carolona & takes the 4th circuit now instead but I’m just dreaming I know.
5th Circuit – There’s just so many choices form Louisiana & Texas. The real question is how hard Biden will push in each state in order for me to give a good guess. With senator Kennedy voting Andre Mathis out of committee to avoid needing to discharge him on the floor, that leads me to believe he is trying to get in The White House good graces to off set them pushing him to the sides like what happened in Tennessee.
7th Circuit – I truly wish this would go to John Rappaport but I just don’t believe this will be where we get our third white male to the circuit court from Biden. I would rather him over Jennifer Nou but here, just like the DC circuit probably deserves to have the first Hispanic on the court. Nancy Maldonado was recommended for the district court so I’m not sure if she will be considered for this seat. Jennifer Soble would be a solid pick but I have a hunch this will go to somebody most of us haven’t heard of similar to Candace Jackson-Akiwumi.
As for Indiana I see it going to either Jessica Eaglin, Zachary A. Myers, Mario Garcia or a name we are unfamiliar with.
9th Circuit – We have beat this subject up on previous post enough but of course this will come down to if this will stay a California seat like I think it will or will it revert back to Washington like others think it will. If it’s California, I hope it goes to either Monica Ramierez-Almadani or Victor A. Rodriguez, but I almost certainly see this going to a Hispanic if it’s a Cali seat.
If it reverts back to Washington then I’ll guess Marsha Chien or Jamal Whitehead (If no African American is selected for either of the two remaining district court seats).
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Jennifer Nou has wiped her Twitter, which can be a sign of a pending nominee.
Jennifer Nou wiping her Twitter is definitely a sign. Anytime a well talked about nominee does that or makes their social media private, it’s a good sign they are being vetted. With a vacancy in the 7th circuit combined with President Biden wanting to increase the AAPI representation on the bench could make her the front runner for the Chicago seat now.
Yes, I agree that Nou wiping her Twitter suggests that she has a strong chance of being nominated. It doesn’t really make sense to put an administrative law expert on the 7th though – her expertise makes her a better fit for the DC Circuit or the District of DC, which handle pretty much all the admin law cases.
If Biden’s looking for an academic with an underrepresented background, Michael Kang at Northwestern makes more sense (https://www.law.northwestern.edu/faculty/profiles/MichaelSeokhyunKang/). He’s an election law expert, which is much more relevant to the 7th Circuit than administrative law.
There has been an excellent recurring article here called “Where We Stand.” When will the next such article be posted? There has been a lot of discussion of future vacancies and that would be the ideal forum for them.
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those threads are still active?
I don’t know. But a lot has happened since the last threads.
On the 5th Circuit, I wonder if a problem for those areas is finding people willing to put up with the horrible place it has become, especially after the Trump hacks were put on it.
Wouldn’t surprise me at all.
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Applying and getting vetting is very time-consuming, even when the White House and the Senators already had someone in mind. The Texas vacancy is a recent one.
I doubt it personally, but it is a possibility I suppose. Of course as Mitch mentioned that seat hasn’t been open for as long as other circuit court seats, and that is including states with 2 democratic senators.
I suspect strongly that is the real reason why Gregg Costa left the bench. In all the other circuit courts there are enough right-leaning judges with at least an open mind to cobble a majority for the center/left at least some of the time. There simply are too many far right judges who are pure hacks on the 5th.
You are simply never going to convince any of the 6 Trump judges, along with Judges Jones, Smith, Owen, and probably Elrod on anything of importance. The only right-of-center judges that are gettable are Haynes and Southwick. It’s like having a court with a majority of Sam Alitos, Carrie Severinos, and Ed Whalens.
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And this is why I stress youth along with nominating progressives. Edith Jones was confirmed to this appeals court when she was 37. Democrats barely nominate progressives that young to the district court, let alone appeals court. This is one of the reasons their side is winning when it comes to the court, along with not caring about hierocracy.
On another note @Shawn, do you have a link showing Jennifer Nou association with the American Constitution Society? I have looked all over their website & the internet & can’t find anything. I was just trying to read up more on her. Anything you can send to help would be appreciated.
