Jorge Rodriguez – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

New York Assistant Attorney General Jorge Rodriguez, would be, if confirmed, the first Hispanic judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. However, his nomination has been the source of an ugly battle regarding his duty station, and Rodriguez becomes the first Biden nomination from a blue state who is more likely than not to remain unconfirmed.

Background

Jorge Alberto Rodriguez got his Bachelor of Arts from the Vanderbilt University in 2000 and went on to earn his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2004. After law school, Rodriguez spent five years as an associate at Mahoney & Keane in New York City and then four years at Deily & Glastetter in Albany. In 2014, Rodriguez became an Assistant Attorney General in New York, where he currently works.

History of the Seat

Rodriguez has been nominated to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. This seat was to be vacated when Judge David Hurd takes senior status (he indicated that he will do so upon confirmation of a successor). However, Hurd expressed umbrage when Rodriguez was nominated, noting that he would only take senior status upon the appointment of a successor based in Utica (where Hurd sits). Hurd subsequently, after representatives for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand indicated that Rodriguez was willing to move to Utica, unconditionally revoked his desire to take senior status.

Legal Experience

Rodriguez spent the first decade of his legal career in private practice, where he largely focused on corporate law. Among the matters he handled in this time, Rodriguez represented an attorney being sued for part of a share of legal fees by another attorney retained by the same client. See Gelband v. Matthews, 851 N.Y.S.2d 63 (Civil Ct. City of New York, New York Cnty, Sept. 26, 2007). He also represented shipping companies in an action brought against a dock side transportation company, which was dismissed for lack of federal jurisdiction. See Mediterranean Shipping Co. (USA) v. Rose, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85615 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 23, 2008).

Rodriguez also handled appellate matters during his time in private practice. For example, Rodriguez sought to overturn a dismissal by the trial court for his action for breach of contract and for replevin (an equitable remedy that involves returning personal property wrongfully seized). See Americredit Fin. Servs., Inc. v. Decoteau, 103 A.3d 761 (N.Y. App. Div. 2013).

Since 2014, Rodriguez has worked as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York. In this capacity, Rodriguez worked on civil recoveries and participated as an interested party in the prosecution of Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager who was convicted of securities fraud, and his co-defendant Evan Greebel. See United States v. Greebel, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 225669 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 13, 2017). See also United States v. Shkreli, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 230343 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 2018).

More recently, Rodriguez has defended against lawsuits challenging Governor Kathy Hochul’s school mask mandates. See Robert Gavin, Biden Picks Clifton Park Litigator as Region’s Next Federal Judge, Times Union, July 13, 2022, ​​https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/Biden-picks-Clifton-Park-litigator-for-AG-as-17303062.php.

Overall Assessment

With a career largely in commercial and civil litigation, Rodriguez would largely have avoided controversy in his confirmation. However, the controversy now rests on the seat he seeks to fill. With Hurd choosing to remain on the bench, it is unlikely that a vacancy still exists for Rodriguez to fill. Nonetheless, the White House has not withdrawn his nomination and the vacancy is still indicated on the U.S. Courts website (for now). Nonetheless, Rodriguez has little choice but to wait and hope that Hurd chooses to change his mind.

128 Comments

  1. If Democrats some how retain the House in the midterms, I hope they bring impeachment charges against Judge David Hurd. It will not succeed, but there needs to be at least something done to brush back future judges acting in this manner.

    As for Rodriguez himself, he deserves to be on the bench, any bench. I hope he is considered for the NY Court of Appeals by governor Hocul since there is a vacancy. If not, the next district court vacancy should go to him regardless of the duty station.

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      • I do not believe there is any law against what he did which is why I don’t believe he will be convicted. But as a sitting judge, he should not be openly participating in political manners. Trying to strong arm the president to handpick his successor would fall under that umbrella in my opinion.

        Especially when the reason he gave for the initial withdrawal was taken care of when Rodriguez said he had all intentions of moving to the duty station. Somebody else on this site stated there was a pending brief that once a judge sends the president his retirement & the president accepts it, then it is official. I think this is the case where that is tested.

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      • I think that Hurd, since he never announced a full retirement, didn’t break any laws by announcing his revoking of senior status. Nevertheless, this is another example of judges aiming to control in one way or another who their successor is.

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      • @Frank

        Yea I agree. Unfortunately there is probably nothing that can (Or will) be done about it. At the end of the day a law needs to be passed that at the very least, once a president names a nominee the retirement can’t be rescinded. Rodriguez really gets the shaft here. Fortunately he lives in New York so the likelihood of their being another vacancy in the next couple years is pretty good.

