Judge Mia Perez – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

A Philadelphia native, Judge Mia Perez is part of a four judge package for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


40-year-old Perez received her B.A. degree from Tufts University in 2003 and a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law in 2006. Perez subsequently spent four years as a public defender in Philadelphia before joining Friedman Schuman as an associate. After a year there, Perez opened her own practice, handling criminal defense and family law.

In 2016, Perez was elected to the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas as a Democrat, where she currently serves.

History of the Seat

Perez has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. This seat opened on March 1, 2021, when Judge Timothy Savage moved to senior status.

Legal Experience

Perez started her legal career as a public defender representing indigent clients in the City of Philadelphia. She then spent six years in private practice handling both criminal defense and family law matters. Among her cases, Perez represented Democratic lawmaker Michelle Brownlee, who plead guilty to accepting money from an undercover informant. See Brad Bumsted, 4th Lawmaker Pleads Guilty in Sting Case, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, June 9, 2015.

Perez was also counsel for a co-defendant in a federal robbery case in which Judge Juan Sanchez excluded an out-of-court identification as unduly suggestive. See United States v. Centeno, Criminal Action No. 12-634-2, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85913 (E.D. Pa. June 19, 2013).


From 2016, Perez has served as a Judge on the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, which is the primary trial court in Pennsylvania. As a Judge, Perez presides over cases in civil and criminal matters, as well as domestic relations, juvenile, and family law matters.

Among the matters she handled as a judge, Perez sentenced Blair Hawkins to two years of probation for operating an unlicensed mortuary. See Joseph A. Slobodzian, Unlicensed West Philly Undertaker Sentenced to Two Years’ Probation For Improperly Handling Bodies, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mar. 8, 2017.

Among her legal rulings, Perez suppressed evidence of a gun recovered from a search of a defendant’s purse, ruling that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to frisk the defendant and could not search her purse absent an arrest. See Comm. v. Thomas, 2016 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 604 (Sept. 14, 2016). Perez also upheld a Defendant’s conviction for criminal trespass, finding that there was no statutory requirement that the Commonwealth prove a specific criminal intent in committing the trespass. Comm. v. Quijano, 2017 Phila. Ct. Comm. Pl. LEXIS 338 (Feb. 3, 2017).

In another notable case, Perez dismissed attempted murder charges against a defendant after the complaining witness failed to appear for the preliminary hearing and the Commonwealth attempted to establish probable cause by having the detective testify to statements the witness had made to him. See Comm. v. Harris, 269 A.3d 534 (PA Super. 2022). The Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed Perez’s decision, finding that hearsay could not be the basis of establishing probable cause at a preliminary hearing. See id. at 536.

Political Activity

Perez ran for the bench as a Democrat and has given to the Pennsylvania Democratic party.

Writings and Statements

In 2019, Perez was interviewed (alongside fellow judicial nominee and judge Kai Scott) in an article discussing African American vernacular creating issues with court transcripts and records. See Cassie Owens, Hearing What’s Really Said in Court: Lawyers, Judges Discuss African American English and How Not Understanding It Can Defeat Justice, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 7, 2019.

Overall Assessment

Touted as a “millennial” judge when she was first elected, Perez, while young, has built up a significant reservoir of experience with the law. With the support of her two home state senators, Perez is likely to be confirmed before the end of the Congress.


  1. This is an absolutely terrific pick. 40, a former federal defender, a sitting state court Jussie & Latina. By far the best pick out of the 4 Pennsylvania nominees announced in that one day. I wish the other two district court Democrat picks (Scott & Kelley) were this good. It would have been nice to had replaced them with more progressive nominees like Jasmine Harris, Riley Ross, Sandra Mayson, Nilam Sanghvi or Susan Lin. But this nominee checks all of the boxes I’m looking for in any judicial nominee, let alone one from a purple state.


  2. This is exactly the kind of judge that the Biden regime wants to put in place. She went to Tufts for free because of her ethnicity, and has followed through by making race and Hispanic ethnicity more important than the law in her rulings. Screw the Constitution, BIPOC rules!


    • Ben, I feel fairly confident that these two will ultimately get confirmed. Their hearing date should be in the middle of august and SJC should vote on them in November.

      Last year Biden was ultimately able to get 1/3 of his September 20th nominees confirmed before the end of the year and the other two he could have gotten had Schumer pushed for them (but there was no need given we had a whole other year).

      There’s a tiny bit of time left, but Bidens next batch may be the last ones he gets through this year.


    • WOW… A 41 year old black man to the 10th circuit & a 49 year old black woman to the 4th circuit. And both from red states. I don’t know much about her but the person I wanted to get the seat, Bakari Sellers, said “She is a great jurist,”. “Her workload and intellect make her perfectly suited for this post.” That’s good enough for me for not only a red state, but one in which senator Graham is from.


      • I will say as much flack that I give President Biden, he has really done a good job on the judiciary overall. Prior to him we had 8 black women as circuit court judges.

        He has now nominated 13 black women. And now 2 black men, both 41 years old. Plus 6 AAPI, 5 Hispanic & 2 LGBT circuit court judges. He really deserves some credit & a BRAVO for a job well done overall.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ Dequan

        Regarding ethnic/gender diversity absolutely. (Although I’m sure that someone here thinks they are “making race and Hispanic ethnicity more important than the law”, whatever the hell that means).
        Regarding professional diversity and a progressive background, something Biden promised to do better, not so much.


      • Out of Biden’s 36 circuit court nominees, I have the following count when it comes to professional diversity;

        Federal defenders – 9

        ACLU, Brennen Center for Justice, American Constitution Society, Southern Poverty Law Center & Innocence Project – 4

        Union organizer – 1

        Reproduction Rights attorney – 1

        And none of the above even includes Roopali Desai or Rachel Bloomekatz.


      • Certainly two solid nominees, though I fail to see much of a progressive background in either CV (but there is not much information available yet tbh). Unfortunately, both smell a bit of nepotism (Cleaver’s son-in-law and Columbia mayor’s wife), which could endanger confirmation so late in time.


  3. I had come across DeAndrea Benjamin’s name before but never put her on my list since I didn’t think she was as likely a pick as some others. I had never heard of Wamble but definitely not complaining. That leaves only 5 appellate court vacancies with no nominee:
    -1st Circuit (New Hampshire)
    -4th Circuit (Baltimore)
    -5th Circuit (Texas)
    -7th Circuit (northern Indiana)
    -9th Circuit (Montana)

    Liked by 2 people

    • @Ethan

      That’s ok. Your list is phenomenal & I view it almost daily. I too wouldn’t have thought Benjamin would be a likely nominee but we have to remember the 4th circuit was always going to be the hardest to predict because of senator Graham. I’m actually very pleased we got her for that seat. I was expecting it to be a bad pick.

      As for Wamble, a great pick. A 41 year old black man from a SOLID Democrat family. He would have been good pick from a blue state, let alone Kansas. Between this & hearing Andre Mathis’s name finally uttered out of Schumer’s mouth Sunday, this is the best week for black men regarding the circuit courts since January 2014.