And the worst part of the 5th along with some other courts like the 11th is that Obama could and should have been able to pick liberal replacements for some of the vacancies that occurred but Patrick Leahy insisted the blue slip rule be honored and that gifted McConnell with more then a dozen Circuit Court seats he shouldn’t have had.
Pure political malpractice and that one that so many different minority groups will be suffering from for decades to come.
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As others have said, it does appear Jennifer Nou is the front runner for the IL seat on the 7th Circuit based on what she’s done with her social media accounts, as other nominees like Dale Ho and Toby Heytens among others have done.
In that same breath, that kind of activity makes me nervous about one of the district court vacancies in the Northern District of New York.
As I mentioned before, out of the blue last month, former Blue Dog Rep Anthony Brindisi deleted his personal twitter account and I’ve heard through the grape vine it’s because he is being vetted for the Utica vacancy(nothing confirmed though.)
I know he is close to Schumer and I fear that he will be getting that seat as a back up prize for losing his seat in Congress(though there was voting rights violations that likely screwed him over) as well as losing his race for State Supreme Court last year.
My only take is too bad on the losses but there are better candidates for that seat and one shouldn’t get it like Jennifer Rearden is about to because you are close with one of the senators.
Guess we won’t have long to find out, as I expect there will be a batch of judicial nominees before KBJ has her hearing.
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Diane Wood is a legal superstar renown for expertly written rulings and opinions. Partly because of her, the Seventh Circuit has a reputation for top notch legal writing and intellectual heft. The best way to honor Wood’s legacy is to find a successor who will continue that legacy.
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Correct. I’m not sure if Jennifer Nou would be to Diane Wood’s left or at least as progressive but I hope so if she is the nominee.
As for Anthony Brindisi, he would be a horrible deep blue state nominee. He had an A rating from the NRA for God’s sake. How can New York have such phenomenal nominees on one hand, & such terrible ones on the other.
I agree completely. That’s why Professor John Rappaport is the best choice for this seat. Nou is not bad either. I don’t have a problem with nominating her, it’s just that Rappaport has the potential to be another Brandeis, Douglas, or Scalia.
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Thank you @Shawn. For some reason I went to the ACS website & also on line & couldn’t find it but I appreciate the info.
And I completely agree with @Shawn as well that Rappaport is the best person for the seat. Unfortunately with it being an all white court prior to Biden nominating Candance Jackson, I fear he will go with diversity for this seat. I’m hoping he uses the Indiana seat to add diversity but something tells me they will want all 3 seats for that. If so, as mentioned Nou & other names mentioned aren’t bad. It’s just that I fee Rappaport is the best.
“How can New York have such phenomenal nominees on one hand, & such terrible ones on the other.”
Because you have a decent senator and a pretty underwhelming one.
I had thought that either Andrea Wood or Gary Feinerman would be the front-runners to succeed Diane Wood. Both of them have distinguished judicial records. I realize that Biden hasn’t nominated many District Judges for the Circuits for reasons that Deaquan explained, but I would make an exception here. I’m not speaking against Jennifer Nou or John Rappaport because I don’t know much about them.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but if Nou is nominated, I believe she would be the first full-time law Professor nominated by Biden.
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Anne Rachel Traum is a professor of law at the William S. Boyd School of Law.
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I had mentioned in an earlier post, but I believe out of the three senators that did not vote at all when KBJ was confirmed to the DC circuit, all three are in play to vote to confirm her for SCOTUS for different reasons. I doubt all three will vote for her but I think they are at least possibles. I now add the other Florida senator to that list per the article below.
And I’ve said before, I don’t think Rubio is in play because he still has Presidential aspirations, and Sasse is not in play because he’s a strong right-winger (although not pro-Trump).
I don’t think so. I checked the KBJ cloture vote which happened a few days before the actual vote, and all 3 of them voted against invoking cloture.
I think for Diane Wood’s seat it’s going to come down to what Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth want.
If they want John Rappaport for the seat, they’ll likely get him.
Don’t forget that when a vacancy opened up on the 4th Circuit, Biden’s nominee was Toby J. Heytens, a liberal white nominee.
We’ll have to wait and see.
Well for the 4th circuit seat the only choice could have been Toby J. Heytens. Senators Kaine & Warner sent Biden three recommendations for that seat & the other two were district court judges Arenda Wright Allen & M. Hannah Lauck. They were born 1960 & 1963 respectively so no way Biden was choosing either of them.