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    • Democrats likely won’t retain the House, and frankly they do not deserve to. That’s a completely undeserved reward for the pile of shit party establishment, and the ossified House leadership needs to be entirely cleaned out.
      My projection for the House right now is about 210-213 seats for the Democrats. They will fall short by 5-10 seats.

      I am also considering donating to the opponent of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who won only 58% in 2020 and might have an even closer race. She was the DNC chair in 2016, and is the epitome of the arrogant left-bashing establishment who stabs progressives in the back. I would literally vote for Donald Trump Jr. over her.

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    • @derickjohnson

      That is a great suggestion & probably the most probable. I think politically the better option would be the NY Court of Appeals vacancy since there is one now. I just saw a poll this morning that showed Governor Hocul’s Republican opponent only 1% outside of the margin of error. I’m not saying there’s a real chance she will lose but I think putting Rodriguez on the court would go a much longer way then the 60 plus year old moderates we have been seeing from the last two governors. But your suggestion is certainly a good one too.

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    • This is awesome thanks for this. I have seen beth robinson ceremony too and it was awesome. Are there other investitures or public interviews with biden judges yet? I have found a view interview with toby heytens CA4 and district judge chun of WA.
      Is it just me or did you cringe in schumer speech too? Sounded very partisan and he attacked the supreme court lol, thought he was meant to keep it a lot more low key.
      Great stuff!
      Tmo the confirmation process resumes!

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      • I just happened across this. I don’t usually watch induction ceremonies, too self-congratulatory for me. (Though, I guess if you’ve reach this point in your legal career, you probably do deserve to line up people to say nice things about you.)
        I was fascinated with this one because a third of SCOTUS showed up. I don’t think that happens often.
        It’s too bad she’s nearly aged out of SCOTUS consideration. Contrary to Dequan, I don’t think time is on her side.

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      • I don’t expect Nathan to be my SCOTUS favorite far past Biden’s first term. More so because there will be many other circuit court judges confirmed between now & a possible second Biden term. Many of them will be younger, just as if not more progressive & some LGBT I’m sure. I was more so calling her the favorite if a SCOTUS vacancy opened up sooner rather then later.

        She’s two years younger then KBJ so at least age shouldn’t be an issue through Biden’s first term. Seeing every liberal justice at her ceremony only cements my belief she would be the favorite & me getting 4 straight SCOTUS guesses in a row right, particularly with the 4 of them in the shadow of the majority leader speaking.

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  2. Grades for the most recent set of judges. (They mostly suck)

    Anthony Johnstone- B. bland standard nominee. Not bad, but not that great.

    Charnelle Bjelkengren- C No progressive background. Service in the AGs office before 2013 was under moderate Democrat and GOP attorney generals. (That’s what differentiates this nominee from those like Marsha Chien or Colleen Melody).

    Gordon Gallagher- B. Progressive nominee but quite old.

    Jonathan Grey- D+. Grey was a *management* lawyer, but was only an associate (likely to pay off student loans). No progressive record at all. I don’t know the extent of his AUSA record, but if he was largely prosecuting drug crimes, grade will stay at D+.

    Colleen Lawless- B+. Plaintiffs attorney for the most part. The reason why I don’t give this an A or A- is because I question whether she is actually qualified. Academic background is sorely lacking.

    Oriela Merchant- C. Has some good background at EPA, but I don’t know enough about her background elsewhere. Much better options existed.

    P. Casey Pitts. A+. Labor lawyer at Judge Marsha Berzon’s law firm who did pro bono for progressive causes. Really should be on the 9th Circuit. All California nominees should be like Pitts and Martinez-Olguin.

    Ramon Reyes- D. BigLaw and AUSA background, 58 years old, no progressive credentials. This selection sucks.

    Arun Subramanian- A-. Largely a plaintiffs attorney with considerable pro bono background. Ginsburg clerk, which is perhaps a plus.

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    • @Shawn

      It appears I got my notes mixed up when I initially gave my grades. I put the same notes for Pitts twice so I gave Grey a much higher grade. I’ll give my updated grades based on that. I was out of town when I got the notes initially mixed up… Lol

      Anthony Johnstone – This was my first choice & for a purple state even I think is a good pick… A-

      Charnelle Bjelkengren – I appreciate her being the first black woman in the states history but not really too much of a progressive background I could find… C+

      Gordon Gallagher – He’s progressive & from another part of the state other then Denver so I think that’s good balance. Unfortunately I take a lot off only for his age… B

      Jonathan Grey – I couldn’t find much on him & I did a lot of searching. I’m happy he’s a black man & very young so I’m hoping I can find he is also progressive. For now… C+

      Colleen Lawless – As I said before this was a missed opportunity with a young Latino recommended amongst the 3 names sent to Biden. While I’m happy she’s young, I see a lot of family law in her background… C

