Judge Wesley Hsu – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Los Angeles based judge Wesley Hsu, a former federal prosecutor, has been tapped for the federal bench.


Wesley Hsu got a B.A. degree from Yale University in 1993, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1996. After graduating, Hsu clerked for Judge Mariana Pfaelzer on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

After his clerkship, Hsu joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. In 2000, he shifted to become a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. He held that post until he was appointed to the state bench by Governor Jerry Brown in 2017. Hsu currently serves as a state judge.

History of the Seat

Hsu has been nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, to a seat vacated on February 14, 2022, by Judge Virginia Phillips’ move to senior status.

Legal Experience

Hsu started his legal career at the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Hsu worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office between 2000 and 2017, working as chief of the cyber crimes and property crimes section between 2008 and 2015 and as executive assistant U.S. attorney between 2015 and 2017. Hsu prosecuted Andy Garcia for hacking into the network of ViewSonic, a company that manufactures monitors. See Larry Dignan, Who Can You Trust?; Disgruntled Insiders Have Always Been the Biggest Threat to Your Network. But Now Geopolitical Tensions Raise the Ante on Checking Backgrounds of Those You Think You Can Trust, Baseline, Mar. 1, 2003.

Notably, Hsu prosecuted Michael Barrett, who plead guilty for secretly filming ESPN reporter Erin Andrews while she was nude. See Greg Risling, Westmont Man to Plead Guilty in Nude Video Case, Chicago Daily Herald, Dec. 11, 2009. Hsu also prosecuted Gilberto Sanchez, who pirated the movie “Wolverine.” See Michael Wilson, How a Bronx Glass Installer Became the Web Pirate Who Leaked ‘Wolverine’, N.Y. Times, Jan. 13, 2010.

In one of his biggest cases, Hsu prosecuted Hunter Moore, who created the site IsAnyoneUp.com, which allowed for widespread publication and dissemination of “revenge porn.” See Fred Shuster, Man Pleads Not Guilty in Internet ‘Revenge Porn’ Case, City News Service, Feb. 7, 2014. Moore was ultimately sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Doug Bolton, ‘King of Revenge Porn’ and IsAnyoneUp Owner Hunter Moore Given Two and a Half Years in Prison; Moore’s Website Specialized in Posting ‘Revenge Porn’ Pictures of People That Had Either Been Sent in by Ex-Partners or Stolen Through the Hacking of Victims’ Email Accounts, The Indepedent, Dec. 4, 2015.


Since 2017, Hsu has served as a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court. In this role, Hsu presides over trial court matters in criminal, civil, family, and other state law matters. Hsu is currently assigned to the Family Law Divison of the court.

Political Activity

Hsu has a couple of political contributions to his name, including one to State Controller John Chiang, a Democrat.

Statements and Releases

In 2014, Hsu was profiled in a Forbes article by Kashmir Hill. See Kashmir Hill, The Cyber Prosecutor Sending Nude-Photo Thieves to Prison, Forbes, July 31, 2014, https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/07/31/federal-prosecutor-nude-photo-hackers/?sh=80ab4c9ed6c2. The article discusses Hsu’s high-profile prosecutions, including those of Barrett and Moore. In the article, Hsu notes that he wanted to become a prosecutor after his parents were struck and injured by a drunk driver when he was a teenager. See id. Hsu also discussed his desire to be careful in prosecutions so as not to chill First Amendment activity, but also noted his hope to prosecute internet trolls to deter cyber-bullying. Id.

Overall Assessment

There is little in Hsu’s background that should complicate a comfortable confirmation. With a fairly conventional background, he should be confirmed relatively swiftly.


  1. While this is a good pick, there certainly were younger & more progressive options from the LA area. However this is a highly qualified nominee. I know he became interested in law because of the DUI driver that hit & heavily injured his parents when he was younger who subsequently got a light sentence.


      • Bryant Yang was on my list to The White House I sent at the beginning of 2021 for names to look at for federal judgeships. I am still holding out hope he will be the finally nominee for the vacant Southern District vacancy. There are no less than a half dozen Central District judges eligible for senior status as well. And I wouldn’t shed a tear if he was nominated to the 9th circuit either. I believe he’s in his late 30’s or very early 40’s so any seat in California I would be perfectly fine with.


  2. Judge John Tunheim of the District of Minnesota (whose term as chief judge recently expired) will take senior status upon confirmation of a successor. I’d expect a moderate and bipartisan nominee considering that the state has two moderate senators.


