Judge Elizabeth Hanes – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Judge Elizabeth Hanes is, like Biden’s last nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a former federal defender and U.S. Magistrate Judge.


Elizabeth Wilson Hanes received her B.A. from the University of Richmond in 2000 and her J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law in 2007.

After graduation, Hanes clerked for Judge Joseph Goodwin on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia and then for Judge Robert King on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Hanes then spent seven years as an assistant federal public defender in the Eastern District of Virginia before joining the firm Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C.

In 2020, Hanes was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Alexandria Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. She continues to serve there today.

History of the Seat

Hanes has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. This seat opened on November 1, 2021, when Judge John Gibney moved to senior status. Hanes was recommended, along with federal prosecutor Melissa O’Boyle, by Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to the White House in November 2021.

Legal Experience

Outside of her clerkships, Hanes started her legal career as a federal defender in the Eastern District of Virginia. For example, Hanes represented James Edward May II, who was sentenced to thirty years in prison for production of child pornography. See Frank Green, Powhatan Man Receives 30 Years in Child Porn Case, Richmond Times Dispatch, Nov. 3, 2012. The position also allowed Hanes to argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. See, e.g., United States v. Winfield, 665 F.3d 107 (4th Cir. 2012).

From 2016 to 2020, Hanes practiced civil litigation at Consumer Litigation Associates, P.C. in Newport News. Among the matters she handled there, Hanes filed an amicus brief before the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in a case holding whether the Federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 can be justified under Congress’ Commerce Clause power. See United States v. Hill, 927 F.3d 188 (4th Cir. 2019). The Fourth Circuit upheld the Act as a valid exercise of Congress’ Commerce power.


Hanes has served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge since 2020. In this capacity, Hanes oversees discovery, adjudicates cases where jurisdiction is consented to, and presides over settlement. She also oversees pretrial detention, and administrative appeals. See, e.g., Anthony A. v. Kijakazi, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61087 (E.D. Va. Mar. 30, 2022) (upholding ALJ decision not to consider the VA’s 100% disability determination).

Overall Assessment

Nominees to the federal bench in Virginia have generally not attracted much opposition, regardless of the president making the appointments. In fact, not since the nomination of Judge Glen Conrad to the Fourth Circuit has a Virginia federal nominee not been confirmed. Hanes is likely to maintain that trend.


  1. Highlights from todays’s SJC hearing.

    Childs – She got five no votes. That angers me even more at her nomination to the DC circuit. She wasn’t even unanimously voted to the floor. We mine as well had Deepak Gupta or any number of better nominees if even she can’t get all 22 yes votes.

    Abudu – As expected, she will need to be discharged on the floor.

    Nursat C & Natasha Merle – Both got yes votes from Graham & was voted in favor 12 – 10.


      • I think there would be a very strong case for at least a couple progressive senators to vote NO on Childs, especially now that they can be assured that their votes will NOT prevent Childs from being confirmed. If I were a senator, I would vote NO on Childs so long as I knew Childs didn’t need my vote to get confirmed


      • @Ryan Joshi

        I would vote HELL NO on Childs regardless of situation. She is a conservative like Jose Cabranes and I don’t think she should be nominated to any court by a Democrat.

        Not only would I vote no on Childs, I would engage in any obstruction to delay her vote. I would rather have the seat remain open and risk it being filled by a Fed Soc nutjob than have her on the DC Circuit. In fact, I could go even further and say that I would rather be stabbed in the front by Clarence Thomas than stabbed in the back by J. Michelle Childs.

        This is why I made a very clear delineation between Florence Pan and J. Michelle Childs yesterday. Pan is a nominee who is solidly on the center-left. While Pan is an awful choice given the circumstances, she doesn’t deserve to be in the same sentence as Childs.


    • Haaaaaaaa… That’s my reaction anytime a Republican senator says they are not happy Biden didn’t take their recommendation for a circuit court nominee. It’s a much nicer reaction then what I really want to tell them. That would be two words, the second word is OFF & the first word has four letters & rhymes with DUCK… Lol


  2. Grade of A for Hanes obviously. Now the real question is why it took so long to get her nominated given that the Biden admin were given these names in Virginia last year.

    I strongly suspect that the same thing is happening in Massachusetts and California. The senators have given recommendations to the Biden admin, and the lazy people there have not sent them up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Shawn

      Yea I agree, Graham should be given deference but not indefinitely. As for Childs, I would have voted yes in the SJC to allow the full senate to vote for her as I believe she deserves that. Then I would vote no on the full senate floor.

      As for Massachusetts, there are two reasons why I am not confident they have sent nominees yet, or just did so recently. First, unlike other blue states, I have not heard anything, not even a peep about recommendations. And second, they sent an extension for the third vacant seat until June. If they had plenty of nominees for the other two earlier vacancies, why wouldn’t they just pull the third nominee from that pool of candidates. I do suspect they probably have recommended somebody for the circuit court vacancy however.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I strongly disagree with your views on MA. And the reason why they need a separate commission for the third vacant seat is because that seat is located in Worcester and not Boston. The first set of nominees are for the Boston seats.

        As far as the 1st Circuit seat, frankly this isn’t that hard. It’s like in Ohio with Rachel Bloomkatz, there is a clear choice, Bessie Dewar.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bessie Dewar would be solid but I hope Andrew Crespo is getting strong consideration. He should have been considered for one of the two seats on the DC circuit, particularly with the horrible selections we ended up with. Dewar is great but Crespo needs to be an appeals court judge yesterday. Besides I’m not sure if Dewar has stronger political aspirations then judicial.

        But either one would be great, as long as it’s not somebody like Denise J. Casper or another nominee in their 50’s. Massachusetts should have no problem filling this seat with a young, progressive home run.


