Kymberly Evanson – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

Kymberly Evanson, who currently serves as a law partner at Pacifica Law Group, has been tapped for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.


Evanson received a B.A. from Seattle University in 1999 and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2007. After graduating, Evanson clerked for Judge Emmett Sullivan on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before joining the Seattle office of JK&L Gates as an associate. Evanson later shifted to Pacifica Law Group and became a partner in 2011. She is still with the firm.

History of the Seat

Evanson has been nominated to replace Judge Ricardo Martinez on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Martinez will take senior status upon confirmation of a successor.

Legal Experience

Evanson started her legal career at the Seattle office of K&L Gates. Among her matters there, she represented AstenJohnson, Inc. against an employee suit alleging damages from asbestos exposure. See Coulter v. Asten Group, Inc., 230 P.3d 169 (Wash. App. 2009). She also worked on bankruptcy litigation. See, e.g., Sec. Investor Prot. Corp. v. Lehman Bros., 433 B.R. 127 (S.D.N.Y. Bankr. 2010).

Since 2011, Evanson has worked at Pacifica Law Group, where she defended Amazon against a defamation suit brought by James Parisi, who alleged that he was defamed in the publication of a book by Larry Sinclair, who had alleged that he had engaged in an affair with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. See Parisi v. Sinclair, 806 F. Supp. 2d 93 (D.D.C. 2011).

Much of Evanson’s work at Pacifica has focused on municipal law. See, e.g., Elected Leaders, Activists File Lawsuit to Remove Tim Eyman’s I-1366 From 2015 Ballot, Newstex Blogs, Aug. 10, 2015. See also Lee v. State, 374 P.3d 157 (Wash. 2016). Notably, Evanson defended the Woodland Park Zoological Society against a lawsuit alleging that the housing of elephants at the Society violated animal cruelty laws. Sebek v. City of Seattle, 290 P.3d 159 (Wash. App. 2012). Evanson also represented a petitioner who sought to use public records requests to obtain zip code reports from Lyft. See Lyft, Inc. v. City of Seattle, 418 P.3d 102 (Wash. 2018).

In her pro bono matters, Evanson represented the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington in a suit against the Trump Administration’s foreign travel ban (colloquially called the “Muslim ban”). See Washington v. Trump, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16012 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 3, 2017).


As a law student in 2006, Evanson authored a paper on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination. See Kymberly K. Evanson, Employment Law Chapter: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 7 Geo. J. Gender & L. 981 (2006). The piece is largely descriptive of the structure and functioning of employment suits under Title VII, rather than commenting or recommending changes in the law. See id.

Political Activity

Evanson has occasionally donated to political and judicial candidates, including Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Supreme Court Justices Steve Gonzalez and Mary Yu.

Overall Assessment

With a record of working on both commercial and pro bono litigation, Evanson presents a left-of-center record as an attorney that is consistent with her fellow Seattle based nominees. It remains to be seen if that record will pose her confirmation issues.


  1. Even though not mentioned in this article, I believe Evanson has an extensive background in disability rights. Oh & one correction… In the second paragraph, the article says Cartwright who is another nominee in the smae district.


  2. @Shawn

    (I’m responding here for ease (I hope). It’s hard for me to scroll down past tens of comments on my phone, causing me to miss many.)

    An impressive list. I will limit my response to the following:

    Items #2 and #8:
    Felix “Harvard” Frankfurter was indeed a disappointment. One of his colleagues on SCOTUS called him a little man, in stature but more importantly in ideas (not a direct quote).
    But I wouldn’t hold conservatives’ appropriation of his and Jackson’s intellectualism against them. This tends to happen on the court. (This also relates to your #8) Look how conservatives took up the textualism/originalism of Hugo Black and how, rather circularly, liberal judges, unable to offer up an intellectual counterpoint, dress themselves as originalists (we are all originalists now). For this, see Kagan and more importantly, KBJ’s nomination hearing. Not to give her (or her supporters on this site) grieve, but KBJ’s SCOTUS confirmation hearing could have been on my list of missed opportunities re: textualism/originalism. She has probably done more to advance this judicial philosophy than she intended to. But she has a lifetime to make up for a 4-day hearing, so I won’t hold it against her too much.
    How is it that liberals cannot come up with a method of constitutional interpretation after all these years on the defensive against the ascending textualism/originalism is beyond me. Living constitutionalism isn’t a viable candidate.
    This is where I would add the following as another (so far!) missed opportunity: Biden’s lack of law professor nominees (pace, @Frank, who dislikes such nominees). This is the background of judges who would most likely use their intellectual heft to chart an alternative.