      Oriela Merchant – Very good background, particularly with the EPA. Still, there were younger options just as, if not more progressive… C+

      P. Casey Pitts – Young, progressive & LGBT labor lawyer. I looked up some of his cases last night & he is outstanding. I can see him as a possible 9th (CA) pick I’m the future if we can get any of the 3 GW Bush appointees to step down.… Solid pick here… A with the possibility of an A+

      Ramon Reyes – While I have been a big advocate for more Hispanic judges, this one doesn’t seem to be very progressive & is also old. Far better choices for this seat… C-

      Arun Subramanian – Anotjer good pick here as the districts first South Asian judge once confirmed. I also looked up his cases last night & he had an extensive pro bono portfolio. With him being in his low 40’s, a solid pick here… A-

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  3. I strongly disagree with people here that Biden has been the President on judges. That’s complete bullshit.
    The selection of scumbag right of center judge J. Michelle Childs for the DC Circuit is such a massive stab in the back. That horrible selection wipes out ANY good things Biden did on judges. 20 judges like Bloomekatz, Abudu, Freeman, Perez, etc doesn’t make up for

    Biden gave a strong speech today for labor unions, talking out of both sides of his mouth. Biden spit in the face of workers and progressives by selection of Childs. Don’t tell me that you are going to be the “most pro-union” President and give us trash judges like this.

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      • LOL! J. Michelle Childs was the least qualified of all of Biden’s circuit court nominations to the court that they were nominated. Childs is the only one that I would rate Not Qualified for the seat they were nominated for, as she has very little background in administrative or constitutional law questions that come up in the DC Circuit and has a mediocre academic record. Her expertise is in management side employment law, which she is one of the best there, but those questions don’t come up much in the DC Circuit. There is a reason why nobody considered Childs as a serious option for the DC Circuit.

        However, J. Michelle Childs did have one serious “qualification”, a powerful political hack pushing her candidacy. Without Clyburn, nobody would have considered Childs for the DC Circuit. When it comes to nominating political hacks, J. Michelle Childs is a textbook example.

        I don’t expect anything good from you, so no surprise there. But you don’t represent “most of the country” either. If you don’t like my views, well tough shit.

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    • While I agree some judges were horrible picks & J. Michelle Childs to the DC circuit was one of them, I don’t believe it erases 20 judges like Bloomekatz, Abudu, Freeman, Perez, etc. Even if he had out Chad Meredith on the DC circuit I wouldn’t believe that.

      We all know besides the two SCOTUS appointments, Obama’s first two years were lackluster when it comes to judges. Clinton did very well on judges but I’m sure if I dig through his circuit court judges I can find some as bad as Childs. I mean off the top of my head he put Trump’s sister on the 3rd (Pennsylvania). We have spoken at length about some of the racist Carter put on the bench in compromises. LBJ was very good on judges but I would be willing to bet he put some racist on the bench as well. JFK I believe did as well. We all know just based on Truman’s 4 SCOTUS appointments that he wasn’t that good in judges. I’m trying to figure out which president since FDR has been better then Biden on judges

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      • Given the stab in the back selection of J. Michelle Childs, I think every Democratic President since Truman (who was a disaster on judges) has done a better job on judges. Yes, Clinton, Carter, JFK, and LBJ had to make deals to get progressive judges through. And BTW, Trump’s sister wasn’t all that bad for a GOP selection frankly. She is probably to the left of J. Michelle Childs.

        But none of them put conservatives on the DC Circuit to please a political contributor, JFK did put a useless selection in Byron White on SCOTUS, but there was no indication at the time that White would be so bad (on the issue that White was known for. Even LBJ’s cronyism in Fortas was a disaster, Fortas was still a reliable liberal.

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      • As somebody who absolutely hates Biden putting J. Michelle Childs on the DC circuit, this will have to be one we agree to disagree on. There’s just no way I see her as bad as you do. She was a horrible pick but I would never say she’s worse then a racist judge put on the bench by a Democrat president in order to get liberal judges on, when Biden has put plenty of liberal judges on the bench too.

        I think our disagreement is rooted in the reason we think Childs is such a horrible pick. I know you feel she is not qualified & is only on the DC Circuit because she had a political hack backing her. I on the other hand feel she is very qualified as she has a Masters in Law & many circuit court judges have somebody well connected backing them so I don’t hold that against her.

        I think she’s a horrible pick for 3 main reasons. First, there was a circuit court seat open in her state. So to take away a seat on the second highest court for her was strategically a bad move. Both Graham & Scott would have likely turned in their blue slips for her. While DeAndrea G. Benjamin is to the left of Childs, I would have been ok for the swap just in this case due to Graham’s willingness to vote yea in the SJC.

