Jamar Walker – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

A federal prosecutor, Jamar Walker would be the first openly LGBTQ judge on the Virginia federal bench if confirmed, and would also, at 36, be one of the youngest.

Background

A native of the Eastern shore of Virginia, Jamar Kentrell Walker received his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2008 and then got a J.D. from the University of Virginia Law School in 2011.

After graduation, Walker clerked for Judge Raymond Alvin Jackson on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and then joined the firm of Covington & Burling as an associate. In 2015, Walker joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and has served there ever since.

History of the Seat

Walker has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. This seat opened on November 23, 2021, when his old-boss Judge Raymond Alvin jackson moved to senior status. Walker was recommended, along with state judge Kevin Duffan, by Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to the White House on March 1, 2022. Walker was nominated on July 13, 2022.

Legal Experience

Walker started his legal career as an associate at Covington & Burling. At the firm, Walker was part of the legal team representing defense contractor Northrop Grumman in a suit arising from groundwater contamination from one of the contractor’s facilities. See Travelers Indem. Co. v. Northrop Grumman Corp., 999 F. Supp. 2d 552 (S.D.N.Y. 2014).

Since 2015, Walker has worked as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. In his time with the office, he was able to convince the Fourth Circuit to overturn a judge granted motion of acquittal in a wire fraud and money laundering case. See United States v. Millender, 970 F.3d 523 (4th Cir. 2020).

Walker’s focus in the office was largely on white collar and corruption prosecutions. For example, Walker prosecuted Robert Lee Foster, a former senate staffer, for defrauding three women in their 60s and 70s. See Former Senate Staffer Sentenced to 38 Months for Defrauding Three Women, States News Service, Oct. 30, 2015. Walker also prosecuted Thomas Scott Brown for perpetuating a bank fraud scheme resulting in $2.7 million in losses. See Atlanta Man Sentenced to Three Years for $2.7 Million Bank Fraud, Justice Department Documents and Publications, Sept. 15, 2017.

Notably, Walker secured a $137 million penalty against Walmart for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. See Walmart Inc. and Brazil-Based Subsidiary Agree to Pay $137 Million to Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Case, Legal Monitor Worldwide, June 29, 2019. He also secured a jury verdict against Anthony Eric Mitchell for his role in a fraudulent scheme that caused losses of $1.6 million. Va. U.S. Attorney: Jury Convicts Businessman of $1.4 Million Fraud Conspiracy, Targeted News Service, Oct. 18, 2019.

Overall Assessment

Walker’s nomination to the federal bench is both historic (for his status as the first openly LGBTQ nominee to the federal bench in Virginia) and conventional (for his background as a federal prosecutor). Nonetheless, if opposition galvanizes to Walker’s nomination, it will likely be based on his youth. However, setting that aside, there is little in Walker’s background that is likely to imperil his confirmation.

58 Comments

  1. Not a big fan of this nominee due to his lack of career diversity and previous experience defending defense contractors. While I’m not opposed to those serving as prosecutors, they are already heavily represented on the bench. Feel like there may have been better options here, but as typical this nominee is still qualified and him being confirmed will set him up for elevation for a circuit court seat under future Democratic administrations.

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  2. Unlike the Western district, president Biden has been given 2 or 3 recommendations for every other Virginia vacancy & in my opinion made the best choice. For the 4th circuit, he picked Tony Heytens over two district court judges about a decade & a half older then him. Both Giles & Nachmanoff were good picks & Elizabeth Haynes should be considered for any future 4th circuit (VA) vacancy.

    Jamar Walker is another outstanding pick & certainly was the better pick over Kevin Duffan. I’d venture to say this is the second best pick of a black man for a district court seat in a decade after Jamal Whitehead. He along with Haynes could be considered for a future 4th circuit seat. It sucks Javal Scott didn’t work out for the Western district vacancy or Virginia might be amongst the state with with best overall Biden nominees to date in my book.