      • @Dequan

        Here you have changed my mind. Yes Crespo should be nominated here over Bessie Dewar, given the dearth of Hispanic circuit nominees.

        I think a combination of Crespo to the 1st Circuit and Rodriguez to the 2nd/5th Circuit would be solid for Hispanic representation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yea I totally understand where your coming from with Bessie Dewar. I think it’s more of a case of the administration missing so many opportunities in the seats we have mentioned, that Crespo rises to the top for that reason, more so for any reasons that have to do with Bessie Dewar herself. As bad as he has been on Hispanic circuit court judges, a Crespo, Rodriguez & the Hispanic nominee for the Arizona seat should calm the waters with Sanez.


  3. Sounds like we’ll have a replacement for the other seat on the 2nd Circuit very soon.
    If I’m a guessing person, it would be Professor Cristina Rodríguez who gets the nod as she’s Latina and would help Biden address the lack of nominees in that area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All three would be good to me.

      Raheem Mullins was the front runner in my mind all along. He has been groomed for over a decade for tjis role. I think he’s been a judge for so long that he really hasn’t had the opportunity to build his progressive chops like others have but I have no doubt he is just as liberal as the other two. Since it’s been 3,054 days since tjhe last time a black man has been put on any circuit court, you certaily can make the case for him being a good choice here to add on to Andre Mathis’s nomination.

      Cristina Rodriguez probably should have gotten the seat over Sarah A. L. Merriam but I suspect she will get this seat. She is certainly a solid nominee, Latina & a university law professor which is a demographic I think sorely needed on the circuit courts. President Biden appointed her to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.

      Justin Driver (born c. 1975) is also a law professor. With him being a member of the American Law Institute and of the American Constitution Society’s Academic Advisory Board, he sounds like he has progressive chops. President Biden also appointed Driver to serve on the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.


    • Grades for potential nominees.

      Justin Driver- A. Home run pick and potential Supreme Court candidate. If you want a Black man, this is your guy.

      Cristina Rodriguez- A-. Good pick with less progressive credentials than Driver.

      Raheem Mullins- D-. Background of being a hardliner on criminal justice matters.

      Jesse Furman- F. Background for working for GOP AGs and no progressive background. Also I hate his brother for steering Obama toward deficit reduction, policies that eventually gave us Trump.


      • @Shawn

        I think you just changed my mind. I had only read up on Justin Driver but didn’t look up his picture until just now. I see he is a black man & I would agree he would definitely be the best pick out of the names mentioned. I do think Rodriguez will end up getting the nomination in light of the article Sanez wrote yesterday, which is another reason I wish she had been picked instead of Merriam.

        Merriam is good but a Rodriguez & Driver combo would have been a solid way to cap off a frenzy of new judges over the past 6 years on a circuit that will probably not see a new judge for years to come unless one of them is elevated to SCOTUS or has an unexpected health issue.


      • Yup, especially Nancy Maldonado over a nominee in his mid 50’s. And they had a solid & younger nominee for the district court (I believe her name was Noble). I read John Lee’s questionnaire & it said he was reached out to for the 7th circuit seat so that was an unforced error for sure.

        I wouldn’t have put Reyes on the DC circuit but I certainly would have put any number of others we have talked about with Andrew Crespo leading the way only possibly behind Deepak Gupta.


    • If a Latino/a is soon nominated to replace Cabranes, that will tremendously explain why Merriam was nominated to the Carney seat. Cabranes himself is Latino so perhaps Biden wanted to keep the seat in Latino hands, i.e. if Merriam were confirmed to replace Cabranes first, the Court would have one less Latino until Carney’s replacement was confirmed.


  4. If nothing else, I’m glad Jesse Furman isn’t in the running.
    He would be better then the guy he’s replacing but not by much.
    Let’s just hope Cabranes doesn’t have a temper tantrum like Robert King did when his favorite clerk isn’t picked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cabranes is an outright conservative at this point, he’s to the right of even some of the Trump nominees on that Circuit.

      Basically anyone Biden nominates (except maybe J. Michelle Childs) would be an improvement over him. So yes, Furman would clearly be an improvement over Cabranes, but that’s not saying much of anything.


    • If Cabranes does throw a temper tantrum & rescinds I would totally blame The White House. Merriam should have been Cabranes replacement so if he does pull anything, you still got the Carney seat open. Totally dumb

      On another note, I see Cristina Rodriguez was born in Texas. I wonder if she still has roots their. It would be great if she could be nominated for the Texas 5th circuit seat & Driver for the 2nd circuit so we could get both. I know Cruz would pitch a fit about a carpetbagger being nominated but I believe Trump’s nominee to the 9th circuit to the Nevada seat didn’t live in the state at the time so who cares.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan

        Rodriguez is from San Antonio, and could certainly be nominated there. But I think Thomas Saenz may throw a fit if the only Hispanic Circuit Court nominee is for the 5th Circuit. This is why Nancy Maldonado and Ana Reyes should have been nominated to the 7th and DC Circuit Courts instead of district courts.

        Honestly I don’t expect Cabranes to throw a temper tantrum if either Yale Law professor is nominated. Cabranes was the general counsel at Yale, and while he is pretty conservative, he is someone who respects intellect. Both Rodriguez and Driver were Supreme Court clerks and are top quality law professors.


      • I would agree with Sanez if Rodriguez is the only Hispanic circuit court nominee for the rest of the year. I think the 9th Arizona seat will definitely be a Hispanic nominee as well. AsI spoke about earlier the 1st circuit could be Andrew Crespo. The10th Kansas is a wild card. I know none of the front runners are Hispanic but we will see.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Also saw the news about the other CT seat on the 2nd Circuit – yes the Yale law profs seem like more progressive picks than Mullins. I tend to think they’re more likely to go with a sitting district court judge/state supreme court justice when it’s down to two candidates, but a professorship at Yale is (probably) as good a credential so who knows. I’ll be curious if it does end up being Rodriguez – if not (and no other Latino COA nominees are named anytime soon), then MALDEF (and the Hispanic/Latino bar in general) probably needs to reevaluate its advocacy strategy to figure out the disconnect.