    Great one, Shawn. This is what I meant by events that don’t linearly relate to the judiciary.
    Also, this is a perfect example of a multi-generational missed opportunity. Three of Truman’s justices were replaced by Warren, Brennan, and Marshall, but those three, in turn, were replaced by Republican nominees, with only one (Brennan for Souter) being a decent replacement, and with Warren’s seat seemingly doomed in perpetuity.

    #4 and #6:
    While I don’t think that Jimmy Carter was as bad a president as you do, his being the only (I think!) president who served a full term without appointing a justice makes his presidency seem even more insignificant. (But look at his other article III judges!)

    This is a two-time failure! Dems basically allowed Scalia to breeze through confirmation with the poorly executed strategy of reserving their fire for Rehnquist. How such an anti-black, voter intimidator could be allowed to go on SCOTUS post-Civil Right Era and be elevated to Chief Justice is beyond me.

    That’s just not how those justices operate. Marshall was terrified of dying on the bench. And who would Clinton have picked to replace him? Clinton had such a difficult time with the vacancy that Ginsburg even though there were many, many more white, even women options (though Ginsburg wasn’t his first choice. Clinton wanted NY Gov. Mario Cuomo, who turned it down).

    Obama more so than Clinton!
    This is one of my biggest letdowns of the Obama presidency. Rahm Emanual should have been chased out of politics long before the murder of Laquan McDonald and its cover up. As Obama’s Chief of Staff, Emanual infamously said “I don’t give a shit about judges!” That set the precedent for the rest of the Obama years.

    Right on the money. case in point: the dissent in Dobbs. It reads like a dirge in despair, not a roadmap for the future. Liberals are always on the defensive, even when they no longer have the ball. The Dobbs dissent was their biggest stage, you’d think that they would make it count. That was such a missed opportunity.

    I disagree here. I do not see how it would have been an advantage to Dems. Dems won the Senate the next year and could block any extreme judge IF they wanted. Starting in 2007 Dems didn’t need the filibuster to block anymore. Now, whether Dems should have nuked the filibuster earlier on in the Obama presidency is a great question. But as I already said above, confirming judges wasn’t a priority for Obama back then, so why use up political capital for something that the leader of their party didn’t care about?

    A missed opportunity that continues today, with Goodwin Liu not being named as CA’s Chief Justice or given a circuit court seat.

    Like #12, I disagree here as well. If you have a tool that you’re told that if you use it, you will lose it, is the same as not having it at all.
    Dems not filibustering Neil Gorsuch in hopes of filibustering the other nominee smack of the Scalia/Rehnquist misfire I mentioned above. If Republicans didn’t abolish the filibuster for Gorsuch, they would have done so for Kavanaugh. No rule would ever stop Republicans from filling a SCOTUS seat. That should be a given. I remember right after the Ford hearings when the confirmation was looking iffy, Graham blustered that if the Kavanaugh nomination failed (2018), Trump should renominate him the next year (2019), since the GOP was (rightly) assured of renewing their senate majority. This isn’t the thinking of a party that would have bound themselves to Rule XXII.
    Perhaps, if the filibuster was preserved in 2017, another president would have moderated his choice in 2018. Trump’s not that president.

    100%. Biden is a forever timid president. He probably “deserves” to be president (as much as anyone does in a representative democracy) but his presidency couldn’t have come at a worse time. He’s not the man for this moment. There’s so much he could be doing to challenge the court post-Dobbs, even if he loses in the end. One of the “easiest” is allowing abortion on federal lands in anti-abortion states, even if there isn’t a single doctor in those states willing to perform the abortion. You cannot be paralyzed by potential losses. Republican governors sign anti-Roe bans in the face of sure defeat. They have even said as much, to the effect “I know that this law that I am signing today will be challenged in 15 minutes, but I believe in life” and other things like that. Why can’t Dems play this way? I don’t see a single Dem gov willing to play hardball. Gavin Newsom comes the closest. Maybe Stacey Abrams, if she wins in November. The dearth of possible fighters highlights the point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Gavi

      Here are my thoughts.