Biden should have told the to send him three realistic recommendations. Sending him two nominees that old basically is sending him just one… Lol
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I remember that.
Pretty clear Kaine and Warned wanted Heytens and didn’t care how obvious they were about it.
I honestly believe if Biden & his team drew the line back then, that would have headed off some of the other bad nominees that have been recommended & accepted. I personally like Toby J. Heytens & am perfectly fine with him being the nominee elected but I hate the way it was done. Biden should have made a point, particularly that early in his presidency, & sent back the two old judges & made them send him two realistic choices. I think we would have had at least a few less bad recommendations had he done that.
Even though I’m not a big fan of Biden taking a state supreme court justice from a state with a Republican governor to nominate to the appeals court, I have to say I am happy with Beth Robinson’s replacement on the Vermont Supreme Court.
A note on Judge Waples. She was appointed to her current judgeship by Peter Shumlin in 2014. Shumlin is a Democrat.
I like her even more. I couldn’t find her graduation dates to calculate her approximate year of birth but her picture looks like she’s young. She could definitely be a consensus pick for a federal judgeship in the future if she’s as young as she looks.
Looks like Waples is also about to turn 62. Graduated college in 1982. Definitely a surprise. https://www.martindale.com/attorney/nancy-j-waples-433144/
Oh then that must have been an old picture in the article because no way she was anywhere near her 60’s in that pic unless she knows the location of the fountain of youth… Lol
I agree and with a couple of the nominees like Lucy Koh, I get wanting to right wrongs that were done to a couple of them but life isn’t fair sometimes and I would have liked someone younger for her seat.
What irks me is some of the nominees we’ve had at the past couple of hearings.
I get with the blue slip rule in place that you might have to settle for older nominees in purple or red states but there is no way on earth any state with two Democratic senators should be nominating people in their 60’s, and yet at the past two hearings, we’ve had nominees who will both be turning 62 this year.
The fact they are going to district court seats doesn’t matter, they are waste of nominees and I wish this is where Biden would have put his foot down.
In Vermont’s case, the Democrats control both chambers plus Phil Scott is a liberal Republican (last one left) so there was no chance someone horrible would have gotten through.
That wouldn’t have been the case for the later Peter Hall(one of the only moderate Republican jurists left) if Trump was still President and McConnell called the shots in the Senate.
That to me has been an underreported story.
In 2020 we could have seen what happened with RBG happen twice on the 2nd Circuit, once with Hall’s seat and with the late Robert Katzman’s seat.
I know SCOTUS is bad but Circuit courts matter as well and people who live in NY/CT/VT need to be thanking their lucky stars that they won’t have a far right court calling the final shots on thousands of rulings each year.
Good point @Zack.
And as for the Biden nominees born in the 1960’s renominated from the Obama years, I agree with @Zack, life sometimes isn’t fair. Even with that said, here are the only Biden judges born in the 1960’s I’m ok with & the reason for each;
Beth Robinson – She probably was the best person from the entire state of Vermont for the seat. And it’s unlikely a SCOTUS nominee would come from Vermont so I am fine with her despite her age.
Leonard P. Stark – He is a solid nominee for the federal circuit. Plus it is unlikely a SCOTUS nominee will come from that court anyway. And he is from Biden’s home state.
Julien Neals – I know he is really close to senator Booker so since they held six seats vacant through the Trump presidency, I would have been fine with nominating one 1960’s judge. Since this is an Obama renomination I would have been fine with this one.
Lydia Kay Griggsby – Maryland has had several vacancies so I’m ok with one going to a 1960’s nominee, particularly with the lack of Indian American judges on the bench. With her being both Black & Indian, that is worth one seat in a state with multiple vacancies.
Tana Lin – She is a solid progressive. In a district with all 7 seats vacant during Biden’s first term, she is more then good to take one seat.
Michael S. Nachmanoff – Virginia has plenty of younger options but he has a solid progressive background so I am ok with this one.
Linda Lopez – With so many vacancies in the district in San Diego, I’m ok with this one adding a Cuban American to the bench.
David H. Urias – He is a solid progressive.