    • The two Minnesota judges that were nominated by Biden were not particularly moderate, but not particularly progressive either.

      -Katherine Menendez: Previously a Magistrate Judge but was a federal public defender for 17 years before that
      -Jerry Blackwell: Older and not particularly progressive overall, but very progressive on race-related issues.

      Here are a few names I have on my radar for Minnesota:
      -Reynaldo Aligada (born c. 1977). Currently a state judge in Minnesota but was previously a federal public defender. Would be the first Filipino-American federal judge in Minnesota.
      -Keala Ede (born c. 1978). Like Aligada, currently a state judge and former federal public defender. Would be the first Native Hawaiian federal judge outside of Hawaii.

      Any Minnesota Court of Appeals judge appointed in the last few years could also be in the running.


  3. This is enraging, its political malpractice and this is why i say this was an intentional stalling by republicans! Even though democrats have a majority ,due to GOP shenanigans and stalling this has resulted in tie votes! Its like ground-hug day all over again.
    This was intentional by the GOP they are that bitter and partisan to try to delay the nomination process
    Schumer being the lazy senator he is will let these folks stay in committee for weeks/months!
    Its so enraging whats the use of winning the senate if there are still going to be tie votes? this is malpractise by dick durbin and democrats


  4. Natasha merle, tied.. several other great nominees tied… because of a deliberate strategy by republicans to stall in bad faith and these are the vile scums biden is working in good faith to get nominees, insulting.
    Thats another week of senate time lost! They are barely in session and work 3 days in a week ,the GOP knows every time lost is critical. I dont buy it for a second, they are that deliberate and sick when it comes to using power.


  5. My recap from todays SJC meeting. Due to the Republicans not finalizing their membership yet, some nominees were held over for a second week in a row. Also it’s so much better having senator Graham as the Republican leader. He didn’t give a long winded speech as Grassley normally does. Here are the nominees voted to the door;

    Benjamin, Chung, Brad Garcia, Khan, Calabretta, Cartwright, Matthew Garcia, Guzman, Jenkins, Martinez Houlgin, Mendez Miro, Nelson,Reyes, Walker, & Whitehead

    Johnstone & Merle recorded 10 – 10 tie votes. Durbin said he will not report the nominees to the floor & they will vote on them again at a later time.

    Durbin said the Republicans should be voting on their committee assignments by the end of this week. I don’t see a nominations hearing posted for next week on the site so I hope that’s a mistake & they will add it to the site. Hopefully the next executive meeting will be next week as well with the full committee.

    Senator Feinstein interrupted the voting after Mendez Miro to make an odd statement that the nominee had previously received bipartisan support. It was not clear if she was talking about that nominee or somebody else. She wasn’t specific. Feinstein then spoke a second time later in support of Whitehead AFTER he was voted onto the floor.


    • @Dequan
      “Durbin said he will not report the nominees to the floor & they will vote on them again at a later time.”

      You literally cannot report a tied nominee to the floor, hence the “discharge” motion.

      Senator Feinstein re your recap
      I notice that you always dedicate a paragraph on Feinstein that is never complementary. In this case, I don’t think it’s fair. She spoke after the votes, but it was appreciate because she wanted to draw attention and have it in the record how the votes panned out, something she could do only after the fact. This is especially the case with the Whitehead vote. And her point there was absolutely correct.
      I get it, Feinstein is old. But until she steps down, she’s going to serve for a little under two more of the 6 years she was elected to serve. I don’t know if her performance can get better, but this one wasn’t bad. My opinion.


      • @Gavi

        Each previous tie vote Durbin has said (I’m paraphrasing) that the nominee will be reported to the floor as a tie vote. That is not what he said today. He explicitly said the nominees will be brought up again for a vote at a later time. So I was pointing out the difference with these tie votes versus the previous ones, which is of course the Democrats will soon have a 1 vote majority in the SJC & will be able to vote them outright to the floor once the committee assignments are finalized.

        As for Senator Feinstein, I dedicated a paragraph for her because she was literally the only senator besides the chairman & ranking member to speak, & she spoke twice. I don’t see how that’s not being fair when, if somebody is recapping a meeting & only three people spoke at the meeting, you tell everybody what all three people said.

        As for the recap not being complementary of her, I actually tru not to give my opinion regarding her when recapping. So if somebody feels the recap isn’t complimentary of her when only factual statements she made were given, that says a lot more about her then the person writing the recap. Now I do have my personal opinions of Senator Feinstein, but I try to just call it like I see it when recapping.