    I agree that the Texas 5th and Arizona 9th seats are likely to be Hispanic though. We’ve mentioned Rosemary Marquez already for the 9th Circuit seat, and Dequan has brought up some names I forgot in Texas. I suspect the administration may be looking at Diana Saldana in S.D. Tex. (Obama nominee, 51, recommended by Cornyn for the district court seat and unanimously confirmed). I don’t think she’s the most progressive pick, but given that red state appeals court nominees have had more traditional backgrounds (Mathis and Pryor have pretty centrist resumes), I have a feeling that the administration will go with Saldana or someone like her.

    I would also brace ourselves for Denise Casper being elevated to the 1st Circuit to replace Lynch. Rumors in Massachusetts suggest it will be her, but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge. She definitely would be a less progressive pick than Dewar or Crespo, but I don’t think anyone in Dem circles wants to be seen as opposing a Black woman these days – especially since the only Black judge on the 1st Circuit (Thompson) is being replaced by a white woman.

    Nevertheless, I would think there are more progressive Black women candidates in Massachusetts. Failing that, maybe MALDEF can make enough noise to give more cover to advocating for Crespo.


    • Denise Casper would have been a great pick during the Obama presidency but she would be a bd pick now. There’s simply better choices & other demographics that need to be sought out to fill. I am a Black man & feel the 10 Black women Biden has put on the appeals courts is great for the country. Time to spread the wealth or at the very least put young Black women on the bench from here on. Casper would be bad but as @Hank said I am bracing myself.


    • And I meant to add – if Biden is going to elevate magistrate judges to circuit courts, Diana Song Quiroga (a magistrate judge in S.D. Tex.) would be a better nominee for age reasons than Diana Saldana. From her bio, I would guess she’s 45 (born in 1976), and she worked in legal aid before becoming an AUSA.


      The only question is if she is Hispanic, which I don’t think she is? I would guess her maiden name is Song and Quiroga (which is a Hispanic last name) is her married name. Haven’t found any confirmation either way, but with the pressure to nominate more Hispanics, the administration might skip over Quiroga for Saldana for that specific reason, which would be a shame.


    • Diana Saldana was a GOP selected nominee and should not be considered. If there is an elevation, it is more likely to be Judge Marina Marmolejo (who was initially agreed to as part of a package in 2013, but then Cruz reneged). The other judicial possibility could be Amparo Guerra.

      Also Ted Cruz is the kind of senator who should not even get a chance to interview nominees. Biden should not consult him at all and Cruz can use his five minutes to whine about that in the committee hearing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • My first choice for the Texas 5th Circuit seat would be Texas First District Court of Appeals Judge Amaparo M. Guerra (1975).
      Among SDTX, I think that Marina Marmolejo would be a better pick than Diana Saldaña (both 1971, but Marmolejo has been a Public Defender, although she was also a prosecutor). Texas First District Court of Appeals Judge Sarah Beth Landau (1972) is more progressive than any of the other names, but I’m pretty sure a Latina will get in.


      • My 1st choice for the 5th Circuit in Texas is District Court Judge George C Hanks Jr who replaced Costa on the Bench in Galveston. Hanks is a solid and beyond well-qualified, and would be the 1st African-American ever to be appointed to the 5th Circuit in Texas. He is brilliant, well-respected and regarded and is so deserving of this elevation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Angie
        Hell no. George C Hanks is a Republican selection appointed by Obama in a deal. There is absolutely zero reason why Biden should or will elevate him.

        If an African American is appointed from Texas, it would most likely be TX Court of Appeals judge Erin Nowell.


  6. On the 2nd Circuit itself, as others have pointed out, whomever is picked is likely to be the last nominee for a long time.
    Raymond Lohier is the only Obama judge left once Carney goes senior and he’s only 57 so he’s not going anywhere.
    Debra Livingston is the only George W judge left but in addition to being chief judge, she’s also two years away from being able to take senior status and it’s highly unlikely she would do so under a Democratic President.
    Bottom line, whomever the final pick is needs to be a home run.
    Also saw there aren’t any more votes for this week, discharge or otherwise so we won’t see any more confirmations until June.
    Likely due to not having enough Democratic senators for discharge motions and Schumer having to play nice with Graham and others so there won’t be more deadlocks.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Looking at the current make up of the circuit courts, here are the only ones I see a Biden nominee having a chance at being chief one day. Of course this is barring any major unexpected changes such as death, retirement or future vacancy followed by a Biden judge being nominated in their 40’s…

        Federal Circuit – Almost guaranteed.
        First Circuit – Almost guaranteed.
        Third Circuit – Probable
        Sixth Circuit – Possible with two Biden judges in their 40’s.
        Seventh Circuit – Possible with two Biden judges in their 40’s.
        Ninth Circuit – I’m gonna say likely here only because we have more picks to come for vacancies, plus Holy Thomas is in her low 40’s.

        The other circuit courts I see little to no chance of a Biden judge being chief unless there is some unexpected change to the courts composition.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with others that Biden has done great on getting Black women on the courts but that there are other groups that need to be given representation on Circuit courts and we don’t have a lot of time left to do that.
    If there are no Latino/As in the next batch of Circuit court nominees, that will be a major error on Biden’s part.
    Also, I wouldn’t object to seeing one more Gay male be nominated to a Circuit court seat.
    I know there is Beth Robinson and Allison Nathan but having Patrick Bumatay as the only openly gay jurist annoys me to no end given how extreme he is.
    Someone like Christopher Howland of the ACA being nominated to the 3rd Circuit would be a welcome addition.