        Second, her age. At 55, there were better candidates that would have been a decade or more younger. 2 of the 3 Trump appointees are younger then Childs & she is not too much younger then most of the Obama appointees.

        Third, there were far more progressive choices. When you don’t even have to give the appearance to negotiate with Republican senators in blue states or DC, we really should be seeing the more progressive nominees. Childs is far from that.

        But with all that said, I still would prefer Childs over many of the judges we got from past Democrats. Now I know times were different so negotiations were necessary, but we just simply disagree on the reasons Childs is so bad, although we agree on her being a horrible pick for the DC circuit.

        I do like your staggered schedule to confirm judges though. I think that or my suggestion would accomplish both, getting senators time to campaign as well as confirm judges. While I don’t agree with you completely on Childs, I absolutely agree with you that the senate thinking they need more time off instead of getting work done is yet another reason why so many Americans have such a low approval of congress.

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  4. I completely agree with Gavi on ending bullshit norms., except that I would go a lot further in breaking some of these bogus shitty “norms”. I really think that the Democratic Party needs a total house cleaning to get rid of leadership that doesn’t want to fight, wants to restore/keep old fashioned norms, prop up bipartisanship, and bash the left. Those who are more interested in being fair to Republicans than getting things done should be thrown out.

    And if the Democrats don’t want to do this, they deserve to lose. I will support the GOP, even MAGA types over bogus Democrats like this.

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  5. Good news Ben. I would love to see Abudu and Bloomkatz at least get discharge votes.

    If I was Schumer these four weeks in September would be hyper focused on judges. No reason we shouldn’t take three weeks to work through the circuit court backlog and then the fourth week to run through every district judge that’s out there to get us totally caught up.

    The three weeks in October can be all about messaging bills like gay marriage, abortion, maybe marijuana banking. Then the five weeks in the dead period can be the rest of the judges and any other nominee that needs to be confirmed.

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  6. They are only scheduled to be in 2 weeks in Oct……If Schumer could just work some Friday’s and maybe a Saturday this month, the judicial nominations could all be confirmed……I understand we have some senators in close races, but I’m convinced senate Democrats can walk and and play fantasy football (sorry, its NFL time hence the analogy) at the same time

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    • @Rick

      I’ll even do you one better. The Democrats could work just 3 days a week & take Monday’s off all the way until the midterms & still get all judges confirmed if they would just be strategic. Every Tuesday send a cloture motion for 3 circuit court judges. Vote for cloture on all 3 that Thursday then the following Tuesday confirm all 3 & repeat. Also at the end of all 3 days discharge whatever nominee had a tie committee vote. They can knock out the district court nominees in just one week. They can work on all other non judicial issues on the second half of Tuesday & all day Wednesday of every week.

      That way the senators can have 4 days to campaign Friday to Monday. No need to cancel any of the 2 weeks they work in October.

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  7. Even if part of that work period is canceled, there’s no reason judiciary couldn’t hold it’s nomination hearings. Most D members aren’t up for reelection and the who are running are in safe D states. Shouldn’t be a huge deal as long as Schumer is strategic and productive with votes in September.

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  8. What a disaster.
    Final confirmation votes isn’t even the issue. As is often noted, Schumer can knock those out.
    The biggest issue here is hearings. In other words, the cancellation of the October session wouldn’t even be a big deal if Durbin and the Dems just added more recess hearing days.
    Now, Republicans know that Dems want to recess again in October, further limiting hearing days. Do you think that the GOP will be in a hurry agree to extra hearings?
    Mitch McConnell must be laughing.

    Judge Aileen Cannon

    It’s difficult to know where to start to *attempt* to explain how breathtakingly bad her ruling is. What a corruption of revendication!
    But jurisprudence was never the point. Republicans know this: It is never about the law. It’s always only ever about the judge.
    DOJ should absolutely appeal this all the way to SCOTUS. Garland should be forced to resign if he doesn’t because his passivity would be equally damaging to the rule of law as this ruling.
    It’s worth noting that Trump appointed about half the judges on the 11th Circuit so don’t expect anything from that court.

    Judicial awfulness is all around us, and Dems do nothing. This is why I can’t start handing out gold stars to Biden & co on judges.

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    • At this time, final confirmation votes are the issue. It takes 30 hours to confirm a circuit court nominee. That is the absolute bottleneck here.

      As I’ve said many times here, if Freeman is not confirmed or Bloomekatz and Abudu don’t get get floor votes before the midterms, don’t expect me to vote for the Democrats.

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    • No the bottleneck are the confirmation votes! It takes 30 hours to get a vote for each circuit court nominee. That’s the primary issue here, not the hearings for nominees that likely won’t get a vote before the end of the session.