      #2/8: Given that Frankfurter/Jackson largely advanced conservative theories of the Constitution, it think it’s fair to give them the blame for their ideas being used by conservatives.
      Completely agree with you on not coming up an alternate theory to originalism. Also agree with you on law professors, although you don’t need to be one in order to add intellectual heft.

      #3: Yes, although Truman’s selections were awful, and a better set of selection might well have made the Black/Douglas viewpoint the law of the land. There were any number of far better selections, Hebert Goodrich, Roger Traynor (if you wanted a Republican), etc.

      #5. I’m not including the 1986 nomination because there was no chance the Democrats could defeat Rehnquist or Scalia then in the minority. But I think 1971 was a different story.

      #7 That’s not really true. Marshall was clearly willing to die on the bench than retire under Reagan, he said that several times. I think he calculated that there was no way Bush was going to lose in 1992 after the Gulf War. It was a huge miscalculation.

      Replacing Marshall would have been a lot easier, since it would have to be a Black nominee. The GOP at the time wasn’t going to start out early 1993 with a nasty campaign against a Black nominee to replace Marshall. My best guess is that Clinton would have nominated his solicitor general nominee, Drew Days (who would have been a progressive dissenter.)

      #9 Totally agree with you. That ties into my #14 as well.

      #10 Early on, it looked like Sotomayor was going to be this justice. She questioned corporate personhood at the oral argument in Citizens United and wrote some strong dissents in her first few years. But sometime in 2013/4, she went soft.

      #12. The reason why I understand it at the time is that there was no guarantee that the Democrats would win back the Senate in 2006. It turns out they did, but they had to pick up 6 seats to do so. It looked more likely that a 3-4 seat pick up was likely early on.

      #18: I think there were enough GOP senators (and you only needed 2) to uphold a deal to retain the filibuster through 2018. So I don’t think the GOP would have been able to break a filibuster of Kavanaugh in late 2018 under this circumstance. But given that the GOP added seats in 2018, it might not have mattered at the end. But it also may have gotten McConnell to get Trump to nominate someone else (i.e, Hardiman). Not much of a gain here though. That’s why I put it as a maybe.

      #19 Completely agree. But I think Harris could be that kind of President who would play hardball, so I would be all in favor of Biden resigning and seeing what Harris could do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • @Shawn

        Good list. I’ll give my opinion on each;

        1. This is the one I will say the least about. I am not sure who else Teddy Roosevelt should have supported over Taft back then.

        2. I can’t really agree with this one. FDR picked two progressives at the time. It sucks when you pick somebody with a solid progressive record & then they get on the court & don’t rule that same way but it happens. I think progressives have been very lucky in my lifetime that it’s usually the other way around with conservatives breaking Republican president’s hearts.

        3. This is actually a subject I have studied on my own previously. I agree there were many better choices over Truman for FDR’s third VP. My guess is he really didn’t think he would die in office so it didn’t matter. Reports stated he didn’t even tell Truman about The Manhattan Project. That is unthinkable today but it’s probably why FDR’s first VP was quoted as saying being VP is like a warm bucket of piss.

        4. This is one I agree with you on this specific case but in general you & I disagree on political patronage. I had absolutely no problem with LBJ using patronage to get justice Clark off the bench to appoint Marshal. But yes in this case getting Goldberg off the bench to replace him with Fortus turned out to be disastrous.

        5. This is another one I disagree with you on. I don’t see much of a path for Democrats defeating Rehnquist in 1971. You could make a case they could have for his elevation to chief but probably not even then.

        6. This one I disagree with you the most out of all your answers. I don’t think Carter was a disaster of a president but even if I did, there is no way I would give up all of his great circuit & district court judges for 4 years of even a moderate Republican’s. Especially with there being no guarantee Ford would be a bad president & a Democrat would have been elected in 1980.

        7. This was on my list. Even if Thurgood Marshall had waited until the GHW Bush lame duck instead of when he died to retire that would have been better.