    • @Zack

      I think out of the remaining circuit court vacancies left, Christopher Howland is the most likely LGBT nominee. Being from Biden’s home state, I think they will use that slot for a historic pick.

      Before yesterday I would have given an outside chance to Eunice Lee (Yes I know that would make two Biden circuit court nominees with the exact same name… Lol) for the 9th Arizona seat. But after the horrendous DC circuit pick being AAPI, I doubt this Lee who is LGBT from what I understand & AAPI (Unlike the 2nd New York Lee who is a black women) will be chosen. I honestly can’t imagine that seat not going to a Hispanic nominee now.

      The 10th Kansas seat is a complete wild card to me as mentioned earlier. I truly hope they pick somebody that will make senator Moran & Marshall’s heads explode. I don’t care if they are Black, Hispanic, Indian, LGBT or a Martian from another planet. I want this pick to hurt them in the gut after such a long wait & them inevitably stalling.

      Despite me being upset at the Florence Pan pick, it was great to see the other two picks were from a purple & red state. I hope the next batch has at least another one.


    • Andre mathis was nominated in november, way before davis and at the same as nathan CA2 yet still no movement, ho is still stuck in committee, arianna freeman nomination is still DOA as she is still stuck in commitee. All they did this week was confirm a moderate trump judge to an appellate position and meaningless district court seats that can be easily overturned. They aren’t serious at all. Its an insult to voters and immoral to feign outrage over mass shootings when you cant do the bare minimum to nominate judges who can actually have affect on this laws and peoples lives. As we speak right wing judges are literally in the process of dismantling whatever little gun regulation is even allowed at this point, yet this jokers cant find urgency to stay in session and ensure no vacancy is left unfilled. its a joke.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Indeed.
    If nothing else, folks need to realize the blue slip rule is still in play for district court nominees so when Stephanie Davis was nominated and confirmed under Trump, it doesn’t mean she was a right winger because she’s not.
    She is a moderate/liberal jurist like the George W judge she replaced, Helene White who was a liberal done as part of a package deal with W at the end of his term.
    Bottom line, folks need to have all the facts before they shoot their mouths off on certain nominees.
    Sometimes the name of the President next to the judge says nothing about them.


    • Correct. Out of the 230 federal judges Trump put on the bench, a couple of handfuls were package deals for Democrats or left of center nominees. I don’t believe so far any of Biden nominees have ben Republicans. Stephen H. Locher is the closest thing & I believe even he is a left of center Democrat or at worst centrist.

      On another note, whenever Schumer picks up the pace on confirmations, help is on the way for New York & California. All of the current district court nominees pending for a floor vote or dischard vote are from those two states. New York has 6 pending & California has 4 pending.


      • Speaking of mistake circuit court picks, let me put my Republican hat on for a couple of minutes & think of how many of Trump’s 54 picks were mistakes in the mold of J. Michelle Childs or Florence Pan.

        The worst of Trump’s circuit court picks from the Republican view point I think would have to be Mark J. Bennett. First off, he was born in 1953 which I believe was Trump’s oldest circuit court judge. Second, all 27 votes against his confirmation came from Republican Senators due to his defense of Hawaii’s restrictive firearms laws in court. while I’m sure there aren’t too many Republicans in Hawaii, there had to be one younger & more conservative then him.

        While I don’t think any of the other 53 Trump circuit court judges were mistakes, I would list 9th circuit Arizona judge Bridget S. Bade as the second worst from a Republican stand point. Not only was she born in 1965 putting her in her mid 50’s at the time of appointment, but she ruled that Gavin Newsom’s restrictions on private gatherings, which limit indoor and outdoor gatherings to three households at a time, are constitutional.

        The only other judge I can remotely say was a mistake would be Danielle J. Forrest. She was only chosen after the Ryan Bounds failed confirmation & was approved by both of Oregon’s Democrat senators.

        Did I miss anybody? If not, I would say 3 mistakes out of 54 is really good. On a side note, by the end of May 2018 (The equivalent to May 2022), Trump had gotten 21 circuit court judges confirmed. Biden is at 16. So while he is ahead overall, he is behind on the appeal late courts. Schumer really needs to be laser focused on the 3 weeks before the July 4th two week recess that the senate will be in session.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan

        As I’ve said here several times, Florence Pan is not in the same category as J. Michelle Childs. She is a center left on par with Lucy Koh. A decent Trump comparison to Pan would be Greg Katsas. Pan is a little worse than Katsas from a partisan point of view, but not terribly so. Frankly it is really unfair to Florence Pan to be mentioned in the same sentence as Childs.

        J. Michelle Childs is a disaster not just because she is a conservative, but because she was nominated to the DC Circuit. That’s what makes Childs the worst judge a Democrat has nominated since JFK’s nomination of Byron White (who’s ideology is pretty close to Childs IMO, pro-government, mostly pro-civil rights, but an extreme criminal justice hardliner and social conservative). Even Jose Cabranes isn’t nearly as bad because Cabranes was nominated to the 2nd Circuit, not the DC Circuit.

        Due to Jim Clyburn’s abuse of power here, I am considering voting GOP for the House until Clyburn is no longer in leadership.

        IMO the Trump circuit court judges that might get a D or F from a conservative point of view at the time of nomination are:
        Mark Bennett, Ralph Erickson, Bridget Bade, William Nardini, and Danielle Forrest.

        The Biden Article III circuit court judges/nominees that get a D/F IMO are:
        J. Michelle Childs, Lucy Koh, John Lee, and Florence Pan.


      • While I agree J. Childs is the worst circuit court Biden judge, I can’t say Florence Pan is a great distance better. They both were nominated to the DC circuit when there were clearly way better options. I actually think Pan shouldn’t have been nominated to either of the seats to replace KBJ by Biden. I do concede she isn’t as bad as Childs but I’m furious because she is now the second straight disaster to the second most important court in the land in which only judges who will be considered for future SCOTUS vacancies should be put on that court.