      As I’ve said before, unless the Democrats confirm Freeman and give Bloomekatz and Abudu floor votes before the midterm (if Manchin tanks a nominee, I can’t hold that against the party leadership if they tried), I will not support them in the midterm. I’m not going to reward this kind of pathetic defensive and lazy attitude any longer.

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  9. The excuse that vulnerable incumbents need more time to campaign is utter bullshit. This kind of laziness and refusal to do their job is exactly why the American people hate Congress so much.

    The only senators who should get any allowances are Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto. The other ones should be able to travel back in a private plane pretty easily. And frankly if Michael Bennet of Colorado can’t win in a state that Biden won by double digits when the Democrats are strong among college educated voters, he doesn’t belong in the Senate.

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    • The only reason Republicans actually have a shot in Colorado is because their nominee is neither incompetent nor an extremist. Most of the GOP nominees in swing states are one or both of those things.
      If Dems had a bigger majority, say 55-45, I would suggest letting their incumbents up for re-election take turns campaigning so that Dems could continue to hold session with a majority each week. Sadly this won’t work as Dems need all 50 members to be in person for the Senate to function properly (unless a Republican is absent & not available on call).

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      • The GOP doesn’t have a shot in Colorado, even with their fake moderate nominee. If they want to think it is competitive and waste money there, please proceed. If this was an open seat and the Democrats nominated a really bad candidate, perhaps they would have a shot, but not against an incumbent.

        The demographics of Colorado are such that this is a horrible environment for the GOP to overperform there, what the GOP really needed was for cultural issues to be off the table and inflation to be the only major issue. Instead their candidate is on record as an anti-choicer who just flipflopped on the issue. And even his new position, abortions banned only at 22 weeks, was rejected in Colorado by 59-41 margin in 2020!

        https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Proposition_115,_22-Week_Abortion_Ban_Initiative_(2020)

        Polling has always underestimated Democrats in Colorado, so I expect Bennet to win easily at the end, probably by double digits.

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  10. I proposed a schedule for confirming nominees before the midterm a while back. Here is the post again.

    So I think what you need to do is to stagger the circuit court nominations between the ones that are going to be 51-50 and those that will get a handful of GOP votes. That way you can excuse certain senators (i.e. Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez-Masto) who need to campaign for re-election and long flights back.

    I would do the circuit court nominations in this order before the midterms:

    Week 1: Andre Mathis, discharges for Abudu and Bloomekatz, John Lee cloture

    Week 2: Lee confirm, Freeman, discharge for Garcia and other district court judges, Florence Pan cloture

    Week 3: Pan confirm, Abudu, discharge district court, Mendoza cloture

    Week 4: Mendoza confirm, Bloomekatz, discharge district court, Merriam cloture

    Week 5: Merriam confirm, Garcia, discharge district court, Pryor cloture

    Week 6: Pryor confirm, Montecalvo or TMR, discharge district court, Douglas cloture

    Week 7: Douglas confirm, district court nominees

    And sprinkle in district court nominees when possible

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  11. What are the rules on discharge and cloture votes being filed together? So if Lee clears cloture later today, can Schumer file cloture on more nominees AND file a discharge vote as well?…..I think after a discharge vote is filed, you have to have 4 hours go by before that vote occurs….

    Just wondering if he could file discharge on one or more of the nominees that need that, then also file cloture on some remaining circuit nominees?

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  12. Excellent news on Freeman and Mendoza. I suspect Freeman will get her cloture vote on Thursday after Mathis is confirmed (never thought I’d type that sentence).

    Schumer must be pretty confident that everyone except Rosen will be available, since Freeman’s discharge votes was along party lines.

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    • @Joe

      I’ve been waiting 1,157 days & counting to write any black man is confirmed to any circuit court… But who’s counting Lmao

      Schumer is confident on all discharge votes even with Rosen out unless any of the 49 Democrats have an objection. None have on any nominee so far so lets hope that continues. It sucks VP Harris will have to come in & break the tie if all 49 Republicans vote in unison but if that’s what it takes to get these judges confirmed, she better get her butt down to the senate floor.

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    • Not that I’m complaining but I need a little clarification. I thought 30 hours was needed after cloture was invoked for a confirmation vote, absent a unanimous consent agreement of course. If Lee’s cloture was invoked at around 8pm tonight, how is the confirmation tomorrow at 2pm, 18 hours later? I’m just trying to understand how the short cut of 12 hours can occur because that can be crucial to get all circuit court nominees confirmed.

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      • Just when I think I have the rules understood, they flip the script on me. Well at least this time it’s for the better… Lol

        It will feel good tomorrow to finally be able to add some more pictures to nominees on their Wikipedia pages. Cindy Chung already has a picture so I will add one to the other 5 from tomorrow’s hearing. Add in a circuit court confirmation & Andre Mathis cloture vote, the only thing that could make tomorrow truly epic would be the SJC post another hearing for next Wednesday.