      • Again I really strongly disagree with this as I did with Andre Mathis.

        “He would have been good pick from a blue state, let alone Kansas.”

        Wamble has no clear progressive record. Age is only a bonhus for me if you already have a progressive record. Being from a Democratic family isn’t a progressive record. Wamble would be a C from a blue state for now. He is a run of the mill AUSA.


      • @Shawn

        S I don’t think Jabari Wamble is a flaming liberal by any means. I’m excited because he is a nominee in a red state with Biden seemingly giving GOP senators real input into circuit court nominees post-Mathis. So with him being a 41 year old black man, that’s a good start.

        Now him being from a Democrat family of course doesn’t mean he will be cut from the same cloth, however I doubt Rep. Clever would be recommending any conservative family members to Biden.

        Now as for his record itself, of course you & I differ on somebody being an AUSA means they automatically are no good. We just don’t see eye to eye in that respect. I couldn’t find much on him but from what I see, he prosecuted medical fraud & is a board member for the Crittenton Children’s Center. So nothing too progressive but I would say more then likely he’s probably going to end up good.


      • @Dequan

        That’s fine. What I strongly objected to is your claim that he (as with Mathis) would have been a good pick from a blue state. That I blatantly disagree with. He’d be at best average (hence a C).

        And I have not said AUSA means automatically no good. I have supported progressive selections like J. Michael Diaz and Jamal Whitehead who were AUSAs. My point is that they are overrepresented in the judiciary.
        OTOH, management lawyers and those who represent polluters are basically no good.


      • I can’t speak for Wamble yet, but I think Mathis would have been a good pick if he was from New York or California. There could have of course been better, no doubt.

        But a 41 year old black man (When we have only had now two in the past 8 years), that worked pro bono at The Innocence Project (Their work means a lot to me so I hold that pro bono work in high esteem) is a good pick in any of the 50 states in my view.

        I don’t mind him being a law partner for instance. He has to make money, we all do. Now if he was out there solely locking up black & brown people for using marijuana, arguing against abortion rights pre-Dobbs or other work as a law partner similar to that then I would feel he is not a good pick. But looking at his background, I wouldn’t have any issue at all with Mathis being a blue state pick. I would probably give him a B+ & certainly a higher grade then at least 5 circuit court nominees Biden has put fourth without Republican senators & that’s not counting the Federal Circuit.

        But we are definitely aligned when it comes to the needed pick for the 5th (Texas) seat. I think we will end up being disappointed however. If I had to guess, we will probably get one of the current district court judges or some nominee that doesn’t make Cruz head explode if I had to guess.


    • -For the NH seat, I’ve put two attorneys from Shaheen & Gordon (the Shaheen is Jeanne Shaheen’s husband) on my list. Tracey Goyette Cole (1969) specializes in family law but clerked for a 4th Circuit Judge (Francis Murnaghan). There has never been a woman on the 1st Circuit from NH before.
      -The other Shaheen & Gordon attorney I put on my list is Ron Abramson (1968). He is a CJA panel member and former state public defender, and also a former Fulbright Scholar. He would also be another first, as he is Hispanic (born in Chile and a naturalized US citizen).
      -While I haven’t yet (but maybe soon) put Samantha Elliott on my list, I wouldn’t put it past Biden to elevate her.

      We’ve discussed the Baltimore seat plenty. As I’ve said before, Tejinder Singh would be my top pick, but I doubt he will be the pick, as he switched law firms in the last year. But he would be history making as the first Sikh federal judge.
      -I think elevating George Hazel (as he is a black man and the youngest Obama appointee) is the most likely scenario, even though it’s not what I would do.
      -While I don’t feel that we need for AUSAs (especially fro blue states) on appellate courts, Elizabeth Wright (as well as other leaders of the USAO in Maryland may have a shot: https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/maryland-united-states-attorney-s-office-announces-supervisory-appointments).
      -Paula Xinis being elevated is another possibility since she was a former clerk to Motz (the retiring judge). She is a former federal defender and would’ve been great a few years ago, but not today with a 1968 birth year.
      -I’ve also mentioned Paresh Patel (1971), the Chief of Appeals for the Maryland Federal Defender’s office, and while he’d be another first on the 4th circuit, he wouldn’t be my first pick.
      -Finally, Jessie Weber (1983), a civil rights/ plaintiffs attorney at Brown Goldstein & Levy would be an excellent pick, as she is also a former ACLU of Maryland board member, but with her age, she might be considered for a district court seat first.

      We’ve also discussed the Texas seat plenty. I’ve also said before the Amparo Guerra (1977) of the Texas First District Court of Appeals would be my top pick. She would be the first Latina on the Fifth Circuit, and I do think the pick will be Latina. She also would be based out of Houston (like the retiring Costa), but I don’t think the nominee will necessarily be from the Houston area.
      -There are several other Houston-based Texas Court of Appeals judges that could receive consideration, but I don’t think they will be picked for this seat since they are not Latina. They are: Sarah Beth Landau, Frances Bourliot, and Meagan Hassan. They have pretty progressive backgrounds and Bourliot is Asian-American.
      -If the person doesn’t come from the Houston area, it will probably be from the San Antonio area, El Paso area, or the Rio Grande Valley. Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals Chief Judge Rebecca Martinez (1967) would be a good Latina pick, but I would hope Biden doesn’t pick someone older than Costa was. Although I think I remember @Shawn saying he would take Nina Perales’ age (1966) given how progressive she is.
      -Southern District of Texas Magistrate judges Diana Song Quirago (1976 with a Laredo duty station) and Nadia Medrano (1981 with a McAllen duty station) are both young and progressive. Not sure if Song Quiroga is Asian-American or Latina, but she is progressive, as she used to work for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Medrano is Latina and a former Federal Defender.

      -The northern Indiana 7th Circuit seat is one that hasn’t been discussed on here as much. Hard to find strong progressives who are also young.
      -Northern District USAO Appellate Chief David Hollar (1975) may be a good choice, as he clerked for 7th Circuit Judge Diane Wood. https://www.luc.edu/law/faculty/facultyandadministrationprofiles/hollar-david.shtml
      -AUSA Abizer Zanzi (1979) Chief of the General Crimes unit of the same office could also be a possibility. I don’t see anything progressive in his background, but he would be a first. https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/emerging-leaders/abizer-zanzi

      -We’ve discussed the 9th Circuit Montana seat, but it’s been a while.
      -Anthony Johnstone (1973) is a former Thomas clerk and former Montana State Solicitor who is currently a Law Professor and he has also advised the American Constitution Society.
      -Andrew Nelson (1972) is an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Montana who has clerked at the Montana Supreme Court.
      -Randy Tanner (1979) is an AUSA in Montana who is also a former Thomas clerk. Nothing super progressive, but interestingly, he has a Master’s in Resource Conservation and a Ph.D. in Forestry with a concentration in Natural Resource Policy.
      -I doubt ACLU of Montana Legal Director Alex Rate (1972) will be picked, but his name belongs in the discussion.
      -I certainly hope that Bullock-appointed Montana Supreme Court Justice Jim Shea (1966) is not picked, as he is older and the Republican Governor would get to pick his replacement.
      -I will also mention Jordan Crosby (1979) (https://uazh.com/jordan-crosby/) as she would be the first female 9th Circuit Judge from Montana. She is on the board of the Federal Defenders of Montana and clerked for a federal Magistrate Judge.
      -I certainly hope Susan Watters (1958), the Obama-appointed District Judge who is the first female federal judge from Montana, is not elevated, as she is too old.
      -Finally, I will mention former Bullock General Counsel and Democratic nominee for Montana AG Raph Graybill (1989). He is most likely considered too young (as he graduated law school in 2015, and I think <12 years out of law school is almost always an automatic "not qualified" rating from the ABA) but he has a stellar resume, being a former Rhodes Scholar. Maybe he'll get this seat after whoever succeeds Thomas.