        As for the Trump judges, Ralph Erickson, was on my radar as I’m sure they could have found a younger & more conservative judge. I didn’t have William Nardini on my list. He’s pretty young & by all accounts I have seen o thought pretty conservative too.


  9. Anyone that doesn’t sugar coat their feelings is a troll according to idiots like shawn. What excuse is there for andre mathis not to be confirmed since he was nominated in novemeber? or for dale ho and vera to still be stuck in committee? The democrats didnt advance the ball at all during this work period, at the very least andre mathis should be confirmed and arianna freeman should have been discharged from the committee. Also no judicial hearings during recess? The biden admin has dropped the ball


    • The troll opened its mouth and left no doubt that they are a troll. I guess I’m proud to be called an “idiot” by this troll. Here is what this troll said previously, pretending to be on the left while trying to intentionally discourage others here.

      “They don’t care and its a bitter pill to swallow but you have to accept it, i am enjoying myself way more and not getting depressed with their incompetence, less anxiety. I have accepted ron desantis or trump will be the ones to fill the vacancies.”

      Take your own advice and get the hell out of here, you troll.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shawn is an imbecile. I wont moderate my thoughts one bit to suit your ego or nonsense. Joe biden and the democrats have dropped the ball of judicial nominations this year there is nothing you can say to change that fact. If you want rose colored assessments on why its taking more than 6 months to confirm nominees than do it i wont partake in your nonsense.


  10. @ Dequan

    Adding to your list where you “put your Republican hat on”, I’d say the two 7th Circuit judges that were confirmed Michael Scudder confirmed 90-0 and Amy St Eve confirmed 91-0….So for ALL Democrats to support 2 Circuit nominees means they must have a few moderate tendencies, lol, in them…


    • @Rick

      I thought about the Illinois judges too. The only reason I didn’t include them is because I don’t know of any rulings on hot button issues from them as of yet like we have from some of the other Trump judges. I know Durbin has spoken about working in good faith with Trump to did nominees so I’m sure they aren’t right wingers.

      For now I would put them in the category of Trump could have probably found more conservative choices but I’ll have to see some rulings to make a further determination as to if I would call them mistakes. But yea if I was ranking all 54, they would probably be numbers 4 & 5 or somewhere close just based on how conservative we already know most of the others are.


      • Turning back to this admin…..I hope in the next hearing Panel I is two of the Circuit court nominees, then Panel 2 is the other Circuit court nominee along with the 3 remaining District Court nominees…..That would be 6 total, but that’s certainly reasonable considering in the last admin they had a hearing for SEVEN nominees, along with the holding of a hearing for 4th Circuit nominee Allison Rushing during a recess…


      • I doubt there will be a hearing on June 8th but if there is, it will probably just be for the 3 remaining district court nominees. The 3 circuit court nominees were just announced May 25th so I doubt they will be in a hearing 14 days later. If any of the 3 would be I would assume Florence Pan since she was just better & confirmed last year.

        I think it’s more then likely to have a hearing June 15th. 21 days later is more doable. The real question is when will we get the next batch & more importantly will there be more nominees then I can count on one hand. We need nominees for the district courts in California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon & Puerto Rico along with the vacant circuit court seats we have previously spoken about.


      • From what I’m able to pick up, St. Eve is more moderate while Scudder seems to be a hardline conservative. St. Eve has cast pivotal votes with the liberals voting NOT to re-hear an abortion case en banc. Scudder and the other Trump judges voted to rehear.


  11. So, Dequan, here’s how I would grade the Trump nominees from a partisan right-wing point of view to the Circuit courts. The grades are at time of nomination, not based on what they have done since.

    A: Amul Thapar, John Bush, Amy Coney Barrett, Stephanos Bibas, Don Willett, James Ho, David Stras, Kyle Duncan, Andy Oldham, Julian Richardson, David Porter, Ryan Nelson, Jonathan Kobes, Eric Miller, Allison Rushing, Chad Readler, Eric Murphy, Neomi Rao, Michael Park, Kenneth Lee, Stephen Menashi, Robert Luck, Patrick Butamay, Lawrence Van Dyke, Andrew Brasher, Justin Walker, Cory Wilson.

    B: Kevin Newsom, Joan Larsen, Allison Eid, L. Stephen Grasz, Elizabeth Branch, Michael Brennan, Joel Carson, John Nalbandian, Marvin Quattlebaum, Paul Matey, Joseph Bianco, Daniel Collins, Daniel Bress, Barbara Lagoa, Thomas Kirsch.

    C: Greg Katsas, Kurt Englehardt, Michael Scudder, Amy St Eve, Richard Sullivan, Peter Phipps (could be a D+).

    D: Ralph Erickson, Bridget Bade, Danielle Forest, William Nardini,.

    F: Mark Bennett


    • Ah ok, if your only counting the time of nomination then yea I would have to slightly change some of my grades then. I was counting rulings since on the bench.

      For your A’s, I would probably lower Robert Luck to a B but agree with the rest. I was actually relieved when governor DeSantis picked Luck for the Florida SCOTUS. I thought he could have went with a much more right winger. But with his age & pretty conservative credentials, I would definitely give him a B.

      As for your B’s, I would move the following up to A’s… Kevin Newsom, Allison Eid &Elizabeth Branch. I want to give an A to Barbara Lagoa but will leave it a B due to her being in her mid 50’s. Also Allison Eid would be moved up to an A but since her vacancy opened up a seat on the Michigan SCOTUS, I’ll leave it at a B.

      I agree with all of your C, D & F picks. I’d flirt with moving Greg Katsas to a D simply because of age on the DC circuit but his conservative creds will keep him at a C.