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  3. Oh wow according to the bio, we were in the same class at UVa. Good for him. (Also there’s a reference to Nachmanoff that should probably be edited out.)
    I don’t mind a prosecutor nominee every now and then as long as there’s good overall diversity and there’s nothing unethical or problematic in their history. Looking forward to seeing him on my home court.

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  4. Walker is an interesting nominee. I think AUSAs are over represented in the courts, and I generally don’t like the nomination of criminal prosecutors (which is why I don’t like Patricia Giles.) However, Walker’s entire record as an AUSA is prosecuting fraud and corruption cases. I’m ok with that.
    I also don’t particularly care for his BigLaw experience, particularly defending polluters. However, Walker only spent 3 years there and was not a partner, likely to pay off student loans. Much the same way that Rachel Bloomekatz worked at Jones Day for a couple years. Walker never became a partner in BigLaw.

    All in all I think this is a good nominee, and given his age (I LOVE that he was born in 1986!) and demographic information, I give this an A-.

    I want to talk about Kevin Duffan. On paper he looked like an ok nominee, a plaintiffs attorney, although he was also a prosecutor. Upon further examination, Duffan is a Republican, having donated several times to GOP candidates including the hideous GOP state AG, and has only one donation to the Democrats, that to Ralph Northam when he nearly switched to the GOP.
    *There is absolutely no reason why he should have been recommended to Biden in a blue state.*

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    • I agree Shawn. I think this was a missed opportunity by The White House. I would have called the Virginia senators out for even sending Kevin Duffan as a recommendation to “brush back” other Democrat senators who may be doing or do the same in the future.

      Picking Walker is great, but making a big deal about why are blue states sending nominees like Duffan in the first place would have been even better & sent a clear message that this administration will not even look at, let alone nominate any more Christine O’Hearn type of nominees.

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      • Some may remember the re-nomination of Walter David Counts of Texas in 2017. Counts is a Democrat nominated by Obama as part of a bipartisan package whose nomination expired even though no one had any problem with him. He was nominated again by Trump even though the state has two Republican Senators. Counts’ predecessor, Robert Junell, was a Democrat nominated by George W. Bush under the same circumstances.

        While Kevin Duffan is a Republican, it’s clear that many local Democrats think highly of him.

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  5. Looks like a judicial rock start line up for Allison Nathan’s investiture today. Another reason why she is my current (And I stress the word current) pick for any non Sotomayor or Roberts SCOTUS vacancy if Biden is still president & Democrats are still in the majority. I’ve correctly guessed the past 3 justices. As time goes on others may pass her on my prediction such as Roopali Desai, Rachel Bloomekatz or Bradley Garcia but for now Nathan would be my guess.

    (https://twitter.com/mcpli/status/1565424635214192647)

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  6. I noticed that too. She would be a strong pick.

    One issue would be age. She is 50 so an elevation would likely have to come in the next few years.

    I think Myrna Perez is another one we could throw on the list of candidates, particularly if she is replacing Sotomayor.

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    • I most definitely agree the timing of the next vacancy would be significant to me staying with her as my guess. Not just because of Nathan being 50 right now, but also additional judges Biden could appoint to the circuit courts over the next couple of years. I actually see that more of a threat to me changing my pick more than Nathan being 52 or 53 in a few years.

      I think Biden would want to make history again if he had a SCOTUS vacancy. Biden could appoint younger LGBT judges by the next vacancy. After some time on the bench, I could see me moving Roopali Desai to my pick. She too would make history as the first South Asian on the court.

      If Sotomayor were to leave the bench, then my guess would currently be Myrna Perez as well. I will probably move Bradley Garcia up after he gets some time on the bench.

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    • As I’ve said before, my choice is Goodwin Liu for any opening that may come before 2025 other than Sotomayor. I think Liu should have replaced Breyer.

      But I suspect that Biden may be very tempted to nominate Desai given how strong her confirmation vote was and that she is Asian-American. Personally I do not think she is ready yet, but maybe in a few years.

