Tiffany Cartwright – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

The Western District of Washington is undergoing a transformation, with President Biden already having named three judges to the court and having the ability to fill the remaining four seats. One of his nominees is the 36 year old Tiffany Cartwright.

Background

Cartwright received a B.A. from Stanford University in 2007 and a J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2010. After graduating, Cartwright clerked for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Dana Fabe and for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining the Chicago office of Jenner & Block as an associate. Cartwright later shifted to MacDonald Hoague & Bayless and became a partner in 2018. She is still with the firm.

History of the Seat

Cartwright has been nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. This seat opened on January 1, 2020, when Judge Benjamin Settle moved to senior status. The Trump Administration did not name a candidate to fill this vacancy. President Biden nominated Cartwright on January 19, 2022.

Legal Experience

Cartwright has spent her career largely in private practice at the firms of Jenner & Block and MacDonald Hoague & Bayless. At the latter, Cartwright has handled a number of civil rights matters, including representing the family of Leonard Thomas, who was shot and killed by a police sniper who was responding to a domestic violence incident. See $15M Awarded to Family of Unarmed Black Man Killed by Sniper, A.P. State & Local, July 15, 2017. After a jury trial, Thomas’ family was awarded a $15 million judgment. See id. She also represented a man who was forcibly re-arrested and returned to prison after being mistakenly released early. See Gene Johnson, Prisoner Mistakenly Released Early Sues Over Re-Arrest, A.P. Int’l, Mar. 22, 2018. Additionally, Cartwright obtained a $500,000 settlement for a man who spent two years in prisoner for a homicide charge that he was acquitted on after officers allegedly hid favorable evidence. King County Pays $500,000 to Man Acquitted of Murder Charge, A.P. State & Local, Apr. 23, 2021.

In other matters, Cartwright convinced an appellate court that a trial court lacked the authority to freeze the credit union account of a defendant. See State v. Gutierrez Meza, 191 Wn. App. 849 (2015).

Writings

In 2013, Cartwright was one of four authors of a paper discussing the increasing trend for courts to reject corporate plea agreements. See Reid Schar, Robert Stauffer, Tiffany Cartwright, Eddie Jauregui, Court Rejects Corporate Plea Agreements for Failing to Sufficiently Protect the Public Interest, PracticeView Database, Aug. 21, 2013. The paper specifically references and discusses Judge William Young’s decision to reject a corporate plea agreement in U.S. v. Orthofix. In another co-authored paper, Cartwright discusses strategies for litigators to respond and adapt to juror questions during trials. See Andrew Vail, Tiffany Cartwright, Using Juror Questions During Trial to Your Advantage: Practice Tips for Illinois Supreme Court Rule 243, Illinois Bar Journal, Dec. 1, 2013.

Additionally, as a law clerk to Justice Fabe, Cartwright authored a paper discussing the increasing development of veterans’ treatment courts. Tiffany Cartwright, “To Care for Him Who Shall Have Borne the Battle”: The Recent Development of Veterans Treatment Courts in America, 22 Stan. L. & Pol’y Rev. 295 (2011). The article is generally complimentary of veterans court programs, noting that such programs work well to reduce recidivism, even if they are not widespread enough to fully serve the veteran population. See id. at 314-15.

Political Activity

Cartwright has a few political donations to her name, mostly to candidates for the Washington Supreme Court, although she twice donated to Biden in 2020.

Overall Assessment

At 36, Cartwright is the youngest nominee Biden has put forward for the federal bench and would be the second youngest federal judge in the country if confirmed. Her youth, combined with her background in civil rights, is likely to make Cartwright a controversial nominee. Nonetheless, if confirmed, Cartwright is set for a bright future, with a potential elevation to the Ninth Circuit and beyond.

135 Comments

  1. The youngest of president Biden’s picks is one of his best to date. Great job by the Washington state senators. I hope the SJC gives her & the other pending nominees a hearing next week but certainly before the Easter recess.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I couldn’t have said it better @Mitch. I think she will end up similar to KBJ, she will before the SJC multiple times in her career.

      On another note, I’m watching the American Bar Association testimony at day 4 of the KBJ hearing. First off, retired judge Ann Williams was a very good bi-partisan judge. I just wished she had retired either 4 years earlier or 4 years later instead of president Trump’s first year in office allowing him to fill her seat.

      Second, Joseph Drayton seems like he would be a good candidate for the federal bench himself. Just like professor Lisa Fairfax who introduced KBJ on day one, they both would be good examples of somebody I would support despite me wanting nominees in their 40’s & 30’s. Both of them seem to be born 1970 – 1971.

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      • @Dequan. It seems Joseph Drayton’s experience is mostly with IP litigation. Maybe he’d bee a good fit for the Federal Circuit (although I’m not tracking potential Federal Circuit judges). I’m beginning to think there may not be a new batch of nominees until KBJ is confirmed. If I am correct, with this profile of Cartwright, all announced district court nominees have received a profile on this site.

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      • Oh yes, I re-read what I wrote & see I forgot to include the courts I was talking about. But you are correct, Joseph Drayton for the Federal Circuit & I was talking about Lisa Fairfax for any of the Pennsylvania district court seats.

        I truly hope we get a new batch king before KBJ is confirmed. As long as we get new nominees before March 27th, we would still be on track to have the first nominations hearing on April 27th, the first Wednesday after the Easter recess.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Ethan unfortunately, I think you are right that we won’t get a new batch of nominees until KBJ is confirmed. There is no good reason for this delay, and it’s just another sign of the Biden Administration’s incompetence. I haven’t gone back and looked yet, but I would bet that the Trump White House did not sit on its hands during the Gorsuch and Kavanaugh nominations – and even if it did, there is no reason for Biden to be doing the same.

        Can anyone explain why this administration is so bad at its job? From mismanaging expectations on Build Back Better to letting the January 6th rioters off with a slap on the wrist to now messing up judicial nominees, is there anything it can do right?

        Also on another note, I remember folks had thought Jennifer Nou might be nominated for Diane Wood’s seat on CA7 because her Twitter was cleared. Looks like Ms. Nou has started tweeting again, which makes me think it won’t be her: https://twitter.com/jennifer_nou?lang=en.

        However, maybe that means the administration has either already picked their nominee or are close. Other than John Rappaport (who seems unlikely as a white man on the notoriously un-diverse 7th and who is also still tweeting), any rumors on who it might be?

        Liked by 3 people

      • Hmmmm… That’s interesting to see Jennifer Nou put her Twitter back into active status. John Rappaport is definitely who I want to see nominated to the Chicago 7th circuit seat. I know all but the one Biden nominee on that circuit is White, but they can increase diversity with the Indiana seat. I think Jennifer Soble is also a possibility for the Chicago seat too. What I guess is there’s a strong possibility that just like Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, it will probably be somebody that wasn’t on anybody’s short list.

        And as for the KBJ nomination holding up nominees & us not seeing another batch until she is confirmed, I believe we will see another batch of nominees before then. I think in the end, Biden will outpace Trump’s 3 circuit court & 5 district court nominees between the SCOTUS vacancy was announced & confirmed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan yes I agree that Rappaport would be great but seems unlikely. As for the diversity point, I’m pretty sure it’s easier to find a personally and professionally candidate with the right qualifications in Illinois/Chicago than it is in Indiana.

        If anything, I would expect the Indiana candidate to be white or male (or both) just because there are fewer options who fit the profile Biden has been seeking. Zach Myers is one, but has any administration nominated one of its just-confirmed US Attorneys to a judgeship so quickly? It seems unlikely (though I will admit I have not looked into the data).