    • @Dequan
      If the chair can refer a tied vote to the floor there’d be no reason for discharge motions. Maybe Durbin previously meant to simply indicate that he wouldn’t going to bring up those tied nominees for another vote in SJC.

      I wasn’t only talking about this week’s recap. I meant all the recaps you’ve given on SJC meetings that Feinstein attended. You’ve singled her out when she’s late or forgotten something or was confused about something or Durbin getting impatient with her or whatever. There always seem to be a section dedicated to her and presented not in a neutral way. That’s my point.

      Anthony Johnstone
      Graham voted Nay because the now-RSCC chairman Steve Daines opposes this nomination. Daines personally lobbied against the Johnstone nomination.


      • @Gavi

        I don’t have the exact wording, but if you go back to any other SJC executive meeting where there was a tie vote, Durbin says the exact same thing after the vote. He actually reads it from a paper so they all are exactly the same. Today he explicitly said something different. I think he is indicating there will be no discharge vote this time but instead they will revote on both.

        As for me singling out Feinstein anytime she forgets a nominee or says something completely out of sorts, yes you are correct about that. However you’re ONLY correct because she’s the only one that seems to do any of that. I can assure you if senator Booker or anybody else recommends two nominees, forgets to introduce one then interrupts the next speaker to say he forgot to introduce his own second nominee, I will point it out just as quickly as I do for Feinstein.


  6. Well, that was a long multiple roll call. No surprises.
    We are about halfway through the 4-week session, and I think it hasn’t been a particularly productive one.
    Final confirmation of advanced judicial nominees should be the main focus for the next two weeks to save this session from being a total waste of time.


  7. Weird that Graham voted against Johnstone and Merle. I believe he was “present” on Johnstone in December. Can’t remember what he did with Merle.

    Regardless, that’s 16 nominees voted to the floor so at least we can finally get started in earnest next week.


  8. Weird that Graham deadlocked Johnstone this time.
    Also clear this is another nominee where the blue slip is going to be ignored (rightfully so) in the end so I once again have to believe the issue with Jabori Wamble is either he’s having second thoughts or something came up in a background check Biden/Durbin didn’t like.
    Whatever it is, it needs to be resolved sooner rather then later.


  9. I suspect they are trying to negotiate some kind of deal with the Kansas senators on the vacant district seat and some other administrative seats. That’s just my hunch though. Wamble seems like a perfectly mainstream compromise pick and other appellate nominees from blue/purple states were to his left last term. No reason to suspect the administration is being chicken.

    I am eager for some more appellate nominees soon, though. Hopefully we hear something soon.


  10. Why wasn’t Abudu mentioned as one of the nominees held over?

    Also, there was something weird in the way the WH worded their statement on Wamble. They said Biden “continued to have confidence in him” (paraphrasing a little). That would seem to indicate that Wamble has to do something to get renominated, but there is really nothing for a nominee to do once they’re nominated, except maybe meet with Senators.

    What I’m trying to say is, in order for the nomination to move forward, it’s up to the WH to renominate him, not for him to, I don’t know, lobby for it. What else could the WH think he should do that they are confident he will do? They’ve already nominated him, so the delay on renominating is troubling.

    Eager to see the scheduling of the first cloture votes and how many confirmations we get next week.


    • @rayspace

      Because the Republicans have not finalized their committees yet, I learned myself this week that somehow the make of up each committee from the previous year remains. Since the senate & this all committees were tied last year, the more liberal nominees such as Abudu & Dale Ho were held over a second time until the new committee membership is finalized.

      Since the new membership will be one more Democrat than Republican, it makes sense to wait to vote those nominees to the floor with an outright majority instead of a tie vote that would require a discharge vote. I know, it sucks


      • @Dequan: I get it that the membership is not set and the organizing resolution hasn’t passed, but my point is that I heard the names of the other judges held over, but not Abudu. Did I miss it?

        Also, could have sworn I heard the clerk say the vote on Johnstone was 11-10, but that doesn’t track with the current membership, so Durbin got it right.

        @Rick: Yes, the sooner the better. If Schumer is serious about this, he needs to get started now. No excuses.


      • The only names that I heard Durbin say that will be held over were those listed for the first time. He always does that. I didn’t hear him mention the names of any nominees that were held over a second time such as Abudu, Bloomekatz or Dale Ho. And yes the clerk initially made a mistake on the Johnstone vote. Graham voted no along with all of the other Republicans so she was probably just assuming Graham was going to vote yes just like I did too.