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      • I just don’t see Biden nominating a non circuit court judge maybe other then the US Solicitor General. He just doesn’t strike me as somebody that would go out of the norms & pick a state court judge, even a phenomenal one. I’m not saying I personally agree with that, but when I make my pick, I’m saying who I think Biden would pick. I think had Kruger took the Solicitor General position she reportedly was offered, she might have been a real threat to KBJ.

        If Chief Justice Roberts were to leave for some reason, I think Biden would upgrade one of the 3 sitting liberals as the first woman chief. Then I would revert back to my Nathan pick to replace them as of today. Of course unless Sotomayor was his pick (Which I doubt she would be).

        I think Goodwin Lui would have had a chance if he had been nominated to one of the three 9th (CA) seats. Him instead of Lucy Koh would have been terrific.I would love to know if he was either approached, applied or seriously discussed for either seat. Perhaps he felt the CA SCOTUS chief seat would be vacated & thought he had a shot at that. Newsome really made a bad pick there.

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      • I very strongly disagree with you on that. I don’t think it is “going outside the norms”, whatever the hell that is, to appoint a state Supreme Court judge. Kruger was in the final three as was unfortunately an unqualified district court judge.
        The reason why a bad President like Biden wouldn’t pick Liu is because he thinks Liu is too far to the left, not because he is a state Supreme Court justice. And this is a big reason why I still strongly disapprove of Biden and didn’t care for his speech today. The biggest threat to the country isn’t MAGA Republicans but moderate establishment left-bashing Democrats. MAGA Republicans are a symptom.

        And no I don’t agree with you that Nathan is the front runner.

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      • @Shawn

        Recent history is what says picking any non circuit court or Solicitor General for the SCOTUS would be outside of the norms. While I know overall history has had plenty of justices that were not from either of those two positions, the fact of the matter is in our lifetimes, the last time somebody was confirmed to be a justice without being in one of those two positions was October 2, 1990. I think 32 years in a row makes something a norm.

        And yes Kruger was one of the final three but so was a district court judge. And neither of them were picked which furthers my point that a circuit court judge or solicitor general would likely win out.

        Nathan may not be the choice if there was a vacancy but I’m just using the same logic that I used to successfully pick the last three correctly. Now I will in all likelihood change that pick once a vacancy actually occurs based on when that is as many things can change.

        But I don’t see why Nathan would be a pick you can’t see being made by this president & this senate. She is 2 years younger then KBJ, would be the first LGBT justice, worked in the Obama White House, has been confirmed twice before by the senate & is from the majority leaders home state. I actually don’t see the argument against why somebody wouldn’t see her as a strong possibility despite if you yourself may or may not have picked her.

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      • @Shawn

        I respectfully disagree 100% with you that ANY Democrat is more of a threat to this country then MAGA Republicans. Democrats, even left bashing Democrats don’t want to take a women’s right to decide what to do with her body away (With the exception of maybe that Texas congressman & Joe Manchin). They don’t want to take the right to vote away from people they don’t think will vote for them. They don’t want to over turn elections they lose & lie about them when over turning them doesn’t work. They don’t want to use violence to get their political agenda advanced. They don’t want to white wash history. They don’t want to ban books or stop people from saying the word gay. They don’t want to eliminate majority black districts even though their state gained electoral districts on the population increases of black & brown oriole. They don’t think climate change is a hoax.

        I also don’t think Biden has been a bad president. He certainly hasn’t been perfect, but if we step back & actually look at what’s been done since he took office, it would be a lot. And that’s with a 50/50 senate & slim House majority. Of course I know they could have gotten more done if they would have canceled some recess & weekends but still don’t think he’s a bad president.

        Those are my opinions on the matter.

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  7. If Roberts were to retire suddenly I think Kagan would be the natural Chief Justice pick. She is younger and regarded as the less ideological of the two. Then we could slide Nathan into her spot and not miss a beat.

    If Sotomayor were to leave then Perez would be the best pick. Garcia would probably need a few years of experience on the bench before he’s ready, but maybe if it’s in Bidens second term.