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      • -For the Illinois Seventh Circuit seat, I think there are lots of possibilities. Arianna Freeman was nominated for the Third Circuit after initially applying for a district court judgeship. Of the 7 nominees recommended by Durbin and Duckworth for NDIL, all of them (except for Nicholas Gowen) seem qualified for the 7th Circuit. Nancy Maldonado is the only one that would be a diversity first for the court and I certainly hope Jeffrey Cummings isn’t chosen, as he is way too old.
        https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/news/press-releases/in-letter-to-president-biden-duckworth-durbin-announce-candidates-for-federal-district-court-in-the-northern-district-of-illinois-

        -Other possibilities include Illinois Deputy Solicitor General Sarah Hunger (1986), current Illinois Solicitor General Jane Notz (1967), former Illinois Solicitors General David Franklin (1968), Michael Scodro (1970), and Carolyn Shapiro (1964), Obama-appointed NDIL Judges Edmond Chang (1970), Manish Shah (1972), Sara Ellis (1969), John Z. Lee (1968), and Andrea Wood (1973), and Adjunct Northwestern Law Professor Renai Rodney (1977). Many of them are not progressive and I am by no means hoping for them, but I know they are possibilities.

        -For the Indiana Seventh Circuit seat, I think Magistrate Judges Doris Pryor (1976) and Mario Garcia (1973) are possibilities and they would both bring a diversity element.

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    • @Gavi Thank you – I’m glad I’m not the only one whose frustration with this administration increases by the day. As much as I hated the Trump Administration, I recognized how effective they were about at least trying to accomplish their policy goals (at least with regards to immigration, which I am most familiar with). I would imagine that the rabid loyalty Trump inspires among the White supremacist crowd is at least partly because he attempted to do the things they elected him to do. Meanwhile, Biden hasn’t shown the spine to do anything beyond funding a new bridge here or a road repair there.

      @Rick below has it completely right that this administration seems to have the attention span of a goldfish and can’t do more than one thing at once. Right now the White House is not doing anything at all, since it’s already nominated KBJ.

      At this point, I can’t even fault Democratic voters for low enthusiasm for the midterms, not when a Democratic trifecta can’t do the bare minimum of even nominating judges in Blue states.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I have a question about the list that Ethan posted. Who among them is the best regarded in the legal community? Which one would be considered a “blue ribbon” nominee? Because Diane Wood was such a fine and intelligent judge, she shouldn’t be replaced with just any progressive. Wood should have been appointed to the Supreme Court by Obama.

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      • I would say John Rappaport. While I know he wouldn’t add diversity to a circuit court that desperately needs it, he would be the perfect replacement for Wood. He has excelled in the legal field in two states, first in California & now Illinois. I’m not confident he will be the nominee but if I had any say so to give advice he would be my first pick.

        They should use the Indians seat to add diversity, particularly since Obama’s pick of never got a hearing. Justice Shelby would have been the second black woman on that court. That seat being left open led to Trump appointing Amy Comey Barrett & the rest is history.

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  2. The reality is a Supreme Court nominee DOES jam things up in regards to other nominees(even under Trump and George W it slowed things down) so while I get the frustration, the bashing of Biden and Democrats does get old, at least for me.
    If nothing else, the attitude some folks here and elsewhere are showing is why Republicans have control of so many courts to start with.
    Their voters show up to vote rain or shine, ours don’t because our base as a whole doesn’t care about the courts the way Republicans do.
    Maybe this year will be the one that reality changes, too bad so much damage will be done until then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, but even when I’m mad at Democrats, I still vote for all Democratic candiates in every election, incl the off year ones when all that’s on the ballot are sheriffs, school board members, and judge retentions….

      Even if Biden would have nominated Childs to the SCOTUS, who was probably the worst possible pick, I would vote straight Democratic ticket in Nov..

      So while I may get frustrated at the sometimes slow pace of judicial nominations, I will continue to donate to and vote for Democratic candiates in every election………The alternative is too frightening

      Liked by 2 people

      • Also agree with Rick – as frustrated as I am, we don’t have any choice but the Dems. I’ll vote for the most incompetent Democrat over an evil Republican, but I will still call out Dems for not doing their jobs when they actually have the power to do things. Is it that hard to get a Democrat who can handle more than one thing at once though?

        I think more Democratic voters are coming to realize how important the courts are: https://www.vox.com/2020/9/1/21408512/poll-supreme-court-democrats-republicans-gap-merrick-garland. That number will probably go up if SCOTUS strikes down Roe in Dobbs. However, midterms are almost always a swing against the President’s party because the other side is typically more enthusiastic about voting, and the Republicans’ base (older, white, religious) tend to vote more than young people and people of color in midterms as it is.

        All of this combined is why I think the Biden administration needs to take some bigger steps to show the Democratic base it is at least trying to make their lives better. We as Democrats can’t blame voters for not turning out if we don’t give them anything to turn out for.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. @Ethan

    I agree with much of your list. For Illinois, I would have to remove Jane Notz (1967), David Franklin (1968), Michael Scodro (1970), Carolyn Shapiro (1964), Sara Ellis (1969) & John Z. Lee (1968) due to their ages. I would remove Manish Shah (1972) because even though he was an Obama appointee to the district court, I believe he was recommended by Republican senator Kirk. Andrea Wood (1973) was my first pick for the vacancy that was filled last year. Since she wasn’t picked then, I doubt she will be picked now.

    Along with Rappaport, Nou & Jennifer Noble that I mentioned above I think Renai Rodney would be a good possibility. And I completely agree with you we could have a repeat of Arianna J. Freeman & have one of the district court recommendations could end up with the circuit court seat with Nancy Maldonado being at the top of the list, albeit Karen Sheley would be at the top of my list.

    For the Indiana Seventh Circuit seat, I would put Jessica Eaglin at the top of my list but if one or both of the Indiana senators were ok with Zachary A. Myers, I would go with him. I would be ok with the two names you mentioned as well, Doris Pryor (1976) and Mario Garcia (1973).

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      • Ah gotcha. Understood. If we have to wait 64 days & counting for a batch of judicial nominees (No I’m not counting Stephanie Davis as a batch), we better get something better then somebody born in the 1960’s or a Republican recommended nominees… Lol

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      • While I agree in MOST jobs age doesn’t matter & the most qualified person should get the job, I just can’t say that about federal judges. They are appointed for life. Republicans are putting judges in their 40’s & in some cases 30’s on the bench. Democrats traditionally put judges in their 50’s & even 60’s on the bench.

        Republicans are winning when it comes to the bench. There’s simply no other way to put it. While 4 years of Biden alone probably won’t change that, we need to start somewhere. There are actually enough vacancies that if all filled, Biden could put more then half of the federal judges on the bench in 2 years that Trump did in his 4 years. If he prioritized young, progressive judges, we actually could catch up if the Democrats somehow hold the senate in the midterms.

        Republicans think long term. They don’t care about being nice & saying it’s ok to appoint older judges. They just play to win. I’m tired of losing. If I was able to advise The White House I would tell them if the file for any recommendations for district court judges in a blue state or for any circuit court nominees in any state comes across their desk the first thing you do is look at the birth year. If the year is from the 1960’s or 1950’s throw the file in the trash. If it’s 1970 – 1975 put the file to the side & only pick it up if you don’t have a solid nominee recommended born in 1975 or later.

        Sorry but not sorry. Our democracy is on the line. This is not a time to be nice, we need to be realistic. If your older you can be a state court judge or justice or find another position in the administration that’s not lifetime such as US attorney.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. @Mitch I hear you, but I absolutely agree with @Dequan and others. A LIFETIME (not pre-retirement) appointment is not where you want to nominate someone who’s closer to social security than they are to being out of law school

    Let me copy and paste this from another post:
    Just days apart, the governors of Georgia and California made nominations to their state’s Supreme Courts. One nominee was a 30-something year old. The other is a 50 year old.
    Guess who nominated whom?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Again, just because they are lifetime appointments doesn’t mean that young candidates should be selected simply because of their age. The importance of the job means that the best and most qualified candidates should be nominated, whether they are 30 or 65 years old. And no, I don’t agree with several of the young Republican picks, but it is still important to leave politics into judicial nominations as much as possible.