  4. Bravo, Biden!
    I can never be accused of being a Biden sycophant, but give credit where credit is due!
    This week has produced the most movement on my list of 4 hardline demands. I might add more if two are realized in September. I hope Sen. Tester/WH isn’t letting Daines hold up on the Montana seat.

    My 4 demands
    1: Confirm Andre Mathis (progress)
    2: Nominate and confirm for the 10th Circuit KS vacancy (progress)
    3: Confirm Dale Ho
    4: Nominate someone younger than 49 to replace Gregg Costa. Preferably, a Latina.

    Pushing for Dale Ho now goes to the top of my list. (I call Schumer’s office every week about it!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • @Gavi

      That is a GREAT list. Your number 1 was my number one. You probably knew that from my 3,129 days since a black man has been confirmed to a circuit court countdown… Lol

      Here is my updated top five judiciary list;

      1. Hold additional SJC hearings with additional nominees per hearing.
      2. Discharge all pending tied SJC nominees.
      3. Confirm all circuit court nominees.
      4. Get nominees from Biden for at least 4 of the 5 pending circuit court vacancies without a nominee. I will cut him some slack if we don’t get a nominee before the midterms for Kanne’s seat since he just died a couple months ago & the Indiana senators did work in good faith to fill the other vacancy. Although I wish he would just nominate Mario Garcia or Zackary Myers.
      5. Get nominees for all district court vacancies from blue states before the midterms.

      On a side note, it’s ridiculous that 2 of the pending 5 circuit court vacancies are from blue states. New Ha[shire & Maryland really needs to get those seats filled.

      One additional side note, I hope out of the 5 pending circuit court vacancies without a nominee, at least 2 are Hispanic. I think we missed golden opportunities for the 2nd & 7th circuits but can still get a couple added.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not super worried about the 4th MD or 9th MT seats not being filled since Motz & Thomas are remaining active Circuit Judges until their successors are confirmed. 1st NH, 5th TX, and 7th IN are either already vacant or will become vacant very soon. 5th TX is most important to me b/c when Costa leaves, the 5th Cir. will not only have 0 Latino judges but will also have 0 Dem appointees from TX (and there are 9 seats from TX).


    • 1. Near-certain. Mathis will be confirmed as long as a specific 14 Dem senators survive (the 14 who represent states with GOP governors)
      2. Possible. I think it will be difficult to get the 10th KS nominee confirmed in time by the end of this year.
      3. Dale Ho will be confirmed so long as Manchin agrees. It’s unclear whether Manchin is a holdout; Manchin has not voted down a nominee on the floor but possibly is privately tanking nominees and Schumer not bringing them to a vote in order to boast a 100% confirmation record for nominees who get a floor vote.
      4. Won’t happen unless Democrats hold the Senate after the midterms. There simply isn’t enough time.


  5. My judiciary requirements.

    1. Get floor votes on Rachel Bloomekatz, Nancy Abudu, and Arianna Freeman before the midterms.
    2. Confirm (at least) 8-10 circuit court nominees before the midterms/
    3. Give all progressive district judges who have been given a hearing a vote before the midterms.
    4. Give Julie Rikelman a hearing in the last hearing before the midterms.
    5. Nominate progressives for the Texas and Maryland seats, in the former someone that Ted Cruz strongly opposes. (Would prefer it if Cruz is not even consulted.)

    I’m not going to say that the nominees have to be confirmed because there isn’t a damn thing that the Democrats can do if Manchin decides to vote no. But the leadership can do discharges on everyone, and if the discharge fails, then so be it.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m hoping that the 5th Circuit Nominee replacing Costa in Houston:

        1st be from Houston

        2nd be a solid well-qualified, experienced, & well-respected jurist who can work across the aisle with the most conservative Circuit in the Nation

        3rd be a Black Male or Female because never ever in Texas History has an African-American been appointed to serve on the 5th Circuit; whereas, at least 3 Hispanics have been given that honor

        4th be a non-controversial candidate who will sail through the Confirmation process with bi-partisan support


      • @Shawn

        While I know @Angie will disagree with me, George Hanks would be the third worst circuit court Biden nominee in my opinion if he was chosen for the 5th (TX). I would even put Khan ahead of him despite me hating her getting picked near 60 & over Cristina Rodriguez & Justin Driver.

        I actually don’t want to see any Obama district court nominees picked from Texas. Those seats will either not get filled or filled with a compromise pick along with the other vacancies.


      • @Dequan

        I would give Hanks a F and put him only ahead of J. Michelle Childs. He would be awful even as a compromise choice with a GOP Senate.

        I don’t like that Kahn is 58. But she has a progressive background. I think it’s really unfair to Kahn to put her in the same category as George Hanks, even accounting for CT being a blue state.


      • I would give Hanks a F+ if he was the nominee, particularly after that article I sent on another thread that stated he was considered for the 5th circuit under GW Bush. That on top of his age, having to replace his district court seat with blue slips & bypassing all of the better options in Texas would make him a disastrous pick.

        Oh & I wasn’t saying Khan would be my second worst, I was saying Florence Pan after Childs would be the only two worst then him. And now that I really think about it, as much as I hate the Pan nomination, I would probably put even her ahead of Hanks too so I would agree with you, he would be my second worst.


      • Emmanuel Cleaver was an early Biden backer in the primary. It use to be customary that when a state has two senators from the president’s opposite party, they would get input from House members of their party on judicial vacancies.

        I would love to see some of the names Marshall & Moran recommended if any. If they did, most likely 1 or 2 from the Kansas Supreme Court or other state courts. Even though Kansas had a Democrat governor, I’m happy to see this nominee not be a state judge as I’m sure the Republican senate would give her a difficult time replacing that seat.


      • @Dequan

        Except that Cleaver is a Missouri congressman, not from Kansas. Sharice Davids is the Kansas congresswoman, and she ought to have been the point person in this process. It’s very possible that she was, but I’m really tired of this kind of political patronage and nepotism for judicial nominees.
        I grant that it is maybe unfair to Wamble, he may well be completely qualified for this seat on his (as Benjamin certainly is). But this is an awful look to put two family members of influential politicians.