        8. I agree here. Progressives are definitely late to the party here. Groups like the American Constitution Society should have been formed decades earlier.

        9. I halfway agree with you here. I do think Obama lacked focus on the judiciary in his first term but not as much Clinton.

        10. I don’t completely agree here either. I think both RBG & Sotomayor both articulated a progressive legal vision through dissents.

        11. This was on my list. Al Gore could have done numerous things to win in 2000.

        12. I don’t know if I agree with you here. I understand both sides but I’m more on the side of Dems should have nuked the filibuster earlier in Obama’s term.

        13. This is the one that I have said I was wrong & you were right on. I would not have voted for Harriet Miers based on principle back then. However looking back, Shawn’s view was the correct one & Democrats should have provided the votes to get her confirmed.

        14. Absolutely, Goodwin Liu and Victoria Nourse should both be circuit court judges today. At least Liu should have been elevated to California chief justice this month.

        15. Leahy not disregarding the blue slips was also on my list.

        16. Ginsburg not retiring in 2014 was also on my list.

        17. I agree, the DNC did not need to rig the 2016 primary. Hillary was always going to win.

        18. I do not agree here. I would have still filibustered Gorsuch. Mitch was going to confirm whoever Trump nominated in 2018. Yes you are correct most president’s would have chosen a more moderate type like Hardiman, but Trump was not a normal president. He wanted Kavanaugh because he felt he would rule the way he wanted more then most others.

        19. While I agree with you that it would be great to have a president that “meets the moment”, Joe Biden is Joe Biden. We all know who he is. He’s not FDR. I’m not sure which Democrat that is like FDR was going to beat Trump in 2020 & at the end of the day that mattered more to me then anything else at that time.


      • @Dequan

        2. The question at hand was “miscalculations/missed opportunities”. I’m not saying I blame FDR, but Frankfurter and Jackson were horrible on the SCOTUS. Those two nominations were clearly miscalculations.
        To put in perspective, while they both personally opposed racism, both Frankfurter and Jackson were initially very skeptical of whether the 14th Amendment actually prohibits segregation. Meanwhile you had a former KKK member from the Deep South who did understand clearly that the 14th Amendment was introduced clearly for the purpose of stopping state sponsored violations of equal protection on racial grounds rather than for giving benefits for corporations. That’s pretty bad.

        3. Yeah I’m surprised because basically every one else in the Democratic Party believed they were electing two Presidents. It was a surprise to see FDR die almost immediately, but I don’t think it would have been a surprise to see him die before his term was up. Regarding judges, had FDR lived another year, you would have had two better SCOTUS appointments.

        5. There was no real attempt made to defeat Rehnquist at all in 1971. The Senate defeated two of Nixon’s appointees in 1969, and I think there was a chance to defeat Rehnquist as well, given his long heinous record of racism, voter intimidation, support of segregation in the Board v Brown case, and spying on Nixon’s political opponents. A decent effort to do so I think had a shot.
        OTOH, I don’t think there was any real chance to defeat Rehnquist in 1986 w/ a GOP Senate.

        6. Ford is ineligible to run again. All the problems of the late 1970s is on his shoulders rather than Carter and the Democrats. Ford is left with the choice of tolerating ridiculously high inflation (much worse than now) or a deep recession. Neither ends up well. I don’t think the GOP can win in that environment, especially after holding the Presidency for 12 years.
        Yes I would trade the Carter judges for no Reagan and a Democratic President in 1980 and likely multiple SCOTUS justices.

        7. I think as long as Marshall retires after the Thurmond rule deadline of June 1 1992, the Democrats would not have confirmed a replacement. But if Marshall was going to wait until after 1992 session was done, he might as well waited until after Clinton’s election to retire.

        10. Ginsburg was a minimalist. She voted with the liberals, but her dissents were largely constrained to the facts of the case. Sotomayor in her first few years seemed like a potentially bold dissenter. She went soft after 2014.

        12. In retrospect we should have just let the GOP do it under Bush.

        18. I think Mitch would probably takes Hardiman in those circumstances, if it was clear the Democrats were going to filibuster Kavanaugh and he wouldn’t have the votes to get rid of the filibuster. I think the GOP would get rid of the filibuster in October 2020 for Barrett for sure, but I suspect that McConnell would have preferred to get someone conservative confirmed before the midterms rather than to get Kavanaugh filibustered and have to renominate him in 2019.