    If Clarence Thomas were to leave there may be some pressure to appoint a black judge to that seat since it would be restoring Thurgood Marshalls seat. Biden has nominated a lot of black women but as Dequan has pointed out there hasn’t been a a black man in nearly 10 years confirmed to a circuit seat.

    If it’s anyone else I don’t think there’s much in the way of pressure to check a certain box so Biden will likely go with the best available (which may be Nathan).

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  8. @ Dequan

    Yeah, I agree with you about MAGA Republicans….Many of their current candiates would simply refuse to certify elections where a Democrat is the winner…..That is dangerous stuff….Prior to MAGA Republicans, the only time you’d see American candiates talking about overturning or not certifying elections would be the plot in a TV show and/or a movie….

    On top of that the MAGA crowds views on abortion, gay marriage, contraception!, are right out of 1650….Those people would return us to the days of the Salem Witch Trials if they had it their way..

    And as far as Biden goes, I think he’s done well….He got some big legislative accomplishments – infrastructure bill, CHIP Act, PACT, Act, Inflation Reduction Act, gun bill….And of course, some very good judicial nominations!…..(But let’s get Dale Ho & Rachel Bloomekatz confirmed!)

    Keep in mind, Biden is getting things done with a slim majority in House & Senate…..If Biden had the majorities FDR, LBJ , or what Obama had in 2009, think of what likely would have gotten done….. We’d have 13 justices on SCTOUS, we’d have a great Voting Rights Bill, DC would be a state, just to start…

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    • @Rick

      Exactly. I think criticizing Biden & Democrats is not only ok, but a good thing to do. We can always push our leaders to do more & better. But I just don’t see how he has been a bad president if you look at what he has done with such slim majorities. And to your point, Obama had 60 senators for 17 months & I can’t say he got more done then Biden has. Of course times were different back then but I truly think Biden has done a good job.

      Hell, even on things I disagree with Biden on such as the strategy to exit Afghanistan, I still agree with the overall decision to withdraw. And when it comes to my favorite subject federal judges, of course I have criticized some of his picks. However when you look overall, I honestly have to say Biden has been the best since FDR. And FDR had three terms & overwhelming majorities.

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      • The 60-seat Democratic majority in 2009-2010 had a lot more rural centrist Democrats like Manchin. Perhaps they could still pass voting rights stuff but several Senate Dems in 2009-2010 were anti-abortion and/or pro-gun, and even with those 60 Senators today it’s unclear whether Dems still have 50 votes to nuke the filibuster, and if they don’t then a single Dem senator can block Dem legislation.

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      • @Ryan Joshi

        Oh yea, absolutely. I was talking about getting more things done such as more judges if somebody like Leahy wasn’t the chairman back then. Even just more judges from blue states back then could have been accomplished. I know some on this site have disagreed with me in the past but I still believe they could have gotten DC as a state back then as well with Obama’s popularity. I would have taken that over more judges.

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    • A nice size batch. I think we’d seen Johnstone named as Tester’s likely choice for the Ninth, so glad to see him not delayed by waiting on Sen Daines. I’m still surprised it’s taken so long to get a 4th Circuit MD pick.
      Plus eight district nominees. I think all of Schumer’s NY names had been announced right? This Casey Pitts for Northern CA seems good. A labor rights focused attorney.

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      • The WH definitely picked up pace sending nominations to senate last few months….Now if the SJC will at least hold back to back hearings, since they didn’t have any hearings during the recess (like the Republicans did)..They have alot of nominees to process..

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      • Here is my initial assessment;

        Anthony Johnstone (c. 1973) – He was my first choice from the start the minute the vacancy opened up. .. A-

        Charnelle Marie Bjelkengren (c. 1975) – African American state court judge. Seems like a safe choice, not too progressive from the off set… C+

        Gordon Gallagher (c. 1969) – He is actually pretty progressive. He is also from the suburban portion nof the state instead of Denver like the other judges. My only knock against him is he is the oldest of the 3 recommendations B

        Jonathan J.C. Grey (c. 1982) – This is a SOLID pick. I think he moves up to my second favorite Black man nominated since Robert Wilkins after Jamal Whitehead. He is a labor lawyer that also led diversity programs and anti-domestic violence initiatives. He also prosecuted illegal firearms, fraud, and international narcotics offenses. .. A (With the possibility of moving up to an A+.