        Waiting for Kevin Collins to show up here and defend this sort political patronage…


      • @Shawn

        I respect your view on political patronage & if you would have asked me before January 20, 2017, I probably would have agreed with you. But after 4 years of Trump appointees I no longer hold that view. Right now I am for just about anything LEGAL that will put young progressives on the bench.

        If Jim Cluburn has tried to put Holly Thomas on the Supreme Court instead of J Childs, I would have been on the phone with Demand Justice & Alliance for Justice having a totally different conversation then the ones I had with them. Not because your stance is wrong (It’s not). But because my goal now is to pack the court with young progressives at all cost.


      • @Dequan

        It is one thing if the nominee is a qualified progressive regardless of the patronage. For example, I have no problem with Sherrod Brown pushing Rachel Bloomekatz (even though he supposedly considers her as family) because Bloomekatz would have been a strong selection regardless. Same with Holly Thomas.

        But Wamble isn’t in that category. His academic background isn’t stellar as far as I know. I don’t know what he did as an AUSA, and it’s very possible that experience would make him clearly qualified. The one thing I do know is that he has no progressive credentials.
        As far as Benjamin, she is clearly qualified and has progressive credentials. Fine. I’m sure that being married to former mayor of Columbia, SC helped her, but she would have been worthy of consideration regardless.

        I don’t entirely disagree that I would be willing to tolerate patronage for someone who is progressive, and maybe willing to bend the qualification requirement a little after Trump. I mean hypothetically if say Lauren Bonds were Cleaver’s daughter-in-law and she was selected on that basis, I probably would have been ok with it.


      • Well I can kind of agree with you on Wamble right now. I have searched & not been able to find much else from what I wrote yesterday. But I am going to hold out hope that Clever wants what I want in the judiciary & made sure his son in me is in that vain. He certainly wouldn’t have been the nominee if it wasn’t for his family connections (He probably could have been considered for the district court seat), but if he spits out liberal decisions on the bench for the next 40 years, I’m good… Lol


    • @Rick

      Yesssirrr. I found out how to get the correct licensing Wikipedia requires to put pictures up of living people so the pictures should be good to stay now. I stayed up all weekend long putting each of them up. It’s a LOT of work but I use Wikipedia even more then I use this site so I really wanted each of the judges & nominees to have their pics up. I was able to get all of Biden’s that have had a SJC meeting so far, all but a handful of Trump’s & most of Obama’s. The SJC site has an error on some of the videos, most before 2013 so I have reached out to them twice to see if they can fix it. But at least most of the pics are up now. Enjoy as much as me

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lindsey Graham is noncommittal on Judge Benjamin…

    It’s certainly not a Todd Young of Indiana level endorsement. I wonder who Graham wanted that Biden could have reasonably nominated but ended up not going with?
    It doesn’t matter to me, of course: I’m a 50+1 vote/no blue slip kind of person. But I am curious because with this long vacancy, we all assumed Biden was taking his time to wait for Graham.
    I still expect him to return his blue slip and possibly vote for Benjamin in Committee, though.


    • @Gavi

      I would love for Pelosi to introduce articles of impeachment for Judge Hurd when The Hosue returns Friday. I know she won’t, but it would bring me such great joy if she did. Maybe get some Republicans on board & threaten him with working all those years to get in his 80’s & leave with nothing. Then he will know how he made Jorge Rodriguez feel for a few weeks before he’s not convicted by the senate.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Grades:

    DeAndrea Benjamin- A-. Former attorney in a plaintiffs law firm and state court judge. Given that they needed to appeal to Graham, I think this is a pretty good nominee from a red state. Tempted to reduce to B+ based on possible nepotism, although she is plenty qualified on her own.

    Jabari Wamble: B-. No progressive background. Not bad for a red state like Kansas, but not so great either. Should not have bothered to get Moran’s support.


    • @Shawn beat me to it. I was just about to write my grades for both of them now that I have gotten a chance to read up more on them.

      DeAndrea Benjamin: B+… A 49-year-old sitting state court African American judge in the home state of senator Graham was more then I was expecting. I initially was going to give her a little lower grade, but now that I see she lost out on a promotion to the South Carolina court of appeals just last year because Republicans campaigned hard against her for being too liberal, I’m going to up her slightly. But at the end of the day this was the seat I was expecting the least from out of all of the circuit court vacancies. I don’t even think out of the 36 nominees, she would even be in my bottom 5.

      Jabari Wamble: B-… As I mentioned earlier there isn’t too much of a progressive background on him, even on his own LinkedIn. But I’m giving him high grades because I’m sure his Democrat father-in-law, the longest serving congressman in Missouri, wouldn’t have recommended him if he wasn’t progressive. I just don’t see that even for the husband of his daughter for such an important seat. Throw in him being the second black man in 8 years nominated to any circuit court & him being 41, I’m going to go with my gut here more than any other circuit court nominee to date from Biden. I wouldn’t be surprised if I up this grade later upon further information.


  8. So I thought Durbin and Grassley were supposed to be talking about adding more nominations hearings…..Now, there could be a nominations hearing where a few senators would come in and question nominees, but nothing has been scheduled..

    Looks like it will be same old story, when GOP is in power, hearings during recess and in Oct of a presidential election year….When Democrats are in power, no extra hearings what so ever…



    • @Rick

      I remember reading the article & Durbin said canceling the August recess isn’t gonna happen but they were working on something else. I am hoping that means a hearing in 3 or 4 straight weeks when they return in September and/or more then 5 nominees per hearing. Other options could include 3 panels instead of just 2 per hearing or more then one hearing per week.

      But I highly doubt the same old one hearing every other week with 5 nominees will continue when they return in September. I have more faith in Durbin then that. But I agree with you they should have held at least one hearing during August.


      • Impeach that piece of shit. Rodriguez even said he has every intention on being in the Utica courthouse. I know Biden had a lot on his plate & could fill the rest of the year confirming all of his other nominees but I would take a stand here just for precedent. If a memo stating once a president has accepted a resignation is the law of the land then I hope he pushes Rodriguez through. This should be the seat where this crap stops.


      • Also, he voted against vaccine mandates, so even if the Democrats wanted to impeach (and they have much bigger worries than one little district court seat), the Republicans likely wouldn’t go for it just based on something so little and inconsequential.


      • Can’t see the forest for the tree.
        Like our entire system of justice, impeaching Hurd wouldn’t JUST be a retributive act but a preventative one.
        Yes, this behavior is absolutely inappropriate for a sitting judge and deserves to be punished, even if ultimately impeachment fails in the US Senate.
        More importantly, opening impeachment proceedings against Hurd also sends a message to others that retirement ultimatums won’t be tolerated.
        An added benefit is that it would darken his service on the bench, even if he’s acquitted.
        I just hope that nothing comes out about him not being happy about anything to do with Rodriguez the person.
        I see no downside in impeaching him.
        It’s a shame that this is happening during the Biden administration and not during the administration of a more assertive president.
        This is one of the worst story on the judiciary this year!
        And no, it’s not little and inconsequential.


      • Absolutely Gavi. And I was for impeachment before Rodriguez said he has every intention of being in the Utica duty station. But now that he said that & Hurd still is rescinding, there absolutely needs to be a message sent here.