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      • @Frank

        The problem with that is only one side works that way. We can put 50 & 60 year olds on the federal judiciary all we want. As soon as the Republicans are back in power guess what… They will still put 30 & 40 year olds on the bench. It’s just a reality.

        And I also think we are assuming older means better. I think some of the better nominees Biden has put forward have been the younger ones. I think it’s very possible to find great nominees that are also in their 40’s or 30’s. It’s not an either, or.

        But youth should be prioritized while simultaneously not sacrificing qualifications. The DC circuit is a perfect example. President Obama put 4 judges on the DC circuit & the youngest one is 55 years old. Now President Biden’s nominee judge Childs is a year older then that. None of them are viable SCOTUS candidates in a second Biden or future Democrat president’s term. Meanwhile President Trump’s youngest nominee to the same court considered the second highest court in the country is 38 years old. He will be a viable candidate for the next Republican president & probably a future Republican after that. This is why I say Republicans think long term.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Again, just like with having the first black female justice, we should all assume that the nominee is qualified. That’s really the base. We are not going to be like the right wingers who get held up about the race/age by thinking that it’s at the expense of qualification.

        And the whole politics out of judicial nominations is such a naïve myth that it’s a wonder it’s still walking around like a zombie, refusing to die. What in the world can the president (a party-line elected official) and senators (all party-line POLITICIANS) do that’s not politics? By your logic, it shouldn’t matter whether Trump or Biden is making the nomination.

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  5. According to this tweet, 10 hearing slots til Sept, 20 circuit vacancies…….I think it would be better to have hearings with ONLY circuit court nominees until all filled…..Then focus on District court seats.

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    • The Democrats could change that schedule by doing exactly what Republicans did during the Trump administration.
      The SJC could hold a nominations hearing during a recess week. Also Schumer could hold votes on Friday’s or synthetic ru very least have full days on Monday’s & Thursday’s if Republicans continue to give consent or voice votes for normal nominations that get that such as local DC judges, ambassadors, etc.

      Now will they do any of that? Probably not. So I’m that case the schedule mentioned above would be correct. And I would say it will probably be even worse knowing how many weeks the SJC skips without holding a nominations hearing combined with how many Thursday’s Schumer could vote for cloture on one or two circuit court nominees so they would be set up for a confirmation vote in a Monday. It’s truly sad how many vacancies will be left open after the midterms that didn’t have to be.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Having open seats after the midterm is no big deal if Democrats maintain control of the senate……But if it’s McConnell. only red state District Court seats would get filled, much like the 2015-16 time frame in Obama’s last 2 years….Only 2 Circuit court confirmations occurred in Obama’s last 2 years – a 3rd Circuit and the Federal Circuit……McConnell basically made Obama a 6 year president…

        There are some really awful potential senate GOP candiates that could emerge, and Democrats have 2 very good candiates in PA, and Ron Johnson (R-WI) has fallen so far off deep end that I truly think Democrats can keep senate this fall..

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      • @Rick the problem is that Democrats can’t be operating under the assumption that they will maintain control of the Senate. I wish I could be as optimistic as you, but barring a dramatic turnaround in the next 6 months, there’s almost no chance of Dems keeping even a 50-50 Senate.

        For example, there are four states where Democratic senators won by less than 3% in their last election: Arizona (Kelly), Georgia (Warnock), New Hampshire (Hassan), and Nevada (Cortez Masto). In all of those states except New Hampshire, Biden also won by less than 3%.

        Now look at 2021 election results: Republicans won the 2021 Virginia governor’s race by ~2% (Biden won VA in 2020 by ~10%) and lost the New Jersey governor’s race by ~3% (Biden won NJ in 2020 by 16%). That’s about a swing of 12-13% from Democrats to Republicans in both states, and Biden is as unpopular now as he was in November – if not more so.

        Even if we assume that governors’ races are different and the Democrats will do better in 2022 than in 2021, that’s hardly reassuring. If the swing from Democrats to Republicans is half of what it was in 2021 (so 6% instead of 12%), then AZ, GA, and NV will almost certainly elect Republicans to the Senate, and NH probably will as well. While a 6% swing in New Hampshire based on Biden’s 2020 result in the state might mean that Democrats have a chance, I would be doubtful that Biden’s win is the right metric since Republicans won big downballot in NH in 2020.

        I’m not trying to be discouraging, but just realistic about the fact that we most likely have 6 months left before Dems lose the Senate for probably a generation (in 2024, Manchin is up in WV, Brown is up in OH, and Tester is up in MT – all solid Republican states). We need to make the most of the 6 months we have, while also starting to campaign for these Senate races as of yesterday (I personally think the House is a lost cause and not even worth the investment at this point, so I’m just donating to/volunteering for Senate candidates).

        *That being said, I’m encouraged by some surprises – mostly Chris Sununu sitting out the NH race and Doug Ducey doing the same (for now) in AZ. However, I think Ron Johnson is still more likely than not to will in WI (remember, this is the state that elected and reelected Scott Walker), and I do think Herschel Walker will be a big problem for Raphael Warnock in GA (he will probably get more Black votes, especially from Black men). This means that there is no reason to get complacent or miss out on the huge headwinds facing Dems this year. Unless Biden, Schumer, and Pelosi get it together (not holding my breath for that), this November will be worse than 2010.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Rick

        I think there is a decent chance that the Democrats maintain control of the Senate even with a 2% GOP advantage in the generic ballot for the reasons you suggest; the candidate quality difference is massive. But if the GOP generic ballot advantage is 4+% then there is zero chance of holding the Democrats holding Senate. Senators Warnock, Kelly, and Cortez Masto would likely lose even to their weaker opponents. And the GOP would hold Penn and Wisconsin regardless of candidates. (I suspect that Mehmet Oz would have substantial base problems and possibly could lose even in those circumstances. I also don’t expect him as the nominee).

        I don’t give a care about Biden’s approval rating frankly. Most of his drop is center-left and strong left disapproval. Personally I go between back and forth somewhat disapprove and strongly disapprove on Biden, but there is no way I’d vote GOP. But the generic ballot does matter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @John

        Your post sounds like a cut and paste from Charcuterie or deadpan from Daily Kos Elections (two users who make that site completely unreadable and should have been banned a long time ago as the trolls they are)

        It’s so ass backwards and full of bogus assumptions that I’m not going to waste my time responding to it.

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  6. I checked out the rumor mill online, including the right-leaning sources. Some conservatives feared that Kentaji Brown Jackson was the second coming of Maxine Waters, but Judge Jackson wasn’t threatening. Most of them concluded that she did what she needed to do in the confirmation hearing and will likely be confirmed. She wasn’t stellar, they insist, but they concede that she came off as competent and mainstream, like Amy Coney Barrett before her. One opposing magazine stated that she seemed like the kind of working mother one could encounter at a PTA meeting and exchange pleasantries with.

    We know what’ll happen. There will be a tie vote in committee, than the nomination will be discharged, and Judge Jackson will be confirmed on a mostly party-line vote.

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    • Senator Manchin stated yes a yes vote so she’s good so long as nothing happens to change the composition of the senate of course. Them having the initial executive calendar vote this Monday so she can be held over to the following Monday is GREAT news. She will be able to be confirmed before the Easter recess for sure now barring no more Covid or unexpected sickness taking any Dems out.

      I’m sticking with my original opinion. She will get at least one Republican vote in the SJC & at least 3 overall.