        Colleen Lawless (c. 1983) – Johanes Maliza really should have been the easy pick here out of the 3 recommended lawyers. Particularly with Biden’s lackluster record on nominating Hispanics. As for Lawless, her practice focused on employment, banking, and family law. This was really a missed opportunity. I will give her a higher grade for her age… C+

        Orelia Merchant (c. 1970) – I spoke about the 3 Schumer recommendations months ago on another post on this site when the names first came out. She is good but there were more progressive & younger choices… B

        P. Casey Pitts (c. 1981) – This is another pick I had on my list. A young LGBT labor lawyer who volunteers with the Workers’ Rights Clinic of Legal Aid… A-

        Ramon Reyes (c. 1964) – Another decent pick but certainly more progressive & younger Hispanic picks available in New York… B-

        Arun Subramanian (c. 1979) – Young South Asian whistle blower & false claim lawyer. He clerked for three Federal judges, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg & was appointed Chief Justice Roberts to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Evidence…. A-

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      • If I’m not mistaking, Anthony Johnstone if Biden’s first circuit court nominee that is a law professor when nominated. I know others have taught law in their past, but I just looked through all 37 nominees & can’t find one that was a law professor at the time of nomination.

        Pretty amazing being that many of the names we have mentioned who are law professors would have been great picks. Melissa Murray, John Rappaport, Jennifer Nou, Andrew Manuel Crespo, Cristina Rodriguez & Justin Driver just to name some.

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  9. More good news. Rachel Wainer Apter will finally move forward with her nomination to the New Jersey SCOTUS. She is a 41 year old rock solid progressive & I would happily consider her for any future 3rd circuit vacancy or even the US SCOTUS. I am not too thrilled governor Murphy had to promise to keep the partisan balance on the court but I’m just happy Apter will finally be on her way after a year & a half.

    (https://newjerseyglobe.com/judiciary/schepisi-releases-nomination-of-wainer-apter-to-n-j-supreme-court-murphy-will-nominate-fasciale/)

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    • Unfortunately another scathing article from Thomas A. Saenz. We test could use that 5th (TX) pick right about now which I’m about 95% sure will be Hispanic. Besides that, there are only 3 other circuit court vacancies without a nominee. Biden really missed an opportunity by not nominating Cristina Rodriguez or Andrew Manuel Crespo to vacant seats in the 2nd or 1st circuits. Nico Rodriguez should be getting vetting now so the moment any 7th (IL) judge steps down he could be nominated for the seat.

      (https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-08-30/latinos-dont-see-themselves-fully-reflected-in-bidens-judicial-picks)

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      • Looking at past circuit court questionnaires, the time between initial contact to an announcer can take as little as 3 months. Even in a purple or red state. Now of course I don’t expect Cruz to be cooperative so we will have to see if Biden wants to drag the process out. Hopefully not because whoever gets nominated to that seat at this point won’t be confirmed this year.

        They mine as well put up a 40 year old progressive Latina & either Democrats hold the senate & confirm her next year or she won’t be getting confirmed regardless. I would actually prefer they nominate her this month so she can have her hearing right before the midterms & let the country see Republicans testing into a young Latina that is probably the first in her family to achieve the American dream.

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      • @Dequan

        Maybe the White House already has someone in mind, but I don’t think so. Costa’s resignation caught everybody off guard.

        Amparro Guerra is the name that seems to come up the most, given her very narrow margin of victory in 2020 (though Shawn rightly points out that Harris County is trending to the Democrats) and the fact that she seems to be a safe choice. Guerra strikes me as a center left nominee who’s acceptable to progressives but won’t inflame conservatives.