        Every other recent incident that was similar had a major difference. In the cases of judge Kanne, King & Rowlins, no nominee had been announced. Allowing this to stand would mean every federal judge has the right to pick their successor which can not be tolerated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s amazing that people don’t understand how dangerous this is. Imagine for a second every district court judge conditioning their retirement upon the appointment of a successor from particular locations, background, legal practice. So, Hurd makes a duty station point that you agree with; what stops another judge from making another condition? On what principle would you disagree with that other judge, after agreeing with Hurd? Where do you draw the line?
        The WH spends an enormous amount of time and energy consulting and vetting candidates for vacancies. It’s so unfair to them and the named nominee. How is this not self-evident?


      • I think that it is better for the Senate to pass legislation that will help ordinary Americans. In addition, impeachment proceedings would take away time from confirming judges and other nominees, which will come to a halt assuming that the Republicans will take back the Senate in 2023.


      • For King’s seat, I know that he had wanted his clerk, former Senator Carte Goodwin (1974) to be his successor. But then Biden was planning to nominate personal injury attorney J. Jeaneen Legato (1969). Supposedly she is close with Manchin (and that didn’t sit well with King), but her boutique law firm is so small it doesn’t even have a website. I would’ve honestly preferred Goodwin anyway, but the White House acquiescing to King would not look good.


      • @Ethan

        I too would have rather Carte Goodwin. He’s about as progressive as you can expect from West Virginia, younger then J. Jeaneen Legato & probably from the most powerful family in the state. I think keeping them on the good side of Democrats would be smart. Plus his records seems to be light years better then anything I could find on her.

        But as you said the problem is when King made his request made public that pretty much killed any chances of him being nominated. As I said earlier you can’t set the precedent that allows outgoing judges to pick their successor, even if it’s somebody you wanted. I agreed with letting King stay in his seat until he dies over giving in to him.


      • @Shawn

        I 1000% agree with you on this one. Even if it fails it would be worth it. I might even consider making a one person hearing for Rodriguez on an off Monday or Friday & once voted out of the SJC send a cloture motion the same day. This should be that serious.


      • Behind the scenes I would be working with governor Hocul to see if she would appoint Rodriguez to the NY Supreme Court (Or whatever the Hell they call it) as a backup. He would be on day one the best Justice on that court anyway. But I would still move forward with the district court nomination just to challenge the bs.


  9. It keeps getting worse. Hurd makes Michael Kanne’s move look tame. For Kanne, Trump was like “Hey Michael, I know you’ve been a great conservative, so would you please take senior status so I can cement my mark on the 7th circuit? By the way, we’ll let you pick your successor if you agree to semi-retire”.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. @Dequan

    A response to some of your other comments in this thread that I didn’t get to.

    “He has to make money, we all do. Now if he was out there solely locking up black & brown people for using marijuana, arguing against abortion rights pre-Dobbs or other work as a law partner similar to that then I would feel he is not a good pick.”

    And what I’m saying is that management lawyers who spend most of their career defending corporations who are sued for racial/gender discrimination or engage in union busting belong in the same category. As should those who regularly defended class actions. And as such, I don’t think Andre Mathis is better than a D in a blue state, even with his Innocence Project background.
    I made this point with Jerry Blackwell (whose pro bono background is far better than Mathis). He was great on police brutality issues, but horrendous when it came to employment law and corporate power.


    • So if an individual law partner or lawyer for a firm (Like Jerry Blackwell) had that type of background, I would definitely think that’s a mark against them. When I reviewed Andre Mathis record, I didn’t see too many cases in which he personally was in the same category as Blackwell. Of course he had your standard big law firm record but I don’t remember seeing the kind of cases like Christine O’Hearn &, Karen Williams had working against interest & people I value the most.

      So when I factor in Mathis work with the Innocence Project(Which is a HUGE deal to me), him being one of only two black men nominated to any circuit court in 8 years & him being 41, that puts him high on my list regardless of what state. Of course for Tennessee he gets even higher marks but even for a blue state I think he’s good.


      • So Andre Mathis was a partner at his pro-management law firm (just like J. Michelle Childs was at hers). I did take a closer look at Mathis’ record, and you are somewhat right, most of his employment cases are defending public institutions (rather than corporations) who allegedly violated civil rights laws. But there are still several cases where he defended class action lawsuits on behalf of corporations including 5 years as a law partner. And a couple cases of being representing corporations in union busting early on in his career.
        I’m not saying he shouldn’t be confirmed, Mathis certainly does have progressive credentials on criminal law issues. But I do not see him as any great selection for the Circuit Court, and he would be totally unacceptable to me from NY or CA.


      • So far out of Bide’s 36 circuit court nominees, the only ones I would out right vote no on would be Childs & Pan. I would hold my nose & vote for Koh because she was nominated y Obama & never given a vote, John Lee even though there were younger & more progressive choices & Maria Khan based solely on her age. But the latter three I would consider voting present


      • @Dequan

        For me, a grade of F means I would vote no on them as I would rather leave the seat open than have that person be a judge.

        So Childs is the only circuit court judge I would clearly vote no on. Even Pan is better than leaving the seat open, but J. Michelle Childs is the only nominee that I would rather leave the seat open rather than have her on the bench.
        If George Hanks were to be nominated for the 5th Circuit, I would be a HELL NO on him as well.

        There are a bunch of district court judges I would have voted no on. O’Hearn, Regina Rodriguez, Estudillo, Karen Williams, Bridget Brennan, Huie, Rearden, Kelley Hodge, Locher, Ballou, and Rita Lin. Perhaps some others.


      • Bridget Brennan & Steven Locher are from purple states so as long as blue slips are in play I’m fine with the both of them. Rita Lin isn’t that bad to me albeit I would have chosen Cecilia Wang. But I wouldn’t vote no on her.

        Regina Rodriguez I would have given deference to as she was an Obama nominee that never got a vote. Thankfully Colorado had four more vacancies after her & each new nominee has been better. The other district court names you mentioned I would either vote no or present on.

        I forgot to mention one thing on my last post regarding possible retirements over the next two years. I think every 5th & 8th circuit Biden nominee should probably be a woman. The 5th only has 4 (Soon to be 5) woman out of 17 judges. The 8th only has one woman. I expect Biden to mimic what he did on the 3rd circuit on either of those courts.


  11. Looking at possible retirements for the Circuit Courts in 2023-24 if the Democrats hold the Senate. In addition to the 5 that have not yet been filled.