        The bigger problem with my scenario is that I don’t think Hardiman is much of an improvement over Kavanaugh. He’s not a rapist as far as we know and less of an asshole personally, but I doubt he is actually more moderate.

        19. I strongly disagree that other Democrats would not have beaten Trump in 2020. Biden hurt himself badly among working class voters by not challenging Trump’s lies about his own economic record. I think any Democrat who focused on economic populism rather than what outrageous things Trump said yesterday would have beaten him.


      • @Shawn

        I guess we are approaching answering the question a bit differently. The way I was answering it was only with the knowledge known at the time, what would I have done differently.

        So for instance if somebody ask me who’s first term VP was more important based on the possibility of them ascending to the presidency between FDR or JFK, I would answer FDR. At the time he was older & had Polio. JFK was the youngest president & we didn’t know about him being sick at all on the day of his inauguration. The way your answering the question you would say JFK because we now know FDR served over three terms while JFK was assasinated in his first term. So yes knowing now what we didn’t know then, of course some of your answers would be right. My point is knowing then only what we knew then, my answers are what I would have done then. That’s why I admitted you would have been right & I would have been wrong in 2005 for voting against Harriet Miers because we then ended up with Alito.

        6. We will have to agree to disagree here. There’s just no way in either the way you answer the question or the way I answer the question would I rather have Ford elected in 1976 then Carter.

        10. While I can’t say I’ve read every opinion from Sotomayor since 2014, out of the ones I know about, I can’t say she “went soft” in her dissents. If anything, I think she’s actually out more punch into her opinions.

        19. Yes I agree Biden wasn’t the only Democrat that could have beat Trump. I just feel he was the safest bet to beat him. Some of the others that tan could have win but I’m not as sure. So with getting Trump as far away from The White House possible being my number one issue in 2020, I felt a safer choice was best.


      • @Dequan

        Shawn’s approach is the right one. In my opinion, miscalculations/missed opportunities are better assessed in hindsight. So, while Bush thought that Souter was going to be another right wing judge, given all the things that was known about him back then, it was a miscalculation on Bush’s part.

        That said, it’s fascinating how much your responses to Shawn aligned with my own. Though we have stark disagreements, especially about Biden’s effectiveness and ability to meet the moment.


      • Yea it’s just tough for me to look through lenses of things not known at the time. I guess my issue is even using knowledge known at the time, Democrats have screwed up when it comes to the judiciary enough that I don’t even need to use info not known at the time… Lol


  3. @Shawn

    I’ve got a question for you. I’ve heard you say repeatedly Obama should have put Pamela Harris on the DC circuit instead of the 4th circuit. I’m curious, which one of Obama’s 4 judges would you have not nominated in order to get her on? I’m asking based on information known in 2013, not anything that has happened or any rulings since they have been on the bench.

    I’m sure if we count what we know now, I would have replaced Patricia Millett. I’m not so sure in 2013 I would have replaced anybody with her & just left her on the 4th but who would you have taken off back then?


    • TBH, I would have nominated Pamela Harris in 2009 and pushed to confirm her ASAP, (along with Goodwin Liu and Victoria Nourse.) There were open DC Circuit seats the day Obama entered the White House. If you had done that, then she could have been a SCOTUS option (and maybe you could have hinted to Ginsburg on Harris as the replacement to convince her to retire).
      But yeah, I would be ok with replacing any of Obama’s 4 DC Circuit judges with Pam Harris, back then. She was far better than either Millett or Srinivasan. Harris wasn’t confirmed to the 4th Circuit until 2014, so there’s no issue there. As I’ve said before, as far as progressive titans in the 2010s are concerned, both Pams (Harris and Karlan) are right behind Goodwin Liu.


      • At first, I was going to say Srinivasan too. But it’s hard to pass up on a unanimous confirmation for the second highest court in the land. I then was going to say Millett, but I remember back then she had argued more cases in front of SCOTUS than any other woman in history. It’s pretty hard to pass her up back then (Without the knowledge of some of her rulings I don’t line after the fact). I definitely am not replacing Wilkins because he’s one of my favorite Obama circuit court judges, period. Pillard was also solid too.