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      • You are correct about everything… except that there was indeed a unanimous consent request that the Lee post-cloture time be considered expired at 2:15 on Wednesday. Sen. Casey was presiding. There was even at least one Republican (Sen. Portman) present at the time of this UC request. This took place prior to the adjournment last night. Again, if there’s any break from rules, assume a UC was requested and granted.
        I think Schumer always tries to do this, if time allows.

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      • Aaahhh ok Gavi, that explains it. Hopefully Schumer can sneak a few more 18 hours or less unanimous consent agreements in their. 30 hours is truly a tremendous amount of time when you only work 3 days a week from the start. This & the Roopali Desai give me hope that all current circuit court nominees might actually get confirmed this year regardless of the midterm results.

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  13. As I’m sure those of you that follow my list (especially @Dequan) have noticed, I made significant updates to my list over the weekend, including my new tab that lists all former clerks for the liberal Justices since 2000 (for record keeping purposes, even though some are conservative and/or no longer practicing law). Within the last 10 minutes, I found this massive database of all federal judges (including Bankruptcy and Magistrate judges) made by UVA Law:

    https://legaldatalab.law.virginia.edu/brmag-judges/index.html.

    I will try to find some more to add to my list, but if any of you notice some good potential names in there, feel free to send my way.

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  14. My take from todays SJC committee;

    I think my disagreement with @Shawn on Kelly Hodge was confirmed today. Judging by the Republican senators questions & her answers, not only do I believe she’s fairly liberal, I actually think she’s more progressive then I had originally thought by far. I believed Perez was probably the only liberal out of the 4 nominees but Hodge might not be far behind her judging from everything I heard today.

    The Republicans were much more aggressive then I thought they would be today. Montgomery-Reeves was peppered with questions about a report she co chaired on improvements to racial diversity to the Delaware courts. The back & fourth between Durbin & Kennedy seemed a bit testy.

    Judging by the off hand remark Kennedy made when questioning the district court nominees about sorry he has to interrupt because the chairman is only giving him 5 minutes to question 4 nominees for life time appointments, is probably a taste of the push back Durbin gets when trying to suggest adding additional nominees to a hearing. It was no surprise that both Cruz & Hawley used their time to chastise the Biden administration on the border.

    All I’m hoping for is at some point today the SJC site post another nomination hearing for next Wednesday but I’m not hopefully. At least we should get a circuit court confirmation & cloture vote today.

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    • Nice write up on the hearings today, Dequan.
      I don’t know if I got any greater insights into Hodge’s progressiveness from today’s questioning. That’s probably because I don’t allow Republicans to define who’s liberal or progressive or anything, whether explicitly or by their line of questions. To those extremists, anyone not as extreme as they are liberals, which is nonsense.

      I, too, noted Kennedy’s aggressive posture. Maybe this is what we should expect going forward. Maybe this means that many if not most SJC votes will require discharge on the floor. This would be totally worth it if the nominees were all very progressive. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste. (I’m still looking out for the votes on Ballou, who @Joe and @Frank in here seriously believe will get huge bipartisan margins. I disagree, but we’ll see.

      With the nominees on tomorrow’s agenda being held over, I hope Durbin won’t neglect to add them back on for next week.
      I also share Dequan’s hope (and skepticism) about Durbin adding a hearing day next week. Senator Whitehouse would.

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      • Well so much for a hearing next Wednesday. The SJC just posted their agenda for next week. Nothing nearly as important as lifetime appointments to the judiciary. Looks like they will be sticking to the every other week schedule. Lets just hope they at least add additional nominees per hearing every other week despite senator Kennedy’s cries today.

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      • @Shawn

        In general I agree with you. GOP opposition in itself doesn’t mean a nominee is progressive. I was speaking specifically however in Hodge’s case. Today several things was pointed out that I was unaware of that she admitted to so it wasn’t as if she disputed the allegations. She has some statements & writings from her past that are very progressive. I already didn’t have an issue with her, especially being from a purple state but today only reinforced my happiness with her pick.

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  15. I agree with Kennedy in that the time to question nominees is woefully short. However the biggest reason is that SJC has an absurd 22 members when it should be closer to 14 or 15. There’s just way too many clowns doing performative gestures.

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  16. Why is it ONLY Democratic senators get COVID?….Or is it that GOP senators don’t bother testing…..The law of averages isn’t working here, as it’s only Democrats who ever miss floor time..

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  17. Thankfully Sullivan, Murkowski, and Burr are all out this week as well so it’s a wash. I agree though, very annoying to have to deal with and hopefully everyone is back next week so we can get another batch of judges confirmed.