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  7. I agree we need nominees ASAP (we’re still not likely to be able to fill all open seats) but on the second point John Doe Judges made, if someone hasn’t taken senior status by now, I don’t see them doing so a few months from now.
    The open Circuit Court vacancies we have now are all we’ll get sans someone passing away.

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    • Today is one month from the first Wednesday after the Easter recess which is likely to have a nominations hearing. I sure hope the current remaining nominees that have yet to have a hearing will have one the week before the Easter recess. That will free up nominees from a new batch to have a hearing on April 27th.

      As for any vacancies that occur post Easter, Republicans will likely be able to run out the clock in red or purple states for any circuit court seat. Even without blue slips in play, republicans can still request to have one on one meetings with potential nominees & The White House, slowing down the process.

      As for blue states, Stephanie Davis needs to be the model. It was 52 days from her initial contact from The White House & the day she was nominated (Link below). At this point there should be at least one (In my book at least two or three) possible nominees for every blue state circuit court seat that has a judge eligible for retirement. If so, the 52-day model needs to be the standard for the rest of the year.

      After the Democrats slow pace that we have discussed in detail, what actually worries me more is as the midterms get closer, Republicans may start to play hard ball. They may implore tactics such as boycotting committee votes. We still have not gotten a concrete answer as to what the Democrats counter measure are if they do such.

      (https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Davis%20SJQ%20Public.pdf)

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      • Dequan I 100% agree – even if they have to just elevate district court judges (many of whom don’t have super progressive backgrounds because Obama did a horrible job with judicial vacancies), the priority should be to fill the seats. I’ve heard that it takes less time to elevate a district court judge than to vet an entirely new nominee – it makes sense to me since a district court judge would have already been vetted before, and I bet that’s why they were so quick with the Davis nomination. Anyone know for a fact if that is true?

        Also, if we’re going to admit that not all the circuit seats will be filled, I would prioritize the following circuits:

        1. 2nd Circuit (currently 7 conservatives – 6 liberals, but filling both the CT seats ensures a liberal majority. This is because Cabranes was notoriously conservative despite being a Democrat, so replacing him with even a moderate liberal judge would help tremendously)
        2. 3rd Circuit (currently 8R – 6D, but we can flip it to 7R – 7D if we fill Brooks’ seat)
        3. 10th Circuit (currently 6D – 5R. The KS seat has been open for over a year, and filling it creates a 7-seat D majority. Obama appointed some really moderate judges to this court so the 10th is not as progressive as you would think given the partisan composition. All the more reason to fill this seat ASAP and get Veronica Rossman some backup)
        4. 9th Circuit (currently 16D – 13R, and filling McKeown and Hurwitz’s seats would solidify the Dem majority here. Whatever infighting CA and WA are going to have needs to be settled, or this court could flip Republican in the next administration because so few of the Clinton judges here have taken senior status).
        5. 4th Circuit (currently 9D – 6R, and Motz’s seat in MD should be easy to fill since there are 2 Dem Senators. Ideally Biden gets Graham’s cooperation to fill Floyd’s seat in SC as well).

        The other circuits have substantial Republican (5th, 6th, 7th) or Democratic (1st) majorities that won’t change, though there’s no reason that Biden should have problems filling the Blue state seats in those circuits (IL on the 7th, MA/RI/NH on the 1st) ASAP.

        Also, does anyone know what is the rationale behind slowing down other judicial nominations while a Supreme Court nomination is pending? They’ve already picked KBJ and sent her to the Senate, so I don’t know why they feel a need to wait?

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      • @John

        Yea a sitting district court judge should be easier to vet since they are a sitting federal judge. But that brings another problem as now you hjave to back fill their district court seat which will eat up a SJC slot plus floor time for cloture & confirmation.

        It truly boggles my mind why lower court nominations have stopped for the SCOTUS nomination. The only acceptable answer will be if this week we get a batch, a LARGE batch. I mean at the very least a handful for the circuit court & double digits for the district courts. Anything less then that would mean an absolute drop of the ball to be able to walk & chew gum at the same time.

        It blows my mind that their was a point in the Trump 4 years that every circuit court seat was filled knowing the number of vacancies they inherited. Biden has done a good job but unfortunately good isn’t enough. He really needs to be great or super between April to July in his nominations. With the slow pace of Democrats in the SJC & senate floor, inability to work past Thursday’s 5pm & expected ramping up of Republican obstruction as the midterms grow closer, I see no circuit court nominee nominated past July getting confirmed this year. So the next four months will be vital.

        Liked by 1 person

      • a lot of trump’s circuit court success was due to having 4 years of senate control instead of 2. By the end of trump’s 3rd year, basically every circuit court seat was filled. with 4 years of senate control you can afford to pick nominees that ultimately get rejected and still have time to pick someone else for the seat

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      • @Dequan I’d be more OK leaving a district court seat unfilled than a circuit seat unfilled though – especially if it’s a seat with 2 D senators, keeping the Blue slip in place would mean the Senators could stonewall any Republican nominees. The Washington Senators did that with Trump, which is why Biden has the chance to fill all 7 seats on that bench and can nominate great folks like Ms. Cartwright.

        Of course, the Republicans could get rid of blue slips, but if they did not do that under Trump, I wonder if they would bother. After all, district court judges don’t set precedent, and I think the Republicans would not want the shoe being on the other foot (the Tennessee senators already had to deal with that with Mathis).

        Basically if the choice is leave a circuit court seat open or elevate a district judge and leave the district court seat open, I would elevate every time.

        I am on the exact same page with the frustrations at the pace though. It’s like the Democrats learned nothing from the last four years or they forgot it all (which is possible – not to be ageist, but Biden is like 70 million years old…)

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan, Unfortunately, I think that you/we will be disappointed this week by not getting any nominees, even a small batch.

        NOT A DEFENSE: the same people who process the SCOTUS nomination also work on lower court noms. It appears that they can’t manage both at once. Dequan, I think you were impressed with the 52 days it took to name another nominee. I’ll take it, but I am really disappointed in Remus, only for the simple fact of the expectation she herself set. I will never stop talking about that 45-day window she gave Dem senators to recommend nominees once there’s a vacancy. I really do not think that she’s enforcing it. And if senators are indeed recommending names within 45 days, then the WH really is worse than it appears.

        Take, for instance, this nomination. Sure, it’s probably one of the best of Biden to date. But reconcile its lateness with this:

        [Remus] also asked that senators send in three names for each CURRENT district court vacancy by Jan. 19, the day before the inauguration. — https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/biden-seeks-democratic-senator-input-to-move-judges-quickly

        In actuality, it took a full year (Jan 19, 2022) to nominate Cartwright — from a state with 2 Dems.

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      • @John I can’t figure out how to reply to you directly, but I agree with most of your rankings in terms of which circuits to prioritize. The only things to change:

        The Ninth Circuit seats should be the top priority. If Biden leaves both of them unfilled for the next Republican administration, the Ninth would flip and become 15 Republicans to 14 Democrats. En banc calls are also very common in the Ninth, so a majority is important here – and every Democratic appointee is valuable because only 10 randomly selected judges (+ the Chief) sit on an en banc panel in the Ninth. In contrast, the Second Circuit rarely ever goes en banc.

        The First Circuit’s seats should also be prioritized before the Tenth and Fourth. If a Republican were to fill all three vacancies on the First, it would create a 3 Democratic to 3 Republican tie on the First (which right now only has 1 Republican, Howard, who is center-right but not crazy). These are all states with 2 Democratic senators, so this should be low-hanging fruit. Biden also needs to pick better judges – for example, Gustavo Gelpi has been more conservative than his predecessor on criminal/immigration issues, which is the opposite of what should be happening.