  11. Schumer should start filing cloture motions today….They have a roll call vote at 1;45pm, after that, start the cloture motions for some judges..

    And ASSUMING everyone gets a vote next week at the Thursday meeting, they’ll be another 2 dozen in the mic


  12. Who are we kidding, there wont be any movement on judges until next week.
    The GOP succeeded in wasting one week of floor time that could have been spent nominating judges, i strongly believe this was intentional to stall and prevent the nominees from being sent to the senate floor.
    Even delaying for just one week is a huge waste and they barely work the senators


      • For me, I would be much more willing to negotiate for positions like US attorney or US marshal than federal judges. The former are positions that the president can ask for resignations at anytime. I’d be willing to put Republican in some of those seats if it was part of a package deal to put Democrats in judicial vacancies in red or purple states.


  13. Not only are they off more Mondays in 2023, they gavel in at 3pm on Tues (Feb 7)….

    So is this the new norm….Some weeks they are in on Mondays, but the ones they aren’t they gavel in at 3pm on Tues….So that means the weekly caucus meetings would have to be on Wednesday….Makes for a lot less floor time this year


  14. I hesitate to even ask this, but does anyone know why the senate is out of session on February 6th? I can’t think of any holiday on that day.

    Either way, glad to see at least one vote set.


    • We had previously discussed this late last year when the 2023 senate calendar came out. There are a significant number of Monday’s the senate is showing out this year. They even had the nerve to mark some Friday’s off as of they planned on working any Friday’s at all.

      Sadly when they are out on Monday’s they don’t come in early Tuesday to get the week rolling. They still come in Tuesday afternoon the same time they would have on a Monday. Sucks they barely work but at least they don’t have much else to do when they are in session.


      • As far as I can remember, this is only the second time after KBJ that Schumer has filed cloture on any nominee the same day they were voted out of the SJC. It almost brings a tear to my eye to finally have some hope that Democrats are finally taking the judiciary seriously.


      • I thought the rule was you can’t vote on a nominee without 48 hours notice. I never heard that Schumer can’t send a cloture motion to the desk the same day the nominee is reported out of committee without unanimous consent. There’s no voting involved with that.

        I’m other news, this is great to see…



      • But senate action isn’t only in the form of voting. It includes making motions and such. Here’s the language of the rule (asterisks added for emphasis):

        When nominations shall be made by the President of the United States to the Senate, they shall, unless otherwise ordered, be referred to appropriate committees; and the final question on every nomination shall be, “Will the Senate advise and consent to this nomination?” ***which question shall not be put on the *same day* on which the nomination is received, nor on the *day on which it may be reported by a committee, unless by unanimous consent.***

        I know I must sound like a broken record by now, but in the US Senate, there’s a rule for everything, and there’s a UC to circumvent it.


      • The senate rule book never ceases to amaze me. Well the one thing I know for sure isn’t in the rules is a minimum number of hours that they must work… Haaaaa

        Thanks for the clarification.

        On another note, any ideas as to why no nominations hearing next week? Durbin sounded pretty sure about every other week in interviews last week so it seems kind of odd he would skip a week one month in the new congress, particularly with nine nominees pending (Not including Wamble). Also any word from Hyde-Smith on returning her blue slip for Scott Colom?


      • Sorry, I forgot to cite the rule, it’s Rule XXXI.

        And yes, the senate officially became organized last night. There’s still a lot of resolutions still to be UC’d into existence, which will probably take up floor time until middle to end of next week, besides a vote here and there on judges.

        I’m *assuming* that Hyde-Smith will not return her blue slip but not tank the nominee. She could withhold her slip and give a wink to the SJC to proceed out of deference to her senior senator.

        As to no hearings next week, I don’t think it’s too late for the SJC to schedule one later today or even on Monday. They’ve cut it close like this before. But if we really aren’t having a hearing next week it would be a mystery to me. Before I heap shame on Durbin, let’s see what he does. But I have to say that Senator Whitehouse would have never given up a hearing slot.


      • The senate & SJC “norms” bother me a lot. But what really gets me angry is when Democrats don’t even take advantage of the rules & norms. Missing a week that could have held a hearing so early in the new congress is ridiculous.