Charles E. Fleming – He is a solid progressive worth 1 of the 3 seats in a purple state with blue slips still in play.
Hector Gonzalez – While New York has a wealth of young progressives, I’m ok with one seat going to a 1960’s nominee with all of their vacancies. This would be the one I would have accepted as he is progressive & adds diversity to the bench. Plus he has been turned down for the district court in the prior administration & the state supreme court as well.
Charlotte N. Sweeney – She’s a solid progressive & adds diversity as the first LGBT district court judge West of The Mississippi.
I would have turned down all other 1960’s born judges Biden has nominated so far.
I agree with a lot of these, and for all rules there are exceptions. And that’s why I think that Nina Perales is still the best choice for the 5th Circuit seat, even though she’s 55.
Frankly I would have been glad to trade both of those seats for RBG living another 4 months. Heck in a hypothetical situation, I would be glad to give Trump two 35 year old Clarence Thomas types for those seats in exchange for RBG being replaced by Biden (and likely KBJ).
(Yes, we would need RBG to live another 4 months. If she died in November, even if Trump can’t fill the seat, it likely results in the GOP keeping one of the Georgia seats, and the GOP would retain the Senate.)
I think what has to be remembered is that there are still Democrats who are generally more concerned with recommending and nominating the most qualified nominees rather than the most ideologically pure nominees.
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On RBG, I’ll be as gentle as I can with this.
She had an amazing legacy but it will sadly be overshadowed by the fact she choose to roll the dice in thinking she could keep cheating death and control when and how she would be replaced.
That sadly resulted in her being replaced by someone who is against everything she fought for and it didn’t have to be that way.
Sadly, there isn’t anything that can be done about that but everyone can be grateful that on some lower courts which are the last stop on line for most cases that they aren’t going to be made worse and in the case of the 2nd, will soon have an active liberal/moderate majority.
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Harvard Law professor Randal Kennedy wrote back in 2011 that Ginsburg & Breyer should have retired back then.
I completely agree – Ginsburg’s failure to retire at the right time ruined her entire legacy. Now SCOTUS is going to reverse probably all of the (few) majority decisions she wrote within a few years, and because the Democratic party lacks the spine to even threaten court expansion, there’s almost nothing we can do to stop it.
The contention that it’s somehow sexist to criticize Ginsburg is ridiculous – pride comes before a fall, and Ginsburg’s hubris harmed this country than any of her opinions did to improve it.
I still remember in 2014 when she said “so tell me who the president could have nominated this spring that you would rather see on the court than me” – it still astounds me how someone can be so full of herself to even make such a statement. There were so many people I would have rather seen on the court than her for one simple reason: they weren’t 80+ year-olds who had suffered two bouts of cancer.
All I can say is that thank god Breyer learned and doesn’t have the overwhelming ego that Ginsburg did.
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Ginsburg couldn’t have known that within 5 years the GOP would become an extreme anti-democracy party.
I agree with him, especially on Ginsburg and to some folks who say that’s sexist, if her name had been Ralph Ginsburg and he was a two time cancer survivor at 81, I would have said the same thing.
As for Breyer, he should have stepped down during Obama as well and certainly should have done what he’s doing now last summer so it would be over and done with.
I’ll answer all the post from yesterday in this one reply;
I had never heard of Tejinder Singh before but he sems like a good name to add to the mix. He would certainly be a history making ick if nominated for the 4th circuit but I don’t think I would put him ahead of my personal favorite Ajmel Quereshi.
Tiffany Wright I have heard of & she would certainly be a good pick. I think Biden should add more law professor to the federal bench which is another reason why I am so high on John Rappaport for the 7th circuit.
Speaking of the 7th circuit, if Biden wants to put an AAPI judge on the court I think Michael S. Kang would be a great choice. I would put him ahead of Jennifer Nou in my opinion with his work on campaign finance, voting rights, redistricting & judicial elections.
As for Nina Perales on the 5th circuit, she checks all of the boxes for exceptions for putting an older judge on a circuit court. My only issue is, unlike Beth Robinson in Vermont, I think you could find other Latinas in Texas that are just as progressive, confirmable while still being a decade younger. I just don’t want to let Ted Cruz off the hook here. I want a young liberal that will make his head explode.
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