        *To be fair, the fact that SCOTUS is so far to the right means even a solid Democratic majority on any court of appeals has limited influence. Nevertheless, the vast majority of cases are decided by the courts of appeals, so we need to do everything we can to prevent them from shifting further to the right.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If the 9th’s seats are not filled, we have to double cross our fingers that McKeown and/or Hurwitz rescind their senior status intentions before the next GOP presidential administration. I wish that the order of the judges going senior was different because I find Berzon, Fletcher, and Paez (who all have went senior after their successors were confirmed) much more likely to rescind senior status upon a new GOP administration than McKeown or Hurwitz, both of whom are fairly moderate.

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    • Also consider judges that will become eligible to go senior might go senior as soon as they can regardless of who’s in power. Luckily, some of the Democratic appointees who are becoming eligible to go senior this year are waiting out until their successors are confirmed.

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  8. Here’s the report card for the Three Horsemen of Judicial Nomination/Confirmation:

    Biden: C
    Durbin: C-
    Schumer: B-

    SCHUMER gets the best grade for the fact that he could knock out a bunch nominations in a week. Also, he’s somewhat constrained by the nature of the 50-50 senate.

    DURBIN earns his grade for failing to live up to the standards the Republicans set (hearings with only 3 noms, no circuit court nom; not putting noms on schedule to be held over; not scheduling hearings, including on recess days).

    But for the quality of most of his nominees, BIDEN would be near failing. Durbin can’t have hearings for unnamed nominees. Biden continues to lack urgency. The judiciary is clearly not a priority for him. He’s doing the bare minimum to deter total outrage.

    What are your grades for them?

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    • My grades & explanation for each would be as followed;

      Biden – “B-” I can’t go as low as a C because even though he has slowed his pace of nominations this year, last year he was nominating at a record clip. And his nominees have been by far the most diverse (Both ethnically & professionally) of any Democrat since Carter & probably even eclipse him. Also he has put some solid rock starts on the bench that will be on the SCOTUS list of possibilities for years to come.

      Unfortunately I can not give him an A either. The New Jersey nominees have had too many unacceptbale nominees as have California & a few others. And there have been a number of nominees that simply are too old. The worse of the worse are of course Christine O’Hearn, J. Childs (If she switched to the DC circuit to the 4th circuitI would consider elevating Biden from a B- to a B) & Jennifer Rearden. If we get another batch SOON & it’s more tehn a handful circuit court & more then a dozen district court nominees, I would also probably upgrade him to a B. But I can’t justify a B with only 2 nominees since January 19th.

      Durbin – “B-” In Durbin’s case, I can’t go as low as a C because he has gotten all but 7 nominees though a hearing. Also him expediting KBJ to the executive calender this Monday instead of wating a week until next Thursday probably ensures she will be confirmed before the Easter recess.

      But at teh same time there have been far too many hearings in which Durbin has had only 3 or 4 nominees & some with no circit court nominees. Also he has not put nominees that have had a hearing on the executive alender teh following week to be held over far too often. So for that I can’t give him an A.

      Schumer – “B+” Schumer frustrates me when he doesn’t vote for cloture each & every Thursday on pending circuit court nominees so they can be confirmed the following Monday. Also he is sticking to a Monday to Thursday schedule instead of doing what I suggest & hold all discharge all commitee tie votes on Friday’s only.

      But no matter what Schumer has the easiest job because as we saw last week, he could clear out multiple nominees in the span of a week.

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    • Biden: C-. A lot of very good nominations marred deeply by the horrible selections of J. Michelle Childs, and not saying no to garbage F candidates like O’Hearn, Rearden, Huie, Rodriguez, etc. None of these people should be judges.
      Also really slow in getting people nominated. I don’t care that the pace is faster than previous presidents, it should have been a lot better than this.

      Durbin: C+. Good on holding firm on blue slips. Too slow on getting nominations processed, but I blame Dianne Feinstein’s refusal to resign more for that than Durbin.

      Schumer: C. Wasted too much time allowing the Senate to take vacations rather than voting on nominations. Again, I’m not sure that Schumer is entirely to blame here.

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  9. The good news from today’s SJC executive calendar vote that held over KBJ & the rest of the panel for a week is Durbin announced next week’s vote will occur at 10am. That means Schumer should be able to file cloture on KBJ (And hopefully some or all of the rest of the panel) Monday night.

    It just upsets me to see this kind of speed for the SCOTUS nominee knowing how slow Durbin works on most other nominees. I wish this is the standard going forward but I highly doubt it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Schumer filed cloture on several executive nominees and a discharge motion on someone who is not a judicial nominee…

        I’m starting to wonder if he has the votes for Mathis and Ho, I simply don’t understand why he won’t confirm the judicial nominees first then the executive ones……It’s one thing if the executive nominee is the AG, Sec of state, but the cloture motions today were not as pivotal as lifetime court seats

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      • Kennedy voted for Mathis in the committee. Also I think Manchin would have come out already against Ho if he told Schumer he would t support him. Either way there were a few Republicans out tonight so even without Manchin he could have discharged Ho & voted for cloture if Mathis. I think we just need to come to the realization that Schumer is no McConnell.

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  10. I couldn’t find the tweet but it was from a judicial expert that stated one of the biggest reasons Breyer should have retired last year is because SCOTUS nominees DO slow everything else down, which was the case even during the Trump and W years.
    He wasn’t wrong sad to say.

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  11. I have feeling Freeman will tie 11-11 in SJC next Mon…..So that would be 6 discharge votes needed…..

    If KBJ ties 11-11, i think she won’t need a discharge vote, it will go right to floor……Bork FAILED in committee, as Democrats controlled senate but his nomination went to floor where it failed 42-58..

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    • Rick, you can’t just look at historical practices. A KBJ SJC tie will absolutely need a discharge vote. Please look at the organizing rules of the senate. The 50-50 senate is operating under different rules. Of course, a 51-majority could nuke those rules but that won’t happen with Machin around.
      I am totally fine (and absolutely expect) a tie vote for KBJ.

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    • Here’s the germane subsections and paragraphs of the 4-page resolution:

      If a committee has not reported out a measure or matter because of a tie vote, then—
      (A) the Chairman of the committee shall transmit a notice of a tie vote to the Secretary of the Senate and such notice shall be printed in the Record; and
      (B) after such notice of a tie vote has been transmitted, the Majority Leader or the Minority Leader may, only after consultation with the Chairman and Ranking Member of the committee, make a motion to discharge such measure or matter, and time for debate on such motion shall be limited to 4 hours, to be equally divided between the two Leaders or their designees, with no other motions, points of order, or amendments in order: Provided, That following the use or yielding back of time, the Senate vote on the motion to discharge, without any intervening action, motion, or debate, and if agreed to, the measure or matter be placed immediately on the appropriate Calendar.

      Click to access BILLS-117sres27ats.pdf

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    • For one, the White House staff that is focused on judicial nominees is focused on the supreme court seat as opposed to vetting & interviewing candidates for lower courts. That includes helping prepare KBJ for her senate confirmation hearing, preparing all the papers & records that need to be handed over to the SJC, responding to questions or requests from individual senators, preparing allies with talking points to push in support of the nominee, and counter GOP attacks. Now, much of the work is likely done especially since no fires erupted at the hearing so im assuming staff is now back to regular work on preparing lower court nominations but there was weeks of focus on KBJ & before that several weeks of focus on assembling a shortlist, vetting candidates, interviewing candidates, engaging with outside allies , etc. after Justice Breyer sent the White House his letter announcing his retirement & all of their attention went to the obvious priority of getting a nominee that could be confirmed.

      I imagine staff is now back to the task of preparing lower court nominees but there was weeks of overwhelming focus on the supreme court that delayed any work on preparing nominees for lower court announcements.

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      • Trust me I get it, a SCOTUS nomination is the ultimate prize & takes the overwhelming majority of focus. I just can’t explain completely taking the eye off the ball from other nominees. There’s 7 days in a week so I find it impossible for a White House that has anywhere near the passion as most of the people on this blog for judicial nominees to not be able to get at least one small batch of nominees announced in the past 73 days.