        Veronica Rivas serves on the same court but won by a larger margin than Guerra. She’s also a center-left type who would satisfy the left without angering the right.

        IMHO, those are the two front-runners if they’re interested.

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      • Oh I doubt we will get a 5th circuit nominee this month. I was just saying after reviewing some questionnaires for other nominees, we could see a nominee if Biden wanted to sidestep Cruz knowing he won’t play ball regardless.

        Amparro Guerra is my first choice, but Veronica Rivas is also another great choice. I just don’t want any of the Obama district court judges picked. I don’t believe any of them are younger then 50 plus we would have to backfill their seats with Coryn & Cruz blue slips.

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    • While I am glad that Apter may finally be confirmed, this upsets me to no end.
      All these layers upon layers of nonsense unwritten rules and compacts. NJ Dem govs should do what Biden did with the ABA, tell them to go take a hike.
      If Murphy really wants to be a fighter, he’d nominate people only from counties with Dem senators. It would suck for geographic diversity, but that’s the cost of that rubbish senatorial courtesy.
      And why the hell should blue NJ keep the “traditional”
      balance on the courts? So now, a seat might remain intentionally vacant for two years?? Just so that a partisan balance can be maintained?
      This would never happen in Georgia or Texas or Florida.
      Dems have no fighters…

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      • They aren’t nonsense, rather there is tradition regarding such norms and it is the benefit of everyone when they are followed. Yes some in the Republican Party are okay with overthrowing such norms, but that doesn’t mean Democrats should be the first to do so.

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      • I’m happy to say that for the most part your outdated view of things are indeed outdated… from a long gone era.
        Who benefits?
        Also, who benefits when one group uses the power they have while the other only timidly respond?
        In your view, Dems should only be on the defensive on everything. God forbid Dems get tired of the unleveled play field and decide to strike first. The sky would fall.
        As for me, I’d rather be crushed by the weight of the falling sky in that situation than always waiting in a defensive posture.
        This is why I want young judges, they are not stuck in the old myopic way of thinking.

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    • I’m not sure they are counting Khan as Hispanic. I’m not familiar with Angola so I can’t say for sure. But even with her I guess he feels 6 out of 37 isn’t enough. More so because of some of the missed opportunities to put the Hispanics on circuits that doesn’t have any like the 5th (Still have a great chance to fix that), 6th, 7th & 10th circuits. And they only kicked out to get a last minute fourth vacancy on the DC circuit.

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  10. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, said he planned to scrutinize Johnstone’s record closely.

    “The current member of the 9th Circuit from Montana and all three federal district court judges were appointed by Democrat Presidents and have consistently supported the policies of the far-Left — everything from blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline to supporting extreme gun control policies to locking up critical forest management projects,” Daines said in an email. “The lone seat in Montana on our nation’s largest circuit court needs to follow the Constitution — not advance Biden’s agenda or legislate from the bench.”

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  11. Do you really think that Biden will nominate a Hispanic Candidate for the 5th Circuit? Secondly, I know most of you are in favor of Ajmel A. Quereshi for the Maryland seat. Would George Hazel be a bad pick in your opinion? Just wondering what your thoughts are. Are there any good Hispanic candidates in your opinion for the 1st Circuit, New Hampshire seat, or the 7th Circuit Indiana seat?

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    • @derickjohnson

      Here my opinions on each of your questions;

      1. I do think Biden will pick a Hispanic for the 5th (TX) seat. Out of all the vacancies he had about 4 months ago when we really started talking about him needing to nominate more Hispanics to the circuit courts, this seat, the DC circuit (At that time the 4th vacancy wasn’t announced yet) & one of the 2nd (CT) seats were the ones I said were most likely to be Hispanics nominees. He blew two vacancies on the 2nd (CT) although some count Khan as Hispanic since she’s Portuguese. He got extremely lucky there was a fourth vacancy on the DC circuit after he picked Florence Pan for the third vacancy on that court. He can’t blow this pick. The article I posted from Sanez yesterday was scathing on his disregard for Hispanics when it comes to his circuit court picks. He simply can’t blow this one. I am 95% sure it will be a Hispanic nominee & more then likely a Latina.