      • Luck was a 40 year old conservative. You’re right that it could have been worse, so maybe he’s a B+.

        Eid and Branch were 50 or older and there were younger conservatives in both states. Newsom is conservative, but this is Alabama and there were plenty who were even more so. Same with Joan Larsen in Michigan. One could argue that blue slips were in play in Colorado and Michigan, so I’d probably give both Larsen and Eid a B+.

        As far as Katsas, he is solidly conservative enough to keep him at a C despite his age. I considered moving Peter Phipps to a D. With Leon Dejulius as an option, Phipps was a suboptimal selection by Trump.

        I’ll do grades for Obama’s judges next, with grades that account for blue slips.


      • I’ve posted a few times before on this site & it didn’t post either. Then post a second time & still didn’t post. Then checked the next day & both were sent through. Not sure why the glitch occurs.

        I’ll have to read your post once it sends & reply based on that as I’m not home until late tonight to do a more in depth research. The blue slips makes it a lot more complex.


    • I would place at least a couple of these judges in different places. Eric Miller is more moderate than he appears, though a lot more silent about it. Miller cast a decisive vote to grant a bunch of bond hearings, and he never votes to grant en banc regardless of which side wants to go en banc (usually it’s the conservatives trying to go en banc given the special way the 9th circuit does en banc). I would also not give Bennett a F, given that excluding his position on guns and gay rights, Bennett is a solid conservative; more moderate than most of them but definitely not a moderate.


      • For Bennet, in addition to some of his positions taken, the F from me is a lot to do with his age as well. If Biden were to nominate a circuit court judge today born in 1958 (Bennett’s 1953 plus 5 years since he was nominated by Trump) I would go absolutely ballistic.

        I actually admire the 27 Republicans that voted against him. I wish the Democrats would do the same for Christine O’Hearn, J Childs & Florence Pan but we know they won’t. As a Democrat I would have happily gotten him the votes needed to get confirmed. There’s no way your gonna get a better nominee from Trump as a Democrat. I give this nomination an A+ which translates to an F if I put my Republican hat on.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. @ Dequan / Shawn:

    So is Rachel Bloomekatz Biden’s best circuit court pick, surpassing Myrna Perez?

    I think as long as she doesn’t have a Twitter history of calling conservatives shitheads, (or worse) lol, she MIGHT be able to get Collins or Graham AYE vote on the floor….

    Also, hopefully they don’t have a college term paper of hers where she’s supportive of abortion rights and/or gun control…Anything seems fair game anymore in these confirmation hearings..


    • @Rick

      I really really like Myrna Perez & she’s been my number 1 since she was nominated. But it’s hard to argue against Rachel Bloomekatz surpassing her. With her being born around 1982, working on senator Brown’s staff, the Biden/Harris campaign, in Deepak Gupta’s law firm AND with Everytown for Gun Safety, especially in light of recent events, I’m not sure if you gave me a pen & paper & told me to write down my dream circuit court candidate, I could do a much better job then her.

      I think the only thing that would leave a bad taste in my mouth about her is she was nominated along with Florence Pan. But that’s of course not fair to her. I think it’s fair to say she’s the new number 1 now.


      • It was a shame President Carter did not get a SCOTUS appointment, but damn he do a good job with Circuit court confirmations……

        The one Circuit that Democrats just couldn’t have any luck with was that 8th Circuit…..I think Carter had 2 confirmations there….Clinton had 3 in two terms, and only one appt there for Obama….No one retires or takes senior status on the 8th Circuit when a Democrat is president1!

        Liked by 1 person

      • President Carter would have picked the first woman SCOTUS for sure had he en the opportunity. It’s a shame the hostages & economy tanking both Halle Ed so close to the election. I read once Carter initially had a double digit lead over Reagan.

        I also read once he had taken a picture with every female circuit court judge he appointed. He is still the only president in history to serve a full term & not get one SCOTUS pic. Meanwhile Trump gets three. Life is so unfair…smh

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Rick

        Yes and no on Carter. Carter nominated some strong liberals no doubt, but he also nominated several Southern conservatives who would make even the conservatives that Clinton nominated look liberal. The party was different then, rural Southern conservatives were part of Carter’s base.


        Carter wrote in one of his book that he planned on nominating Shirley Hufstedler for his first vacancy (unless it was Thurgood Marshall).
        And no Carter had little to no chance to win without Reagan imploding. His campaign strategists and pollsters acknowledged that. Yes, Carter had a huge lead over Reagan in the spring of 1980, but that was solely due to the hostage crisis and the rally around the President effect. The big problem for him was the enormous “misery index”, which is more than twice as what it is today.
        The polling in late 1980 showed a close race, but that was misleading for two reasons. One, Carter was doing very badly in the Electoral College, he was struggling badly outside the South, and even a tie race wouldn’t have been enough to win. Secondly, the third party candidate John Anderson was taking a lot of votes who were deciding between Anderson and Reagan, most of those voters had already rejected Carter. Once Anderson declined, Reagan won in a landslide.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Ok last shot at this.

    Grades for Obama’s circuit court judges not including Fed Circuit or GOP ones in a deal (Julie Carnes). The grades are at time of nomination, not based on what they have done on the bench.

    A: Beverly Martin, Jane Stranch, Mary Murigua, Adelberto Jordan, Jane Kelly, Cornelia Pillard, David Barron, Pamela Harris, Jill Pryor.