        And I absolutely see no excuse why the SJC couldn’t have held a hearing for the Nancy Abudu & J. Childs group in that amount of time. Hell even if they held it this week or next week that would have been after the SCOTUS hearings but before the Easter recess.

        I am a huge Joe Biden supporter & have voted for him every time his name has been on a ballot in front of me (4 for 4) but his inability to be able to walk & chew gum at the same time when it comes to this process will be one of the most irreversible mistakes of his first two years. Sadly if the Democrats don’t hold on to the senate that will lead to multiple seats going unfilled as a result.

        And as for Schumer, let’s hope he confirms Andre Mathis this week. I wouldn’t bet two nickels on it though. If not, at the very least please vote for cloture on him & other nominees before the Easter recess so that they are teed up for a vote on the Monday they return. This shouldn’t be this hard. Mitch McConnell must be sipping on some Thunderbird laughing his ass off somewhere in Kentucky knowing the Dems are obstructing themselves about as good as he ever could…smh

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  12. Sidney Thomas on the 9th just announced that he will take senior status upon confirmation of a successor: https://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/ce9/2022/Thomas_Sidney_SeniorStatus.pdf.

    To be honest, I don’t know why he waited until now instead of announcing when his term as Chief ended back in December. Given Biden’s ineptitude in terms of nominating candidates these days and the fact that Montana has one R senator, I’m very pessimistic about this seat actually getting filled.

    I would hope that some of these judges will reverse their decision to take senior status in the fall after the Dems lose the Senate, but I doubt it because Democratic appointees try to seem non-political (unlike the Federalist Society hacks nominated by Republicans these days). Dems should definitely pressure these judges to do so if Biden’s incompetence continues and some seats remain unfilled – if Robert King can change his mind because he didn’t get to dictate his successor, then other judges can do it for the good of the country.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Good news. I think Anthony Johnstone (1973) is the most likely nominee. Current Law Professor, former Thomas clerk, member of the American Constitution Society, and former State Solicitor of Montana. While he is qualified, I doubt Raph Graybill (1989) will be nominated. Though he is a former Rhodes Scholar, he’s 2 years younger than Trump’s youngest district court nominee. He also clerked for Thomas. Assistant US Attorney Randy Tanner (1979) is yet another Thomas clerk who will likely be in the mix.

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    • While I’m happy judge Thomas decided to take senior status, I too wonder why he didn’t announce when he stepped down from chief judge. With the well documented slow pace from Biden & the Dems, I’m not confident this seat will get filled before the midterms.

      I too think Anthony Johnstone is a strong contender. I know Randy Tanner works in the US attorney’s office & cleared for judge Thomas so that is another possibility. I honestly don’t have a deep knowledge of the Montana possibilities otherwise.

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      • Gould and Rawlinson are far less liberal than any of the other Clinton appointees who had not yet taken senior status at the beginning of Biden’s presidency. So he probably has less of an urge to make sure his successor is a Democratic appointee. He may want to keep the seat until he dies or is unable to work.

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  13. A refresher of what happened when Brett Kavanaugh was the nominee.
    While a couple of folks did get nominated, as they have with KBJ, nominations of lower courts came to a halt for the most part so it’s not just Biden where this is a pattern.
    I get the anger and frustration that we haven’t seen new names but it’s not unusual and I do think some of the attacks on Biden are over the line.
    As I said before, I saw a tweet thread talking about this and the person IMO was dead on in saying Breyer should have done this last year because the hearings for his replacement would bring nominations of other judges to a halt.
    If anyone should be called out, it’s him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Zack look at that tweet though – it says that Trump nominated 2 circuit judges after he nominated Kavanaugh to SCOTUS. How many circuit judges has Biden nominated after announcing the KBJ nomination? 0. Not only that, he hasn’t nominated any district court judges either.

      I’d be less harsh in my critique if Biden had kept up with Trump’s pace and just nominated 1 or 2 circuit judges (or any judges honestly), but that hasn’t been the case. Trump also had the luxury of knowing that the Republicans were more likely than not going to keep the Senate in 2018, and Dems don’t have that luxury this year. Keeping all of this in mind, they should be keeping the Republican pace (if not moving even faster), not falling behind.

      To consider the bigger picture, it’s not like the administration had other issues that are consuming all of its time. His legislative agenda is dead (Manchin made some sympathetic noises recently, but I don’t trust that man as far as I can throw him). As for the Ukraine crisis, the foreign policy and judicial nomination teams are entirely different (or at least they should be), and there’s no good reason for that to hold up nominations – it’s not like the US is going to war or even doing that much to help Ukraine in the first place.

      So while I appreciate your defense of Biden and the administration, but the sad truth is that they have done nothing to earn it. Every single criticism on this board is more than justified, and there’s no “line” to cross when the people in charge can’t even do the bare minimum involved in their jobs properly.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I think too many people here are being too hard on Joe Biden. What’s the point of sending nominations to judiciary committee now when they can’t act on them? The committee will vote on KBJ and there will be debate by the full senate. After the vote, the senate will be in recess.

    You can’t do recess appointments anymore since the Senate will be in session pro forma. I’m sure that while the Senate is on recess, the White House will be processing more nominees.

    We also should not be comparing Republicans to Democrats as it relates to judicial nominations process. Yes, the Republicans are better at advancing nominees but these are ideologues selected by the Federalist Society. There were several nominees that the ABA deemed unqualified. We saw a nominee to a trial court in DC who hadn’t tried a case

    The Biden Administration has been doing the work and finding it’s own nominees. These aren’t retreads from Obama Administration. I don’t care what anyone says I am satisfied with the first batch of appointees to the 9th Circuit.

    We have a 50-50 Senate which is hard for Democrats because they like to legislate. When was the last time Republicans passed anything that was useful to anyone on here?

    Can we get Judge Jackson on the Supreme Court first and see what happens after the Easter recess?

    Liked by 2 people

      • I was getting ready to give a similar answer so I will add on to the other points I was going to make…

        The senate being 50/50 is irrelevant when we are discussing just getting Biden to send nominations to the senate. There could be a 70/30 senate, it doesn’t matter if they have no nominees to vote on.

        Yes it’s true Trump nominated many ABA unqualified nominees (10 in all I believe) but even if you subtract 10, there are still PLENTY of vacancies that The White House has had for over 3 months. Even subtracting district court seats in red or purple states you still have scores of 3 month plus vacancies. We are at the point now where there should be a working list for almost every circuit & district court seat that has a judge in it eligible for senior status. If The White House is waiting for vacancies to occur at this point to start looking for possible nominees in blue states or any circuit court vacancy then I would say that is at their own peril.

        But my biggest problem is so many of the current vacancies of 3 or more months are in BLUE states. This simply is unacceptable, particularly the New York, California & Massachusetts vacancies. Biden needs to be working under the assumption that we only have until November of this year to fill these seats. 2 nominees in the 69 days since January 19th’s last batch isn’t showing me they are working with that sense of urgency.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Biden is being tactical at least at which seats he puts the nominees in. I read somewhere that Biden is prioritizing seats that have a set vacancy date over ones where judges are waiting for their successor. I would do the same if I were the one making judicial nominations. I think there’s much more urgency to fill seats with set vacancy dates than ones without.

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      • Though I don’t think Biden is doing this, if I were him, I would base which seats I put nominees in based on the nature of the judge waiting for a successor. I would try to replace the more moderate judges first, and might take my time on filling the seats of liberal lions who are far more likely to rescind if a Republican takes office. The super liberal judges might hate me for doing that but wouldn’t risk letting a Republican replace them.