    1st- William Kayatta

    3rd- Joseph Greenaway

    4th- James Wynn

    5th- Carl Stewart, James Graves

    6th- Karen Nelson Moore, Eric Clay,

    7th- Iliana Rovner

    9th- Kim Wardlaw

    10th- Scott Matheson

    11th- Charles Wilson

    Possible (anyone over 80 is included here)

    4th: Robert King, Paul Niemeyer, J. Harvie Wilkinson

    5th- Leslie Southwick

    6th- Julia Smith Gibbons, Jane Stranch

    8th- James Loken, Bobby Shepherd

    9th- Ronald Gould, Johnnie Rawlinson, Milan Smith

    10th- Harris Hartz, Robert Bacharach

    DC-Karen Henderson


    • I think politically charged retirements will dramatically decrease. Like in the Trump presidency, most judges who took senior status for political reasons did so in the first year or two. There were far less vacancies in the appeals courts in 2019-20 (though in 2019 Trump filled a lot of seats that were vacated in 2017/18 or even 2015/16). Most of the appeals court vacancies in 2019/20 were due to the incumbent either dying or taking senior status immediately upon becoming eligible.


    • When it comes to possible circuit court judges retiring over the next two years if Dems hold the senate, of course I hope any judge over 80 today ends up retiring. I’m particularly hoping for at least two Republican appointees on each of the 5th & 8th circuits. We really need to start making a dent on both those courts. Even with two flips on each of those courts there’s little hope for the next decade but at least begin to make a dent.

      I expect the Federal circuit would have at least two vacancies over the next two years. I don’t see much if any vacancies in the 1st, 2nd or 11th circuits. Hopefully we get a little luck with some flips on the 6th & 7th. There will definitely be some 9th circuit vacancies. That court is just too big to go two years without a vacancy. Hopefully it will be at least one of the GW Bush judges.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. @Mitch

    Jabari Wamble worked hand in hand with the FBI & US Postal Inspector prosecuting various cases. He prosecuted bank robbers, wire fraud & embezzlement offenders in numerous cases. He also successfully argued a judge to withdraw bond for an offender that was let out but showed they were a danger to the community.

    Not much but that’s what I was able to find reviewing some of his cases. I would forward the cases here to you but you need a subscription to read the cases. I found a way to open them without buying the subscription though… Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a horrible selection. This is equivalent to appointing Dana Douglas in CA. Guerrero spent most of her career defending polluters of the environment. I would go as far to say that this is not much of an upgrade than the current chief justice. I would vote against her retention. I would have even preferred Martin Jenkins.

      Kelli Evans is fine, not the best, but she is pretty progressive.


      Patricia Guerrero: F.

      Kelli Evans: B.


      • I pretty much agree with you here Shawn. I’m fine with the Chief Justice being Hispanic, but not this Hispanic. She’s barely left of center according to the article. He could have easily found another state court judge for such an important position.

        As much as I hate Martin Jenkins age, I would have rather him for 12 years as Chief then Guerrero for 24 or 36 years. Jerry Brown would not have made this Chief Justice pick. Sad California is one of the states with term limits. I like a lot of what governor Newsome does but just like New York, a solid blue state should have a governor that is better at picking young progressive judges to its highest court.

        Patricia Guerrero: D+ (For Chief Justice)

        Kelli Evans: B+


      • “not much of an upgrade” honestly it’s a downgrade. Cantil-Sakauye has shown herself to be a qualified, fair, and even-handed Chief Justice, and calls out injustices when she sees them (such as the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant stance).


      • There’s no way I should be able to find a Trump appointee that I would rather see Joe Biden nominate to the Supreme Court if there was a vacancy tomorrow then ANY of Galvin Newsome’s California SCOTUS Justices. I would rather see Stephanie Davis (Originally appointed by Trump to the district court) then at least 2 of Newsome’s 3 appointments. Hell there may even be some GW Bush appointees I would rather see if I really thought about it. What a missed opportunity…smh

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Ryan Joshi

        While Cantil-Sakauye is very respectable and centrist for a GOP nominee, she is exactly that, a GOP nominee. It is possible, but unlikely that Guerrero is actually to the right of her. I see Guerrero as basically a Florence Pan type, which is unacceptable in CA, rather than someone who is actually center-right like J. Michelle Childs or David Estudillo.


        Stephanie Davis doesn’t count as a Trump nominee IMO, since she was nominated by the Democratic senators as part of a deal. Davis was a ACS Michigan chapter leader. Despite being a AUSA (and the deputy to a strongly liberal US Attorney in Barb McQuade), she’s proven to be pretty liberal on the bench. Far from my first choice, but not terrible.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m worried about what Hochul will do with the vacancy on our high court in New York.
      It’s such a shame that the governors of the two most important Dem states can’t get judicial appointments right. But it’s symptomatic of the place that the judiciary has in Dem politic. Yes, this is oft-stated but no less lamentable.


  13. After all the talk of governor Newsome replacing a Republican judge with a judge possibly just as good, if not worse, I thought I would do my own comparisons. I went though each of Biden’s 36 circuit court nominees & will give my opinion as to if I think they are more liberal, conservative or just about the same as the judge they are replacing. Let me know which ones you disagree with, as I am not as well versed in many judges before I got interested in the judiciary before the 2000 presidential election. Keep in mind I am including everything known up until today (Not just the day they were nominated).

    1. Ketanji Brown Jackson – More liberal then Garland.
    2. Candace Jackson-Akiwumi – More liberal then Flaum.
    3. Tiffany P. Cunningham – N/A for federal circuit but my guess would be more liberal Wallach.
    4. Eunice C. Lee – More liberal then Katzmann.
    5. Veronica S. Rossman – More liberal then Lucero.
    6. Gustavo Gelpí – More liberal then Torruella.
    7. Myrna Pérez – More liberal then Chin.
    8. Beth Robinson – More liberal then Hall.
    9. Toby J. Heytens – More liberal then Keenan.
    10. Lucy Koh – More conservative then Paez.
    11. Jennifer Sung – This was my toughest one. I may need more time to answer here but for now I will call hera tie with Graber.
    12. Gabriel P. Sanchez – More conservative then Berzon.
    13. Holly A. Thomas – More liberal then Fletcher.
    14. Leonard P. Stark – N/A for federal circuit but my guess would be he’s about the same as O’Malley.
    15. Alison Nathan – More liberal then Pooler.
    16. Stephanie D. Davis – More liberal then Rosen.
    17. J. Michelle Childs – More conservative then Tatel.
    18. Roopali Desai – This is another tough one for me. I will say for now about the same as Hurwitz but has great potential to surpass him to the left.
    19. John Z. Lee – More conservative then Wood.
    20. Andre Mathis – Probably more liberal then Donald.
    21.Arianna J. Freeman – More liberal then McKee.
    22. Salvador Mendoza Jr. – For now I will say about the same as McKeown.
    23. Sarah A. L. Merriam – More liberal then Carney.
    24. Lara Montecalvo – About the same as Thompson.
    25. Florence Y. Pan – More conservative then KBJ.
    26. Doris Pryor – Maybe slightly more conservative then Hamilton.
    27. Nancy Abudu – More liberal then Martin.
    28. Rachel Bloomekatz – More liberal then Cole Jr.
    29. Brad Garcia – More liberal then Rogers.
    30. Dana Douglas – More conservative the Denis.
    31. Tamika Montgomery-Reeves – More liberal then Ambro.
    32. Cindy K. Chung – More liberal then Smith.
    33. Julie Rikelman – More liberal then Lynch.
    34. Maria Araújo Kahn – More liberal then Cabranes.
    35. DeAndrea Gist Benjamin – More liberal then Floyd even though he was pretty good for a GW Bush appointee.
    36. Jabari Wamble – I do not have enough data so for now I will say the same as Briscoe but I am more then willing to bet he will end up more liberal.