        That’s why it’s such a hard decision for me. I guess if I really had my heart on Harris being on the DC circuit, I would have worked out a deal with the Maryland senators to put Pillard on the 4th.


      • @Dequan

        Yes, Millett has argued a lot of cases in front of SCOTUS, basically entirely on behalf of corporations against regular people. I don’t see that as a benefit. She had few progressive credentials. Pam Harris OTOH was a founder of ACS and had argued cases for the progressive Constitution Accountability Center.
        Lisa Blatt, who has since overtaken Millett on that score was rejected for solicitor general because progressives strongly opposed her for primarily defending corporations and supporting Brett Kavanaugh.

        Wilkins and Pillard were solid. Still would have went with KBJ over Wilkins though.


      • Knowing what I know even back then? It’s Sri Srinivasan for me. I would have nominated Ro Khanna instead. That way, Obama can still put an Indian-American on the court. Though his anti-Iraq war advocacy may have posed a challenge in the filibuster-era senate.
        But I’ve been a big fan of Khanna for a long time, even though I don’t like him primarying Dems. There’s something politically sexy about a progressive (which I am not!) capitalist (which I am!).
        Back to Srinivasan. Counterintuitively, I breathed a sigh of relief when HE got the nomination, because I feared Neal Katyal was a contender, and Katyal is worse than Srinivasan, who replaced him in the Solicitor General’s office.


      • @Shawn

        Oh I wasn’t aware of exactly what kind of cases Millet had argued. I read up on the judiciary back then but nowhere near the depths I do now. So based on that knowledge back them, I too would have replaced her with Harris.


        I too am surprised it wasn’t Keytal. I guess Obama’s team really did their homework on that choice. I’m not sure Ro Khanna wants to be a judge over his political aspirations. He may be similar to Obama who himself could have easily been a circuit court judge if he wanted to take that route.

        On a side note I have seen some suggestions that had Hillary won she should have put Obama on the SCOTUS instead of renominated Garland. I think that’s a horrible idea. There’s no way I’m taking one of my best campaigner off the playing field to be a justice (associate, not even chief). I said even back then if Hillary had won she should have told Garland she will give him FBI Director or Attorney General but can’t renominate him to SCOTUS. I would have probably gone with Sri back then since he would have been replacing Scalia & significantly moved the court to the left regardless of him not being an out right liberal. That way she could have gotten a bi-partisan vote to start her presidency, got a much younger pick then Garland, made history & could have still put KBJ on the DC circuit to set her up for RBG’s eventual retirement (I assume she would have retired in Hillary’s first two years).

        Or if Pamela Harris was on the DC circuit like our previous discussion you could have considered her. Also Hillary might have convinced Lui to go through another confirmation process for the 9th circuit. Then he would also have been a possibility.


      • IKR!! There are SO MANY things wrong with putting Obama on the Supreme Court. Putting Obama on SCOTUS would be a disaster.

        1) It further erodes the Court’s “impartiality” except that the bulk of the blame would move from conservatives to liberals.

        2) Obama would have to recuse himself from many, many cases, including cases related to the ACA, DACA, Clean Power Plan, and basically anything involving something done by his administration. If you are aware of the % of cases Kagan had to recuse from in her first few years, multiply that % by 7 or 8 and you’ll get the approximate % of cases Obama has to recuse from. This would be detrimental to liberals particularly in a 5-4 or 4-1-4 court.

        3) Republicans would copycat and put their own politicians such as Cruz or Hawley on the Supreme Court. They would want to put Trump on the Supreme Court if he were in his 30s or 40s rather than his 70s.

        4) Obama would get zero Republican support and Manchin might also oppose given that West Virginia overwhelmingly voted against Obama in both 2008 and 2012.

        5) Having already been president, Obama might decide he doesn’t like the Supreme Court and step down early. Unlike Taft, who never enjoyed his presidency and was much happier as Chief Justice, Obama seemingly enjoyed his presidency. Especially given that he would have Samuel Alito (whom under his breath at State of the Union claimed Obama was lying) as a colleague.