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      • caveat: I would treat replacing a liberal lion with urgency if said liberal lion is over 80.

        Another strategy tip (Biden does use this tip to an extent)- place the more controversial (especially if controversial for political reasons) nominees in the seats of the liberal lions waiting for a successor, thus 1) the center-left judge swap can happen sooner, 2) if the nominee is not confirmed the liberal lion will still be there, and 3) there won’t be a vacancy period where the court is 1 liberal lion down.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Simplistic? You don’t know what the Biden Administration’s process is .He’s the President we have now? He’s the guy I backed from the beginning. If the nominee for 2020 would been Bernie Sanders we would be in Trump second term.

        When Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee when Bill Clinton was President he said to Janet Reno ” we need 100 judges up here’.”

        The fact that you don’t know what they are doing doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing anything.

        What we don’t need are Republican talking points and tactics.

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  15. It appears that some total hacks are filling up this blog to prop up Biden’s poor performance. Honestly his record on judges has been considerably less worse than the rest of his sorry pathetic performance. I would give Biden no better than a D- for his performance outside of judges. And no you can’t simply blame Joe Manchin and the GOP for many of these failures.

    Alex Sammon and the hard left are far more correct about Joe Biden. Without Sammon’s articles, I am 100% certain that J. Michelle Childs would have been the Supreme Court nominee. No doubt about it.

    And BTW this is NOT a Democratic Party blog. The only thing I will say is that people should be honest about whom they are. If you are a conservative or Republican, you should say so rather than pretend to be a “concerned” moderate.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Yes, I am aware of the hard left. However , when was the last time someone from the “hard left” got elected President ?

    You know some of us were around when Reagan wiped out Carter and Mondale. Those two were not moderate Democrats by any stretch.

    I am a black man. but the greatest justice i’ve seen in my lifetime was William Brennan. The only “real” liberals were from the Warren court era.

    Nowadays, you couldn’t nominate a Brennan because he was a white male Catholic in his 50’s. I would love to see someone like Katie Porter from California with real legislative experience.

    In my opinion, that’s what is needed on the court but the Senate is 50/50 (yes , it does make difference) an attempt to put a politician or state attorney general would enflame the right.

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    • “Yes, I am aware of the hard left. However , when was the last time someone from the “hard left” got elected President ?”

      This sounds much like the moron on Daily Kos Elections who regularly claims the last time a candidate running on a left populist got elected was 1948 and basically every comment is an anti-left jihad. Which is totally false of course, as basically every single Democratic candidate in the last 80 years has run on a left populist agenda. Barack Obama won in 2012 running on a left populist agenda.

      But the hard left doesn’t need one of their own to get elected President. They just need to hold any Democratic President accountable to their priorities.

      “You know some of us were around when Reagan wiped out Carter and Mondale. Those two were not moderate Democrats by any stretch.”

      Carter was perhaps the most moderate Democrat nominee in the last 80 years. He didn’t get wiped out because of his supposed liberalism, he got wiped out because his Presidency was a disaster. 40+% of those who voted for progressive Ted Kennedy in the primaries then voted for Reagan or Anderson in the general election.

      “an attempt to put a politician or state attorney general would enflame the right.”

      Good. Enflaming the right is a huge bonus and personally I would do far more than just enflaming the right. F them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jimmy Carter was unelected for many reasons.and at the time of his defeat people weren’t saying that he was a moderate. Are you trying to say that Jimmy Carter was to the right of Bill Clinton?

        I’m tired of shadow boxing an imaginary Presidential figure that these latte liberals love. Who do you have in mind? The “hard left” doesn’t need its own candidate. Yes, because they don’t have one.

        If Bernie Sanders had won the Democratic primary he would have lost to Trump. Everyone on here knows that to be true.

        The bottom line is we have to win elections or we won’t have country that’s fit to live in. If Biden filled all of the vacancies with the folks we wanted it’s still not going to be enough because the Supreme Court is tossing out precedents like never before.

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  17. @Kevin Collins

    Let’s step back a bit. As one of our long-time commenters, @Shawn, said, this isn’t a Democratic blog. But most of us here definitely advocate for liberal and progressive judges, even though we may disagree as to how to apply those labels.

    I wasn’t around for the Warren court, and like most of my generational cohort, RBG was the best justice of our time (not counting her monumental miscalculation).

    I and others have said many time that even though we ourselves aren’t of the hard left, we do prefer judges who are super progressive, if only to balance out the far-right courts.

    This is where a lot of us are coming from.

    We do not think “good enough” is good enough to blunt the long-term effects of Trump judges. We do not think that “good enough” is good enough to confirm as many decent judges as possible in a very short window (Yes, Dems are far more likely than not to lose the Senate in Nov due to historical trends, Senate malapportionment, Biden polling, inflation, etc.).

    These are the reasons for our urgency.
    For some of us, Biden’s urgency on the judiciary is a matter of survival. It might sound apocalyptic, but as an American who checks a LOT of boxes, I need him to act like his party only has 50 senators for only 8 more months.

    Shawn is the toughest grader on Biden among us, but he’s always articulated his reasons, and while you may disagree with them, I think that you’ll find that he’s not the only one who has these reasons.

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    • I just view this as a sense of urgency because of what happened in President Obama’s last 2 years when McConnell became majority leader…He didn’t allow the Garland nomination to proceed, and he shut down the lower court confirmations as well….And there is no doubt that would be the way again if the GOP took the senate….

      Now, I think Democrats have some strong candiates, especially in PA…..Ron Johnson has gone way off the deep end in WI, and the GOP may nominate a wife & child beater in MO (Eric Greitens)

      But still, Democrats do need to act with urgency now as all 50 Democrats have been on board with judicial nominations…..Yes, they’ll fight all day over BBB, Voting Rights, etc, but they have been in lock step when it comes to judges….So let’s get as many judicial nominations processed (ESPECIALLY Circuit Court seats), let the District Court seats stay open if push comes to shove, but fill every open Circuit seat…

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  18. Democrats just held a cloture vote on an executive nominee that failed.

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  19. Hey Ryan – name a CEO in Silicon Valley who makes 200k a year. Or name a partner of a law firm who makes 200k

    When you go to the movies do you talk back to the screen?

    The average price of a home in Northern California is over 1 million dollars. If you have 4 years of undergrad and 3 years of Law School that’s a lot money. Unless you have a spouse making the same it’s not alot of money for someone at the top of their profession,

    Most of the Supreme Court Justices are millionaires

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    • I get your point though, there are jobs out there that make more money than that, I’m not trying to discredit your claims, I’m just trying to put things into perspective. I would be very happy with a $200K yearly salary, especially as a starting salary (since like other workers, federal judges’ salaries do go up over time). If it isn’t already obvious, I’m not a lawyer nor do I have much experience studying law.

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    • @Kevin Collins in a way, you’re proving the point of most posters here. The former Big Law partners who make millions are the exact type of folks that we do NOT want nominated as judges. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Big Law partner or making a lot of money, but individuals with those backgrounds are overrepresented in the judiciary at the moment (and any Republican nominee is certainly going to have a Big Law background). We need folks who have spent their careers defending indigent criminal defendants or employees or immigrants so that the judiciary reflects the viewpoints of everyone in society, not just those who were prosecutors or worked for corporations and employers.

      Also, to the extent your argument about salaries makes sense, it would support selecting younger nominees. Older candidates are going to make more just by the nature of their experience, and even if they have paid off law school debt or mortgages, it’s much harder to go from making millions to $200k and making $300k to $200k.

      You also have to realize that some folks, particularly the type who would be interested in government service in the first place, aren’t primarily motivated by money. A position as an AUSA is (rightly or wrongly) one of the most coveted positions in the legal field, but it pays less than most mid-level Big Law associates. Yet every AUSA opening – and especially those in big cities with high costs of living – is inundated with applications from folks at big law firms sometimes making twice the salary.