    So out of 36 nominees, I have Biden moving seats to the left for 21 of them for sure. I have 6 seats more conservative now for sure. The remaining 9 are too close to call for me. Tell me what you all think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 11. I would say Sung will likely be well to the left of Graber. Graber was more to the conservative side on immigration & criminal justice issues.

      13. I think it’s very hard to be left of Fletcher. Fletcher was pretty much the most liberal judge on the 9th circuit except for Pregerson & Reinhardt.

      While I don’t have a lot of info on the others, I don’t think very many Biden appointees will be way to the left of their predecessors unless their predecessor was conservative or centrist.

      Also I guess it’s a bit early given KBJ’s decided no cases on SCOTUS besides the one immigration shadow docket case, but I’m wondering how you think KBJ will land compared to Breyer. I’m thinking KBJ will be about the same/very slightly to the left of Breyer.


      • @Ryan Joshi

        I think you are right about #11. It was a tough call but if I had to bet money I would put it on Sung.

        Fletcher is definitely a flaming liberal. The only thing is I think Holly Thomas will be as well. I could have put tied on that one. That & the Hurwitz/Desai seats are probably the best back to back judges we will see for any seat Biden gets to replace. I do not see any of the remaining 5 seats without a nominee getting an out right liberal, probably not even Maryland.

        As for KBJ replacing Breyer, I think KBJ will be more liberal. Breyer was great of course but he did join the conservative wing at times. Not knocking him in anyway, just saying if the question is who will be more liberal at the end of their careers I will go with KBJ.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yea, Berzon is right up there no question. Her seat was easy to decide. I mean I like Gabriel Sanchez & have defended him but that seat moved to the right for sure. I put Berzon only slightly behind Fletcher who I put slightly behind Reinhard (But both have much better character then him).


    • Much more liberal: CJA, Sung, Chung, Rikelman, Kahn,

      More liberal: KBJ (both DC and SCOTUS), Cunningham, Lee, Rossman, Perez, Robinson, Heytens, Davis, Freeman, Mendoza, Merriam, Abudu, Bloomekatz, Garcia, TMR, Benjamin

      About the same: Gelpi, Thomas, Stark, Nathan, Desai, Mathis, Montecalvo, Wamble

      More conservative: Koh, Sanchez, Pan, Pryor,

      Much more conservative: Childs, Lee, Douglas,


  14. Question for the group: conservatives say “SCOTUS wars” started with Bork, but my money is on Fortas nom.

    However, when does everyone think that lower court judge wars started? My money is on Ronnie White/Richard Paez in the Clinton years, but is there another where we see the train go off the tracks permanently? (By which I mean, more votes needed; introduction of SJC delays; cloture on almost all nominees, etc.).


    • So for me the SCOTUS wars definitely started with Fortas. I just wish Johnson had picked anybody else then his inside man & friend because they would have been confirmed fairly easily maybe except Marshall.

      For the lower courts I would say it started in the last two years of the Clinton administration. The out right racist blockade of black judges by senator Helms in North Carolina to blocking of numerous nominees such as now Justice Kagan to the DC circuit really set the lower court battles on fire.

      Now I will say the lower court fights accelerated after the entire 2000 presidential debacle in Florida which. Democrats were Hell bent on stopping a president that didn’t win the popular vote from packing the judiciary with conservatives. I feel especially bad for Miguel Estrada losing a wife in the process. As much as I hated what Trump did to the judiciary, I was actually hoping he nominated Estrada to the DC circuit, especially since he would have been 57 instead of 41 years old by then.

      But of course Mitch McConnell blew the door off of any hope for things going back to the old way. I use to be a “Gang of 14” type of person but no more. I’m all for packing the courts with young progressives anyway under the sun legally now. Hold no prisoners.


      • I’m not really familiar with Alito’s pre-SCOTUS record. Was he really out there as a known far right conservative in the 3rd circuit?

        I was really surprised the gang of 14 agreed to Janice Rogers Browns too. It’s amazing the GOP never have a problem blocking liberal blacks to the courts but when it comes to Democrats they are afraid to stand up to ultra conservative blacks. Then we end up with her on the second highest court & Clarence Thomas on the SCOTUS.


      • He was a member of the 3rd circuit panel in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and he voted to uphold all of Bob Casey’s abortion restrictions including the spousal notification requirement (he didn’t have the power to overturn Roe v. Wade but certainly would have if on SCOTUS).


      • Ah ok. I knew that case was from the 3rd circuit but didn’t realize he was on it. Yea sucks they didn’t push harder on him in that case. I think @Shawn made a great point along time ago about how Democrats should have given GW Bush the votes to confirm Harriet Myers even though she was clearly unqualified.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Several things.

        1. Fortas was the beginning of the SCOTUS wars, but it started a few years back with the right’s attack on the Warren Court. LBJ abused his power in pushing Fortas onto SCOTUS to be a spy for him. And given Fortas’ corruption, had he made it as Chief Justice, he would be forced to resign the next year and would have really embarrassed SCOTUS in a matter to reduce its prestige.

        2. I agree with @Dequan that most other SCOTUS justices at that time would have been confirmed as Chief. The best choice would have been former SCOTUS Justice Arthur Goldberg or Justice William Brennan.

        3. I think the lower court wars started in 1995 with GOP takeover of the Senate. The GOP started to delay and block a whole bunch of judges for political purposes. Bob Dole made a point of attacking Clinton’s most liberal judges on crime and other matters.

        4. Jesse Helms was an unrepentant racist and an unlikeable pain in the ass. In the 1970s and 1980s he was so disliked my the majority of the Senate (similar to Ted Cruz now) that Democrats generally voted no on anything he proposed. In some instances where he proposed a reasonable bill or amendment, Democrats filibustered it, and then someone else offered the same bill/amendment which passed.

        5. Helms put holds on all Black nominees in the 4th Circuit because Democrats blocked his racist aide and district judge from being elevated by GHWB. He reportedly offered Clinton a deal in the late 90s, elevate his district judge to the 4th Circuit and he would support a black nominee either for Virginia or North Carolina. It’s the kind of deal with Southern conservative Democratic senators that JFK/LBJ/Carter took several times. But thankfully times had changed and Clinton told Helms to take a hike.

        Will discuss the GWB years in another post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If I remember correctly, Justice Arthur Goldberg stepped down from SCOTUS for some other non life time government post after a couple years on the court. I read somewhere he had a back room deal that he would be appointed back to the court but of course that never happened. Of course that would never happen today but amazing anybody would give up a seat on the SCOTUS for any position maybe except for President, VP or The Pope… Lol


      • One last comment on the subject. The 5th circuit conservative domination we currently live under begun when Reagan out 40 & even 30 year old conservatives on that bench. Another major factor was Republicans blocked two Clinton Hispanic men for seats from Texas. Those two seats would have decreased the disparity we see today in terms of both Republican appointees as well as no Hispanics on the 17 judge circuit.