    Liked by 1 person

      • For the discharges, they all test just need to be knocked out in a 2 days span while all 50 Dems are in town. In 13 days it will be a full year since Dale Ho was nominated. I normally would always prioritize circuit court nominees but I think a full year of wishing & being from the home state of the majority leader would be an exception to my rule. Especially since he really should have been nominated to a circuit court himself.

        But either way there should be little time between his & Adbudu & Bloomenkatz discharge votes. Kato along with whatever future SJC tie votes should all happen before the midterms.

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      • @Frank, Abudu would be my top priority among that group. That’s the circuit that’ll be handling appeals on Trumps case and it’ll be good politics to get that seat filled as soon as possible. Besides, she’s a great nominee.

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      • For some reason my last post didn’t go through. I wrote I imagine the unanimous consent agreements are the reason we are not seeing any discharge votes this week. I am ok with that as long as we are shaving hours off of the 30 post cloture time & as long as Schumer doesn’t cancel any weeks in October without discharging those that need it.

        So far I count John Lee – 18 hours & Andre Mathis – 22 hours for a total of 20 hours saved just on those two alone. As for the order, after Mathis I would say Lee, Mendoza & Pan (Despite what I think of her being the nominee) should all be prioritized because you have 3 nominees Biden has intended to nominate, waiting for those 3 to be confirmed so he can officially send their names to the senate.

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      • A good reason to have Mendoza earlier as Biden has already announced who will be nominated to replace him on the E.D Wash., so there will be a greater likelihood of filling that seat before the end of the year as the nomination can be officially sent over.

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  18. Excellent news. Hoping we get a replica of this strategy next week and clear much more of our backlog. In addition to confirming Mendoza and Freeman I’d love to see movement on Pan, Merriam, Montecalvo, and Pryor.

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  19. Can I just say I hope today is the last time in our nations history that anybody can say it’s been 3,159 days since a black man has been confirmed to any federal circuit court in the country. I would have never imagined when Robert Wilkins was confirmed to the DC circuit on January 13, 2014, I would have to wait until September 8, 2022 to see the next black man confirmed to a circuit court.

    Tomorrow will be a proud day as a black man. I’m happy to see we have Jabari Wamble already in the pipeline. Congrats are in order to Andre Mathis tomorrow. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

      • If we know by November 15th that the Dems have held the Senate, I think the chances of getting Wamble confirmed this year is zero. With two more years of Senate control, the priority for Democrats will be a third reconciliation bill centered around the debt ceiling, a government shutdown fund, and getting as much of the budget passed. Basically the idea will be to prevent as much GOP sabotage as possible. I go back and forth on this, as I think it may be better to just let the GOP try these failed tactics in the House again.

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      • @Mitch

        First off, happy Black man confirmed to a circuit court day. Forgive me but I’ve been waiting 3,160 days to say that… Haaaaaa

        As for your question, Andre Mathis seems like he’s more of a humble man. He doesn’t strike me as a fire breathing outspoken liberal. His decisions will undoubtedly be liberal but I think without the partisan shots we have seen some judges take in recent years.

        But at the end of the day it comes down to numbers. With the ages of some of the current 6th circuit judges, if Democrats hold the senate I can see one or two more vacancies on that court. Five of the judges are over 70 & one of them, Julia Smith Gibbons has been a judge for 39 years. If Biden can name a couple more judges to that court, particularly replacing a Republican appointee or two, then that will reduce the Republican majority. That will make Mathis votes & opinions that much more important as the years goes on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There was a lot of feuding 20 years ago, I don’t know about now. I recall that the “leaders” of the liberal side were Boyce F. Martin Jr & Karen Nelson Moore, while the “leaders” of the conservative side were Danny Boggs & Alice Batchelder. I don’t know how much the Trump judges are into feuding with the remaining liberals, though if they are they have the upper hand now that the liberals are a clear minority.

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  20. on a completely different note, what do you about this potential nominee for the New Hampshire 1st Circuit seat? Sandha Iyer (born c. 1972) is currently the General Counsel of Dartmouth College.
    She was previously an attorney in both the DOJ Civil Rights Division and the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
    Before government service, she was Policy Counsel for the National Partnership for Women and Families (formerly the Women’s Legal Defense Fund).
    She also clerked for 9th Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas.

    https://members.nacua.org/cvweb_nacua/cgi-bin/memberdll.dll/info?customercd=13498&wrp=customer_speaker_profile.htm&customercd=13498&wrp=customer_speaker_profile.htm

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  21. @ Dequan

    Fun question…..Do you have a dream judicial nominee, someone who would only be confirmed if we had 2-3 more Democratic senators…..Someone who makes Bloomekatz, Ho, & Perez look like moderates…Is there a progressive A+++++ nominee to be found ?