      And most of the Supreme Court justices being millionaires is a damning indictment of the judicial system, not a positive.

      Liked by 2 people

    • And to your other claim about it taking a long time to vet – as someone who knows folks on these screening committees, it does not take more than a few months. Those screening panels are usually for district court nominees anyways, as the White House will take on more of a role when it comes to picking appellate court nominees.

      Especially for circuit vacancies, there are district court judges who have already been confirmed once (and a review of the opinions they’ve issued takes a legal intern a few days on Westlaw) as well as lists from organizations like Demand Justice. The administration may not like all of those candidates because they want more moderate ones, but there are definitely organizations and folks who have done most of the vetting work. The Republicans already outsource most of this to the Federalist Society, and the White House should be doing the same with progressive orgs if his in-house team does not have the capacity to do it themselves.

      That being said, you are right that there is a lot we as the public don’t know – hopefully, the White House is working on vetting a lot of names as we speak, and I will happily eat my words if they release a big batch after KBJ is confirmed. However, based on the fact that it takes a month from nomination to SJC hearing, they have wasted valuable time by not announcing nominees these last two months.

      I also agree with your points about Bernie being too liberal and Biden being a better general election candidate, but this isn’t an elections blog either. While which candidates are best can be an ideological discussion, being efficient with the judicial nominations process is not about ideology or leftist versus moderate – it’s just about doing the bare minimum expected of a presidential administration.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Your points are well taken. I don’t think that any nominee has taken longer than a year. I remember when Judge Paez and Professor Fletcher were nominated to the 9th Circuit it 4 and 3 years respectively for them to get confirmed.

        I know this blog is about the judiciary but it is worth noting that a judgeship bill is long overdue. It’s more probable that the Democrats can hold the Senate but not the House. So, adding judges won’t happen until after 2024 election.

        When that happens it’s very likely that 9th Circuit gets split since adding judges to a court with 29 full time and 20 plus senior judges is unrealistic.

        My concern is if Democrats don’t win in 2024 you know that Republicans will get a judgeship bill through and 4 new seats on the Supreme Court. If I were them I would the same. It was a massive mistake to talk about expanding the court without having the votes to do so.

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  20. First Circuit Judge Jeffrey Howard has assumed senior status today and yet there is still no nominee to his seat or the two other open seats on the first cuit, still no nomination for other open circuit seats and yet people are still defending this administration. Any critic is deleted and shunned. Know this on january 2023 mitch mcconell takes over and everything grinds to a halt, goodluck getting mcconell to confirm folks like myrna perez to circuit seats and this is all because of the lack of seriousness biden and the democrats have taken towards judges.

    Nancy abudu and michelle childs were nominated in janaury and there is still NO HEARING SCHEDULED FOR THEM! STILL! Not even next week! Whats the possible defense for that? Democrats in the judiciary commitee have literally wasted months of precious time.
    Whats so painful is the GOP held nomination hearings even during senate recess to show you their level of commitment its just infuriating that the democrats refuse to fight as hard on this

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    • We have not yet seen anymore nominees for the vacant First Circuit or other seats, However, that does not mean that they are not coming. After the vote, the Senate will be out on recess. It won’t make a difference if more nominees are sent this week. No one will be working on them.

      As you stated, the Senate already has plenty of nominees on its plate. I’m sure more will come when they get back.

      Much has been made that during the Trump Administration hearings had been done while the Senate was on recess.

      The Republicans care little about other than judges. Their base wants total control over the federal judiciary. From their perspective it makes sense because former Justices O’ Conner, Kennedy and Souter were major disappointments.

      The Democratic base does not have the same focus on judges they want legislation for voting rights, health care other social policy issues.

      I really hear what most of you are saying. However, the problem isn’t necessarily with Schumer, Durbin or President Biden. The problem is with progressive base of the party with these internecine policy disputes. Let’s not question the motives of people we choose to lead us.

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      • @Kevin Collins
        Don’t wish to keep going back on forth on this, especially since these points were already addressed, multiple times, but multiple people on here. So allow me to reiterate once more:

        “After the vote, the Senate will be out on recess. It won’t make a difference if more nominees are sent this week. No one will be working on them.”

        That’s simply not how the senator works. Just because the senate is in recess (which can be no longer than 3 days, per recent practice) doesn’t need it is not still “considering” business before it.
        Nominations need about a month (and often longer) to mature to get to the hearing stage. You send nominees to the senate and the senate takes off for two weeks, guess what? That’s still two weeks less that the SJC will need to look into those nominees. Very elementary.

        “The Democratic base does not have the same focus on judges they want legislation for voting rights, health care other social policy issues.”

        The problem with the Dem base in a nutshell. What legislation for voting rights, health care, and other social policy issues are left untouched by judges??? Even if Dems control all 433 seats in Congress and can pass all sorts of laws, the far right judges on most of our courts will always get to have their say and overturn them with impunity. And all you are left to do is cry, because you refuse to care about a whole THIRD of your government. Again, very basic.

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      • It’s okay if you wish to respond to what I am saying. We’re just talking here.

        It’s possible we see more nominees later this week. However, if
        this doesn’t happen there will be more forthcoming. I’ve followed the judicial nominations process for over 30 years now.

        The difference nowadays is that potential nominees are not leaked on purpose. The only clues we get are from the Senate questionnaire.

        The Biden Administration took a major step by nominating Andre Mathis to the 6th Circuit. During the hearing, Senator Blackburn stated that she sent a name of a prospective nominee to the White House. It was dilatory tactic because Biden no longer has to have the consent of home state Senators for circuit court nominations.

        Lastly, when I talk about the Democratic base I am referencing the African American community. What folks fail to realize is that most black folks in the south (over 45) are pragmatic , They vote with their head instead of their heart. Certainly that’s what transpired in Democratic Primary. Bernie Sander’s got cooked because he had served in the House for 16 years and did not befriend at least one African American.

        With that said, It’s very difficult to achieve a legislative like agenda from the judiciary. The GOP is doing so now with alarming results because they infiltrated the Supreme Court through clerkships going over the past 30 years.

        The Republicans had Ted Cruz and John Roberts clerking for Chief Justice Rehquist, Senator Mike Lee clerked for Samuel Alito. I believe Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh clerked for Justice Kennedy.

        The Democrats don’t have that kind of depth, The only way to get it is to win elections. It’s that simple.

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      • Yeah, but there are already 5 judicial nominees needing a discharge vote, KBJ will be 6, Arianna Freeman might be 7…

        Also, I think there are other executive nominees needing a discharge vote (some were discharged this week)

        They certainly can all be confirmed, it just gobbles up precious time..

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  21. Schumer wasted no time with this discharge vote..

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve always said that KBJ will tie in SJC. In an hour we’ll see if I’m right, or if Dequan is.

        As I’ve also said before, don’t hold your breath for Murkowski. She’s never voted for a Dem justice. Though, ostensibly this year she’ll need the votes of the few liberals in Alaska to help her eek out a win with the new ranked choice voting they have there. But then again, Palin will also be on Murkowski’s ballot and Palin might draw out all the crazies.
        Final assessment: Murkowski is the senator with the most difficult decision on KBJ.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I predicted at least 3 yes votes albeit senator Blunt saying he will vote no hurts that vote tally. I still think there’s a chance senator Tillis will vote yes but if he doesn’t then I will be wrong. Of course a nice batch of nominees would help me feel better after being wrong…lol

        Liked by 1 person

  22. @Dequan, Durbin couldn’t even get the paring of votes courtesy for (Padilla), let alone 1 aye vote from GOP. You’re dealing with a different kind of Republicans. Since they denied you one of their votes, I really hope Biden makes up for it with a big batch of nominees by the end of the week.

    Like

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