      2. Ajmel A. Quereshi would definitely be my favorite pick for the 4th seat. I got scared earlier this year when he became a magistrate judge because it’s very rare you go directly from that to a circuit court seat. But Biden had nominated two magistrate judges just this year so he still had a chance. Particularly with him being a historic pick as the first Muslim circuit court judge & third federal judge overall.

      3. George Hazel would not be a good choice, I don’t know if I would cal him a bad choice. He is a young black man which is needed desperately on the courts since it’s been 3,154 days since the last time we have had one confirmed. But I want the right black men. Andrea Mathis was a great pick for a red state. Jabari Gamble was a good pick. I’m afraid Hazel doesn’t seem to be as progressive on the bench as I would like. He would be an ok pick if it was a red or purple state & Biden was trying to negotiate in good faith to get a Republican senators vote but Maryland is a blue state so we should be able to get a young progressive, even if they are White.

      4. The 1st (NH) seat has been the hardest for me to predict since the beginning of Biden’s presidency. I named 3 ACLU lawyers I thought would be good choices in an earlier post on this site but not sure what direction they are thinking about for that seat. I doubt this seat will go to a Hispanic.

      5. The 7th (IN) seat definitely could be filled with a Hispanic. Mario Garcia is a magistrate judge but just like I said above that is still a possibility. He is 49 years old & is a former public defender & worked in the Legal Aid Society. My biggest fear is not getting a nominee at all for this seat before the midterms. I say that because since the Indiana senators surprisingly worked in good faith to nominate & support Doris Pryor, I don’t think Biden would side step them here on this last minute vacancy. So they could theoretically drag their feet & I think Biden would give them deference. But I would look for another consensus nominee like Garcia, Zackary Myers (Cindy Chung was just nominated from US Attorney to a circuit court seat) or somebody else in the mold of Doris Pryor. My favorite pick would be law professor Jessica Eglin but after the two Republican senators worked in good faith for the last vacancy, I think a 39 year old ultra liberal black woman is out of the question now. Plus Biden has only nominated one current law professor out of his 37 circuit court nominations so that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be a route he is taking often.

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    • Personally, I don’t see it as a lock like others do. First of all, Biden and his team will want to work as much as possible with Cruz to find a bipartisan nominee before they move forward alone, which takes extended time. In addition, this would also be a great chance to have a potential ‘first’ nominee (such as the first African-American) for the affirmative action loving party. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who the nominee is (so long as they are qualified), since the Democratic base, unlike the Republicans, cares not at all about the federal judiciary (although one could argue the overturning of Roe v. Wade is changing things on that regard, I have seen little evidence so far to show that to be the case).

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  12. It will be sad but predicative when 90% of the remaining judges aren’t confirmed by the midterms. The only thing sadder will be if Republicans regain control the Senate and all the remaining judges will never be nominated again. And watch Schumer confirm judges like ancient Robert S. Ballou but not Dale Ho.

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      • How many of the pending nominees gf confirmed will likely depend more on Durbin then Schumer or Biden. The president has done a phenomenal job nominating people (Albeit I wish he had nominated more a couple months before the August recess).

        Schumer can knock a bunch of district court nominees out in a week. As I’ve said before if Schumer were strategic he could send 3 circuit court cloture motions each week on Tuesday, vote for cloture for all 3 on Thursday & then vote to confirm all 3 the following Monday. He could knock out at least 10 circuit court nominees a month if he just did that even with the current 3 day work week schedule. So all current circuit court nominees would be confirmed even before Election Day, let alone after the midterms before the end of the year.

        It really comes down to Durbin either increasing the number of hearings or nominees per hearing. Not counting this Wednesday’s hearing & not counting William Pocan or Jorge Rodriguez, there are 5 circuit court & 25 district court nominees that need a hearing. If he increased the number of district court nominees he would probably need to have five more hearings after next week. There are 7 weeks between next week & the midterms & the senate is out on recess for the 2 weeks leading up to the election. So Durbin would have to hold a hearing every week the senate is in session which we all know Democrats won’t do.