    B: David Hamilton, Denny Chin, James Wynn, Raymond Lohier, Scott Matheson, James Graves, Bernice Donald, Morgen Christen, Stephanie Thacker, Paul Watford, Robert Bacharach, Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins, Michelle Friedland, Nancy Moritz, Robin Rosenbaum, Gregg Costa, Cheryl Krause, L. Felipe Restrepo

    C: Joseph Greenaway, Rogerlee Thompson, Susan Carney, Henry Floyd, Stephen Higginson, Jacqueline Ngyuen, Patty Schwarz, Sri Srinavasan, Gregory Phillips, Carolyn McHugh, John Owens

    D: Gerald Lynch, Andre Davis, Barbara Keenan, Thomas Vanaskie, Albert Diaz, William Kayatta, Andrew Hurwitz

    F: Christopher Droney, Victoria Nourse*

    The grade for Nourse is for the White House, who dragged their feet in not submitting this nomination until July 2010, which resulted in her not being confirmed. Had Nourse been confirmed, she would have been an A.


    • @Shawn

      Your post finally came through… Lol

      Here’s the changes I would make from your post;

      A – I would move Beverly Martin down to a B just based on age alone but also I don’t believe she was progressive as I would like to give her an A. I know Georgia had two GOP senators but I still can’t give her an A. The rest I agree with.

      B – Without a doubt I would move Robert Wilkins up to an A. A former federal defender & in his late 40’s or 50 at the time of appointment. Hell I think he’s better today then the last two Biden nominees to the DC Circuit even taking his age into account today. No question he should be an A. I really want to say Felipe Restrepo should be an A but due to his 1959 birth year I’ll leave him at B.

      C – I would move Sri Srinavasan up to a B. I would move Patty Schwarz down to a D. New Jersey never seems to disappoint. We could have had a much more progressive nominee even back then.

      D – I’m sure age is a major factor in giving a D to Andre Davis & Andrew Hurwitz but they are so good I still have to upgrade them to a C.

      F – It’s a shame Victoria Nourse wasn’t confirmed. Can we please make sure Rob Johnson is defeated this year. My God do I miss Russ Feingold.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There were a significant number of states where a circuit court seat held open to blue slips. That is my assumption for any seat held by a Trump judge whose predecessor left their seat on or before Dec 31, 2014 (when McConnell took the senate and started a 2 year blockade. This is EXCLUDING seats that were vacated in 2015 or 2016 and filled by a Trump judge

        1st circuit- none
        2nd circuit- none
        3rd circuit- none
        4th circuit- none
        5th circuit- 2 seats in TX. Though Cornyn & Cruz allowed Costa through, they left 2 other seats vacant (vacated in 2012 and 2013), which were eventually filled by Willett & Ho.
        6th circuit- 1 seat in KY, vacated on 8/16/13. McConnell and Paul held it open for Amul Thapar in 2017.
        7th circuit: 1 seat in WI, vacated in 2010. Ron Johnson held it open until 2018
        8th circuit: none
        9th circuit: none
        10th circuit: none
        11th circuit: 1 seat in AL. Seat vacated on 10/26/13, Kevin Newsom took office in 2017. AL senators at the time were Richard Shelby & Jeff Sessions

        5 seats total were held open because of the blue slip rule (assuming it wasn’t just the laziness of Obama-Leahy-Reid). At this rate, unless a bunch of these liberal judges rescind their retirement plans after the Senate flips, there will be more than 5 circuit court seats held open due to the laziness of Biden-Durbin-Schumer. Though to be fair, Biden-Durbin-Schumer likely only have 2 years to do this, while Obama-Leahy-Reid had 6.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So I went back and forth on the A/B line with Wilkins, who was 50. The deciding factor for me was that KBJ was 43 and was at least as progressive as Wilkins.

        I wanted to move Restrepo to an A too, he was Larry Krasner’s law partner and a progressive. But it was a real close call given that he was 56.

        Beverly Martin already had a pretty progressive record as a district judge and was only 54 in a state with 2 GOP senators. I think she is an A for me. Jane Stranch was even older at 57, but was a progressive union side labor lawyer in a state with 2 GOP senators.

        Sri Srinavasan defended Enron and Exxon and had zero progressive credentials when nominated. The Obama admin actually hesitated to nominate him because of progressive pushback. They also considered Neal Katyal who at the time was considered a strong progressive. So the grade of C is justified at time he was nominated.
        It so turns out that Srinavasan has been a pretty solid liberal on the DC Circuit while Katyal has gone on to earn progressive ire by defending anti-labor interests and openly supporting Gorsuch and Kavanaugh for SCOTUS.

        Patty Shwartz was on the C/D border for me, but it is interesting than Menendez opposed her initially. She was clearly Lautenberg’s pick.

        The age factor is just too strong regarding Davis. Hurwitz was 65. Now that I think about it, I would probably prefer a 65 year old Hurwitz over 50 year old moderate. So yes, I’d move that nomination to a C.


      • As we see though, judges thought to be moderate sometimes end up progressive. Fortunately, the reverse is far less frequent. Also, nominating a 60+ year old moderate is really risky since they might not care about letting a Republican replace them, while a 60+ year old progressive is likely to make sure that they don’t get replaced with a far right nut job.

        Shawn, I just saw your reply as I’m writing this, yes you’re right about the 7th Cir. seat. And of course Cruz reneged on that deal, though that would’ve been much harder to predict before he launched his own presidential run.


      • @Shawn

        I would argue KBJ should have gotten a seat on the DC circuit back then over Sri Srinavasan or gave it to her over Patricia Millett who probably could have been nominated to a seat in Maryland or Virginia. But on no way can I not give Wilkins an A. He was the guy who won a case against racial profiling that led to the term “driving while black”, a federal defender & a solid progressive.

        I too wanted Neal Katyal to get a circuit court seat back then. In hindsight it probably is best he wasn’t, given some of his centrist views over the past years. I suspect as a judge he probably would be liberal but why take the chance.

        As for Patty Shwartz, I remember reports back then stated Menendez was against her because her long time boyfriend investigated him in the past. Of course he denied that had anything to do with it but I tend to believe the reports. Either way I was hoping him blocking her worked because New Jersey then (Just like now) has far too many progressive possibilities to have to compromise any picks.