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    • I have several, but I don’t know if we have seats to put them. They don’t have to be far more liberal than Bloomekatz or Perez, just capable of articulating a progressive agenda. But here are some of my favorites, I’m sure I’m missing many.

      John Rappaport- IL
      Fred Smith Jr- GA
      Lauren Sudeall- GA
      Melissa Murray-NYC
      Ria Tabacco Mar- NYC
      Marisol Orihuela- CT/CA
      Deepak Gupta- DC
      Lina Khan- DC/NY
      Andrew Manuel Crespo- DC/MA
      Meagan Hassan- TX
      Kate Andrias-NY
      Leah Litman- MI
      Angela Campbell- IA
      Marsha Chien- WA
      Eunice Lee- AZ
      Liliana Zaragoza-NY/AZ
      Stephen Vladeck- TX
      Karla Gilbride-DC
      Rochelle Garza- TX

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    • @Ethan

      Sandhya Iyer seems like a good choice, but this is actually the seat I don’t have a grasp on who might be the eventual nominee. The sexual misconduct at Dartmouth would depend on when it occurred. Iyer started in July 2017 & the misconduct was reported in November 2018. I would assume most of the misconduct occurred before she joined so it probably wouldn’t affect her if she was being considered.

      @Rick

      I actually answered that question a few weeks back on another post on this site. I listed a vacancy on each of the circuit courts except the Federal Cricut & the nominee I would want if Democrats had 60 seats. But I’ll name a few down here…

      Andrew Manuel Crespo – DC or 1st (MA)
      Deepak Gupta – DC
      Melissa Murray – 2nd (NY)
      Justin Driver – 2nd (CT)
      Joshua Perry – 2nd (CT)
      Jasmine Harris – 3rd (Pennsylvania)
      Ajmel Quereshi – 4th (MD)
      Rochelle Garza – 5th (TX)
      Amparo Monique Guerra – 5th (TX)

      Nico Martinez – 7th (IL) ***John Rappaport deserves to be first, however with Biden’s lack of Hispanic circuit court nominees, if a vacancy became available tomorrow, I would nominate Martinez first. ***

      John Rappaport – 7th (IL)
      Jessica Eaglin – 7th (IN)
      Monica Ramirez-Almadani – 9th (CA)
      Lauren Bonds – 10th (KS)
      Fred Smith – 11th (GA)

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  22. Thanks Shawn and Dequan for your lists….I’m going to look up some of those names to get more familiar with their backgrounds…

    In the past, some news outlets use to think Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken would be on a Democratic presidents short list for SCOTUS….Would either of you be excited about a Gerken nomination to a circuit court or SCOTUS?

    Let’s see if this prediction comes true:

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    • Heather Gerken is good but I wouldn’t include her on my list with her being in her mid 50’s. As for John Collins predictions, it may play out that way. I think Florence Pan might go higher up on the list. First because she’s a nominee with the second highest court & two because there’s a district court nominee that is intended to nominate waiting for her to be confirmed so his nomination can be sent to the senate.

      I wouldn’t worry about the 3 Dems being out because there are also 3 Republicans out so Schumer can still do discharge votes. I just don’t think he will right now since Republicans are agreeing to unanimous consent to knock hours off the 30 hour post cloture time for circuit court nominees. Between Lee (18 hours) & Mathis (22 hours), we have saved 20 hours.

      Like

      • Sorry for being the rules police, but I think there’s some confusion about cloture time.
        Republicans aren’t doing anything extraordinary by not blocking UC requests. This isn’t like a specific “agreement” like a confirmation package agreement. Full post-cloture time is *rarely* used up, per the regular order. The only thing that stops a majority leader from requesting a UC on cutting post-cloture time short is how busy the senate is, with other legislative business. Otherwise, he is going to request a UC to end the time and this is almost always granted*unless* there’s some general controversy, like killing the filibuster, etc.
        I’m not going to do a deep dive on C-SPAN but you’ll be hard pressed to find many instances of denial of post-cloture expiration UC requests.
        If there’s no other pressing business on the floor and the majority leader doesn’t request a UC, it’s because he doesn’t want to or is not very good at his job.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Gavi

        No no, your not being the rules police. We are genuinely confused by the difference in times so any input is welcomed. I appreciate the additional insight. If we can get some more 18 hours like Lee or even less like a Desai type agreement, then that really gives us a shot at getting all pending circuit court nominees currently on the floor confirmed before the midterms, unless of course they cancel more days in session which would be horrible.

        I was factoring in each nominee needing 30 hours & still saying they could get it done so this insight is welcome news. What is not welcome news is no SJC hearing next week. For as good as Durbin has been as chairman, no hearings during the August recess & no additional hearings post recess will be a stain on his otherwise good legacy for his first term as chairman.

        Like

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