        6) Don’t forget that Obama is already 61 years old.


      • Srinivasan has a pretty solidly progressive track record on the D.C. Circuit Court. I think he is the most liberal member on that court besides Pillard. I don’t know why he was confirmed unanimously, but I don’t think that would’ve mattered if he was nominated for SCOTUS.

        The 21 nay votes for Merrick Garland in 1997 were for the exact same reason he was blocked from SCOTUS in 2016; the Republicans couldn’t brand him as a liberal firebrand, but they wanted to keep the seat open. Unless Obama picked someone like Gorsuch or William Pryor or Diane Sykes, McConnell was not going to let Obama fill the seat.


  4. I don’t think Manchin will ultimately oppose any circuit court nominee. Those are just too important and he’s shown a willingness to vote for everyone so far. His biggest dealbreaker is usually partisan public statements/bad tweets and he voted for Jennifer Sung without any drama.

    We already know he likely backs Mathis and Freeman. Sherrod Brown is going to lobby HARD for Bloomekatz. I’m not sure on Abudu but I don’t see anything particularly controversial in her past, Graham just didn’t like that she’d worked at the SPLC (and likely still resents that Georgia has two liberal democrat senators). Rikelman could be a possibility but it’s not like she’s particularly controversial outside of representing abortion providers (and after all Manchin disagreed with the Dobbs decision).

    As far as district judges I have to think Schumer will get Ho across the finish line one way or the other. Perhaps if Dems win 51 or 52 senators Schumer will let Manchin vote that down on the floor in December only to confirm him in the next session.


    • No Manchin’s biggest dealbreaker in the past has been overtly pro-choice nominees. He voted against several of them in the Obama years. The whole reason why Rikelman was nominated was because she represented abortion providers, and Manchin knows that. I strongly expect a no vote from him.

      If the Dems win 51/52 senators, the primary goal in the lame duck is another reconciliation bill, likely to prevent gov’t shutdown and debt ceiling efforts by a GOP House. Still confirm as many judges as possible, but if you know that you have 2023 to confirm judges, their will be less urgency to do so in the lame duck.


  5. Maybe I’m forever an optimist, but Manchin did vote for Perez, Sung, & Thomas…..And on executive nominees, he did vote for Xavier Becera, Vanita Gupta, Kristin Clarke, Rachael Rollins (US attorney) so I think he would vote for Julie Rikelman, AS LONG as she doesn’t have a Twiiter / Facebook history of telling conservatives to go “F” themselves…..

    On another note, why are Central District Court of CA nominees Kato & Vera so controversial that even Graham didn’t vote for them?…….Graham voted for the couple of the NY District court nominees, wonder why Kato & Vera were a bridge too far


    • @Rick

      Vera was a staff attorney for The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund & worked pro bono for Public Counsel. Either one probably wouldn’t have gotten a no vote from Graham but both was probably too much for him.

      Kato was questioned on her a book review on neo-conservative Asian Americans & on her stance on affirmative action. I don’t think her answers were particularly good. If her answers were better Graham might have gotten over the hump & voted yes.


  6. New Connecticut District Court vacancy


    • We could be able to get a nominee for this seat before the judge steps down. Since there’s already one anticipated vacancy, I’m sure they have more then one person in mind already for that seat. Also both Cristina Rodriguez & Justin Driver should be far along in the process since it was rumored both were vetted for the circuit court vacancy earlier this year. I’m not sure if they would leave tenured positions at Yale Law School for a district court seat but if yes. I would assume either one of them if not both could be the nominees.


  7. @Dequan

    I think chances were near 100% that Clinton to denominate Garland had she won. Not because she was in love with the pick, but out of Democratic solidarity with Obama and against the Republican blockade. AND because she could have counted on getting a second nominee in replacing Ginsburg. However, all of this would have boiled down to who won control of the Senate. If McConnell, Garland was probably the only one he’d allowed to be voted on. Remember, the GOP was promising a continuation of their blockade if Clinton won. If Schumer, I think it would have still been Garland.

    It would have been a terrible idea to put Obama on the court. His rate of recusals would be astronomical, for obvious reasons.