        Finally you know how I feel about the age of judicial nominees. But even I have exceptions. Hurwitz was a lawyer who worked on the draft for Roe v Wade amongst other progressive chops. He’s an exception, especially in a state with GOP senators when blue slips were in play. Him retiring under a Democrat makes me want to raise his grade even higher but if we’re sticking to just knowledge known at the time of nominating, I gotta go with a C.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Ryan Joshi

        The 7th Circ seat has to be considered as laziness by Obama/Leahy. Nourse should have been nominated and confirmed before Ron Johnson entered the Senate.

        Regarding the 5th Circ seats, there was a deal to elevate a Xavier Rodriguez (center-right R) and Marina Marmolejo (liberal D) along with Gregg Costa (moderate D). But Cruz reneged on the deal.


      • George C Hanks Jr is who I want to see nominated to the 5th Circuit based on his stellar qualifications alone. Not to mention that it’s past time for Texas to have a well-qualified African-American on the 5th Circuit. If the Hispanic organizations can advocate for an Hispanic woman to be appointed then it’s equally right for the Black community to speak out for representation as well.


      • Regardless if Cruz reneged on the deal or not in 2013…It was very disappointing & shameful that a well-qualified African-American was not mentioned for one of the 5th Circuit seats under Obama, especially when never in it’s history has Texas had a Black person to serve on the 5th Circuit.


    • @Rick

      No & no. I believe if I remember correctly they were born in 1965 & 1966 respectively. Age alone my answer is no. But besides that, there are simply way too many better options for the 10th Kansas & DC circuit. With no more blue slips in play, that angers me even more that we have gone a year with no Kansas nominee.

      I don’t give a crap about hurting senator Marshall’s feelings. I honestly wish Biden would nominate Lauren Bond but it doesn’t even have to be anybody that great. Lacy Hurst or the failed Kansas diet of appeals nominee even as a white man would be fine by me. But no, not Mr. Six. I actually thought Caitlin Halligan should have been nominated to the New York court of appeals (That states highest court). She would have been better then most of Cuomo’s picks for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hell no. Ideally I would love to shove Lauren Bonds down the throat of Roger Marshall. But I strongly suspect that she would be rejected by the Senate (and get a NQ from the ABA won’t help). And frankly she’s a bit green for the 10th Circuit.

      Realistically either Hansmeier or Carl Folsom (who was unfairly rejected for a seat on the KS Court of Appeals) would be good choices.

      Regarding Halligan, much better and younger choices are available.


      • Ms Bonds couldn’t be anymore green than some of those from the last admin……

        Allison Rushing was in her mid 30’s when confirmed to the 4th Circuit…..Justin Walker certainly wasn’t ready for the powerful DC Circuit…..Naomi Rao should be hosting a show on FOX News……And plenty of others of the last admins nominees were rated not qualified by the ABA…..


      • For me, I could care less about senator Marshall’s feelings. I do however care about senator Manchin’s vote. Unless he committed behind the scenes to voting for Lauren Bonds, I don’t think you take a chance on her getting a vote from Collins or Murkowski.

        Bonds would be the youngest federal judge, circuit or district court, if confirmed. Plus, she is a solid progressive. She would vault to near the top of the list of best Biden circuit court judges if she was confirmed, maybe even go to the top. But I feel she probably won’t be the nominee for the same reason Melissa Murray wasn’t nominated. They are afraid she will be the first no vote from Manchin of the administration.

        Trump was able to install 40- & 30-year-old conservatives in large part because he always had a vote or two to spare all 4 years. Remember he got some no votes form Collins, Murkowski & even Tim Scott sanked some nominees. Biden can’t afford any defections. So as much as I want Lauren Bond to be the nominee, I would be just as happy with Jacy Hurst, Daniel Hansmeier, David Magariel or Carl Folsom if they can’t secure a commitment from Manchin prior to announcing Bond. I would be a lot less happy with Keynen “KJ” Wall though. Not only is he nearing his mid 50’s, not as progressive as the others but they would have to waste time backfilling his seat on the Kansas SCOTUS.


  14. Patrick Leahy clinging to the Blue slip and Obama/Reid not coming down on that was political malpractice at it’s worst and cost us seats on the 5th,6th,7th,10 and 11th Circuits(the 11th could have been flipped) with Victoria Nourse being the worst example.
    To allow one person to hold a seat open for four years when you had control is inexcusable.
    At least we learned our lesson this time but too little too late for those seats.


    • Patrick Leahy was still living in a fantasy world in which Republicans played by norms & traditions in the worlds most deliberative body. As much as I hate the Trump presidency, one good thing that came out of it is they ended blue slips for circuit court nominees. Yea it cost us 54 seats but I think overall Democrats will benefit if we can hold The White House in 2024.

      As much as I am angry at nominees like J Childs & Florence Pan I have to say Biden overall has put some phenomenal appeals court judges on the bench. With a dozen circuit court seats still without a nominee I am hoping at least 8 will be nominees I give an A or B to. I can deal with a few C’s knowing we probably won’t get a nominee that blows my socks off in Montana or Kansas, just no more D’s or F’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What irks me is the George W years showed Republicans weren’t going to act in good faith on blue slips(that is why W’s Michigan nominees were blocked for a time.)
        Leahy thinking that wouldn’t be repeated was beyond stupid.
        As you said, the only good thing is that Democrats learned their lesson this time.
        Shame the price had to be so high but it is what it is.
        I will say this, we may not be thrilled with some of the upcoming nominees but they won’t be horror shows like if a Republican was in charge.
        If nothing else, the 2nd Circuit would be one of the most conservative courts in the country right now if Trump and McConnell were still in charge due to the deaths of two judges on there from the liberal/moderate wing of the court (Robert Katzmann and Peter Hall.)

        Liked by 1 person

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