      • Ok the GWB years.

        Democrats tried to slow down GWBs nominees in response to the fact that many Clinton nominees had been blocked. So the Democrats rejected many of the worst GWB nominees in his first term.

        The reason why the Democrats didn’t just let the GOP nuke the filibuster in 2005 is that it was unlikely that they would pick up 6 seats in 2006. Democrats felt they could pick up 3 or 4, but that would leave the Senate in GOP control w/o the judicial filibuster. In retrospect it was the wrong decision, but I understand it at the time.

        Alito was already known as an extremely right wing nutjob. His nickname was Scalito. That said, 4 red state Democrats outright voted for Alito. So in order to successfully filibuster him, you needed every single Democrat who voted no, which is a tall task.

        I did believe at the time and still do today that the Democrats should have offered Bush 30 votes on Harriet Miers provided that nothing embarrassing came out about her. I thought Miers was the best the Democrats were going to get, despite her being totally unqualified, except perhaps for Alberto Gonzalez. But there was no way that the Democrats were going to vote for Gonzalez (whom I think GWB really wanted to nominate in his heart) in any large numbers after his connection with Bush’s torture program.


      • Even though at the time I disagreed with @Shawn’s opinion, in hindsight I do believe now that the Democrats should have given Bush the votes to confirm Harriett Myers. At the time I felt she was so unqualified, I couldn’t vote for her but a 60 year old unqualified justice who’s views were mostly unknown would have been much better then Alito.

        I would just add two things to your GW Bush analysis. One, I think another reason Democrats opposed Gonzalez so much was they were afraid Republicans would get credit for the first Hispanic justice should Bush get another vacancy. That would be on top of Republicans having the first female justice. I think him or a mid to late 40’s Miguel Estrada as a sitting judge on the DC circuit would have definitely been given strong consideration for a third justice in a late Bush second term should the Republicans have the majority in the senate.

        Second, in addition to everything Shawn said, I think Democrats were truly pissed at Bush being president despite losing the popular vote in his first term. They felt he didn’t have the mandate to completely make over the judiciary. Particularly after Republicans blocked so many Clinton nominees with Bill having a mandate with his popular vote win. But the decision not to let Republicans nuke the filibuster & not confirming Myers are two things I definitely have changed my views on from them to now in hindsight.


  15. Re: Harriet Miers
    What we often forget is that Dems, through Harry Reid, DID reach out to Bush to tell him that they could support her nomination! This is documented in several books from the era. The problem wasn’t Dem support getting her to 60. The problem was the near universal Republican resistance to her, thinking that she’d be another Souter.
    Dems couldn’t openly support her nomination for obvious reasons. Accordingly, Leahy put up a good show in the SJC processing stage of the nomination.
    Though the Miers nomination appeared alive for a while, it actually died earlier behind the scenes. Bush didn’t want to just withdraw the nomination of a dear friend and the WH couldn’t think of a way to do it.
    Leave that to a cynic extraordinaire: Charles Krauthammer.
    In one of his articles, Krauthammer devised a way to have the nomination withdrawn and for the Bush WH to save-face: the privileged document request. And the rest was history.


    • @Gavi got to this first. Toobin (yeah, I know) says Miers was the first nominee likely to be confirmed who withdrew their nomination. Everything I’ve read (like Gavi) says Reid put the bug in Bush’s ear for Miers and there would have been plenty of Dem votes for her. What killed her was Cheney running a background campaign against her, pissed that Bush didn’t consult him on the nom and wanting Alito in there instead. He provided the info to Ingraham, Coulter, and the like, who led the campaign against her.


      • As I said below, if Bush stuck with Miers, she would have been confirmed. There was enough GOP support in the Senate for her (just on moderate and moderately conservative GOP senators alone would get you to 20 votes.)

        Bush simply caved to the GOP base. I think Reid and Schumer could have done more to help stiffen Bush’s spine.


    • I disagree with your claim that there was “universal resistance” to Miers from the GOP senators. Several GOP senators came out in support of Miers early on. Several religious right leaders did as well. (And I think Miers as an evangelical, would have been solid for the right-wing on issues like abortion.) Some like Dobson withdrew their support, but only after Miers had been withdrawn. If Bush had stuck with Miers, he would have easily had the 60 votes to advance the nomination, and if the Democrats provided 30 votes, a clear majority to confirm her. The caveat being of course, Miers could embarrass herself in the hearings as incompetent, but if she didn’t, she would be confirmed.

      Also while Reid told Bush that Democrats were positive about Miers and they wouldn’t filibuster her, both him and Schumer were noncommittal until after the hearings about actual support.

      At the end I think Bush just caved to the Fed Society and the GOP base. GOP leaders respect their base far more that the Democratic establishment does. But I’m certain that if Bush wanted to get Miers confirmed, he could have, and my guess is that at the end of the day GOP senators would have fallen in line at the end, there wouldn’t have been more than 20 GOP senators voting no.


      • I definitely see a Hispanic nominee for the 5th (Texas seat). For the 7th circuit, with the Indiana senators working in good faith with Biden for Doris Pryor, I’m not as hopefully for a Hispanic there. I really would like to see Mario Garcia but we probably won’t get two straight magistrate judges for the 7th circuit from Indiana.

        If we were to get a quick retirement from Illinois, Nancy Maldonado would be a strong candidate. My personal choice would be Johanes Maliza. He’s being vetted for a district court seat so there shouldn’t be too much lag time if there was a quick vacancy for whatever reason.

        Plus it would give the district some geographic diversity to have a judge from middle Illinois instead of the current all Chicago delegation. A 40year old former Puerto Rican professional soccer player turned attorney would be a nice change to the normal path most circuit court judges take.


    • My response to the article is that Texas has had representation from at least 3 Latino’s given the honor to serve; whereas, NOT ONE African-American male or female has ever been given the honor to serve on the 5th Circuit in Texas. There are Black Attorneys & Judges in Texas who have gone their entire 40, 45+ year law careers & have never witnessed one member of the Texas Bar represented on the 5th Circuit , and I find that appalling & shameful.


      • @Angie

        That is looking at the vacancy from a historical perspective which is important. I think it is more then likely the administration will look at the situation more from the perspective of the overall current circuit make up versus just Texas history. With the circuit having 3 African American’s on it once Dana Douglas is confirmed versus no Hispanics, I think that factor may rule the day.

        With the pressure from Hispanic groups & only 5 circuit court vacancies without a nominee left, I think there is a strong chance the administration will take that into account. They have already nominated 13 Black woman & 2 Black men out of 36 nominees. He has only nominated 5 Hispanics (6if you count Khan who had a Portuguese background). Also Texas has almost double a Hispanic population then Black. One of the two US senators is Black as is the Texas First Lady.

        Me as a Black man just sees all the current signs pointing to this nominee being Hispanic. Hopefully Democrats can hold the senate so we can get additional vacancies with the ages of some of the judges on the circuit so Biden has an opportunity to nominate more diverse candidates.


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