    And I must reiterate, I only care about 50+1 when it comes to final consideration on anything. Anything else is *literally* unnecessary. I want Dems to stop wasting their time trying to appeal to Republicans and trying to get their votes.
    “Bipartisanship” is an illusion of a time in our politics when the two parties weren’t philosophically absolute. Back then we had many conservative Dems and Liberal GOP. So legislations favored by liberals appeared bipartisan because liberal Dems and liberal Republicans voted for it and vice versa.
    Now, the parties have done a good job sorting themselves into two distinct camps. With that sorting, bipartisanship should be seen as welcome, not necessary.

    Re: Dale Ho
    An insidious effect of his confirmation delay is he’s robbed of a year of service, which would have been useful if a Second Circuit vacancy arises. And he’s been controversialized, which will give those who care about large confirmation vote margins pause. He needs to be confirmed now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Gavi

      I too think Hillary would have renominated Garland. I wouldn’t have been thrilled about it but yea, she probably would have.

      I too only care about 50 plus 1. But I also care about the senate working more then 3 days a week, not taking 4 weeks off in August, another week in October & another 2 & a half weeks for the midterms. Unfortunately until they care as much as I do about that, it’s difficult to pick so many judges that will require a discharge vote. If the senate would just work 4 days a week, they could discharge 2 nominees per week.

      Dale Ho absolutely should have been a circuit court judge. While I really like Enice Lee, I would have put her on the district court & put Ho in her place. I would have put Melissa Murray on the DC circuit (Or you could have flip flopped them if you wanted the first AAPI DC circuit judge) EARLY in Biden’s presidency when he was more popular instead of Childs, who I would have put on the 4th circuit instead.

      I would have put Deepak Gupta in place of Florence Pan. The 2nd (CT) seats would have been Cristina Rodriguez & Justin Driver. And Nico Martinez (c. 1985) needs to be getting vetted now so the minute any 7th (IL) judge announced they are stepping down, he can be announced as their replacement & first Hispanic judge on the entire circuit.


    • I’m not well versed on all SJC rules & procedures. I know you have to have a quorum to vote on nominees. I didn’t think a quorum was necessary to have a hearing. I’ve seen hearings before with just 2 or 3 senators at the start, during & at the end. How were they able to hold hearings before with that low number?


      • “Seven Members of the Committee, actually present, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of discussing business. Nine Members of the Committee, including at least two Members of the minority, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No bill, matter, or nomination shall be ordered reported from the Committee, however, unless a majority of the Committee is actually present at the time such action is taken and a majority of those present support the action taken.”

        I don’t know if holding a nomination hearing counts as “discussing business” or “transacting business”. I would guess the latter but I don’t know.


      • Yea out of those two options, it sounds more like “transacting business”. So two members of the majority have to be present. I wonder why they made it two. That sucks. I’ve still seen hearings without two present but I guess they didn’t object in those cases.


      • @Frank + @Dequan

        Someone shared that article earlier this week.
        No, Frank Dems do not need the corporation of Republicans to add more *hearing* dates. Literally only one senator is required to be present to constitute a quorum for the purposes of holding hearings. Dems should do exactly what the Republicans did in October 2018.
        Here’s the relevant standing rule:

        “Or the purpose of taking down sworn testimony, a quorum of the Committee and each Subcommittee thereof, now or hereafter appointed, shall consist of one Senator.”


      • @Gavi

        Shawn just sent something that showed two senators from the minority needs to be present. Your saying something different. I hope your right because if Shawn is, there’s no way two SJC Republicans will consent or be present for additional hearings.


      • Ok, now that seems more in line with me seeing past hearings with only a couple senators. I know Durbin is probably trying not to piss Graham off so he just doesn’t force a discharge vote on every remaining nominee so I would probably play nice in September & keep the regular schedule if they really put up a major fight. But there either needs to be three hearings in the month of September or October with the other month having the normal two hearings. Either that or more nominees per hearings every other week. Thanks for the info

        Liked by 1 person

      • Like you noted below, it’s very likely that they simply didn’t object in those circumstances since they followed the regular pattern for nominations hearings. In addition, the rules are somewhat different because of the Senate being tied, so the Republicans are able to employ some tactics (such as force discharge votes) that the Democrats couldn’t when Trump was in office simply as they didn’t have enough seats.


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