        So the nominees not getting hearings will likely be the reason they won’t be confirmed before the midterms. Now if the Dems hold the senate we could see them confirmed before the end of the year if they are laser focused on judges. Since these are Democrats I will say that is unlikely so I would just hope for them to hold the majority & most get co firmed by early next year.

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      • I agree, but with the rules of the Senate there is a cap on the amount of hearings that can be held due to the need to have minority senators attend them. Durbin will need to lean on his relationship with Grassley to get additional nominees/hearings before November. One possible deal could be to cap the number of nominees at each hearing at 6, so long as there are no executive nominees at them.

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      • @Frank

        I thought the same thing too. However somebody on this site (Sorry I can’t remember who) posted the rules of the SJC. When it comes to hearings, it doesn’t require a member of the minority to be present in order to hold a hearing only to vote on the nominees require a member of the minority to be present according to what they posted.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Somebody suggested there is a work around in the event of a boycott. I think a Democrat could suggest a voice vote & as long as there was a second member to concur & no objection from anybody present, I believe that’s a work around. So the last part of what you wrote, simply a unanimous opposition from Republicans requiring 4 hour discharge votes for every nominee is the more likely Republican opposition response.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Remember when Graham said that the GOP would boycott a vote on Build Back Better to prevent a quorum? There were articles explaining what would happen at that point. Since quorum is not needed unless a Senator requests a quorum call, there were discussions about a designated Republican requesting a quorum call and then hiding to prevent the quorum, however that could only go on so long. So I would guess the same would be true for SJC; as long as all the Democrats are there, the nominees can advance.

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  13. I’m at my folks’ for the long weekend. This is where I keep my library of books that I’ve read.
    With mixed feelings towards Biden on judges but can say with supreme confidence that he’s lightyears better than Obama, I picked up an old Jeffrey Toobin book that’s heavily highlighted, illustrating this point:

    “The Obama administration illustrated a fundamental difference between contemporary Republicans and Democrats. Starting with Ronald Reagan and proceeding through both sets of Bush years, Republicans demonstrated a profound commitment to their vision of the Constitution. There was a Republicans judicial agenda for change… Republican presidents talked publicly about this agenda. They made judicial appointments, including to the lower courts, a major priority. Republican legislators fought for their party’s judicial nominees–and obstructed and harassed Democratic nominees tot he courts, even uncontroversial ones…
    (This book was published 3 years before Scalia dropped dead and the Garland nomination.)

    “Obama made two sterling appointments to the Supreme Court, and he was justly proud of these accomplishments. but his interest in judicial nominations appeared almost to have begun with Sonia Sotomayor and ended with Elena Kagan. Obama’s lassitude regarding the lower courts was astonishing. In the summer of 2012, when the Senate more or less shut down confirmations until the election, there were 77 vacancies on the federal bench out of a total of about 874 judges. At that point, Obama had failed even to submit nominations for 43 of the judgeships, and Republicans will prevent many of Obama’s 34 nominees from coming up for votes… But Republicans could hardly be blamed for blocking judges that Obama failed to nominate in the first place.”


    When the old-timers share their oft-repeated quip that Dem voters don’t care about judges so Dem politicians won’t care, remind them of this. Today, Biden could never leave as many vacancies on the table as Obama did. That’s progress. That shows that the base is waking up, slowly but surely, to the importance of the federal judiciary. Maybe in a few more cycles, Dems will care more about the courts and adopt the Republicans “fill every vacancy by all means necessary” approach. And that would be not a minute too soon.

    Like

    • @Gavi

      I completely agree. While I have some complaints about some of Biden’s nominees shiv as J Michelle Childs & Florence Pan, overall he has been the best Democrat president since FDR when it comes to judges in my opinion. We really need Durbin & Schumer to get most of the judges over the finish line.

      Liked by 1 person

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