        And for those who give the usual “we have 2 years, don’t worry that’s plenty of time” answer, it’s already February. Time flies. Missing a week in the US senate is equivalent to missing a month in our normal lives. Hopefully they add a hearing for next week but I’m not too hopeful since they already added the meeting for next Thursday to the site.


      • What we should do is create and maintain a Google Doc that tracks every single missed senate benchmark, like unused hearing lots, no business meeting holdovers, expired cloture time and no vote, etc. These things add up. And if you want to be petty, you can throw this tracker at people who believe that 2 years are an eternity.
        Every vacancy left unfilled at the end of 2024 should be blamed on Biden, Durbin, Schumer, and those people.


      • EXACTLY. And one thing you won’t have to worry about on that chart is a section for exceeding expectations such as a hearing during the Summer recess (Even though Republicans did), more then 6 nominees in one hearing, a vote in a Friday, etc.

        When I was putting the judges pictures up on Wikipedia I had to go back to a lot of past SJC meetings. I remember at least once seeing THREE panels at one hearing. Panel one for the circuit court, two for the district court & three for positions nobody cares about like Secretary of baking cookies. I almost fell off my chair when I saw three panels.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Gavi. Barring vacancies that come up after October 2024, there’s no reason every single vacancy shouldn’t be filled in this congress. The senate has very little in the way of legislation to work on and most top administration jobs have already been filled.

        To be honest every single currently announce nominee should be confirmed before April 1, just no reason not to work full weeks and prioritize all of those. Once those have all been filled then they can do some 3 day weeks.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I recently discovered that both Sherrod Brown & Tom Carper both have DV allegations. It’s ridiculous that they get to stay in office while Franken was ousted. Carper needs to retire. I would say the same about Brown if he weren’t the only Democrat who can win statewide in Ohio.


    • The thought that governor Hochul even for a minute thinks she can force the senate to confirm her nominee flies in the face of every letter in the words separation of powers. I wish the senate leadership would come out & say if she uses one dime of tax payer dollars to bring this matter to court, it’s an impeachable offense. I think that would be a win/win position.

      They can show the New York voters that they will not let any governor, even one from their own party waste tax payer dollars on any longer. If Hochul is dumb enough to call their bluff (She probably is that dumb) then they can either use the opportunity to weaken her even further for the rest of her term or maybe get lucky enough to get enough Republican support to actually impeach her. Either option would be a win.


  16. Executive Business Meeting for next week has been updated and both Anthony Johnstone and Natasha Merle are on there so looks like they will have another vote instead of going through a discharge motion.

    Good to see democrats senators trying to be productive for the 3 whole days a week they’re working this year. They better have gotten some deal with republicans to breeze through confirmations in return for this laughable schedule.

    Was anyone watching their session when McConnell was confirming people left and right, were they out this often under GOP control?


  17. While I fully expect this to be a fight Hochul will lose and thus diminish her power more, nothing she has done here will rise to the level of impeachment and it would be a waste of time to pursue it.
    Also, as I said before I think folks need to prepare themselves for the fact that whomever the replacement is, he or she isn’t going to be in the progressive mold IMO.
    Going to be a centrist or bust.


    • @Zack Jones

      I do mostly agree with you. The only part I disagree with you on is impeachment would be a waste of time. While I do believe it ultimately would fail, I see nothing but a win/win if the Democrats went that route. The NY Democrat party is in complete disarray.

      Having a strong governor that is a DINO will only make it worse. I would rather them pursue impeachment (Once again only if she uses taxpayer dollars to take this to court) now while we are in the early part of her first year in her full term. That would set the tone for the rest of her that the party will not tolerate another Democrat governor that is operating as a Republican. At the same time, it will make the Democrats look like the party fighting against waste. I don’t really see the downside to it. And to see Hochul be saved by the Republicans would only make her look even more foolish than she already does. At this point, anything that makes her weaker, I am in support of. She’s the worst Democrat governor in my opinion. She makes the Louisianna governor look like Al Sharpton.


  18. The issue is NY isn’t as blue as people think it is and the anger with Lasalle from some parts of the NY Democratic Party has more to do with labor issues and the redistricting fight(they won’t say that out loud) then it does with him being horrible on criminal justice issues.
    There are many in the NY Democratic Party, even if they are hopping mad at Hochul right now are not going to vote for impeachment nor do they have an issue of Hochul not being a progressive.
    It’s a tug of war, just stinks NY citizens will be caught in the middle.


    • The numbers just don’t add up though. Six judges have resigned earlier than their retirement age over the past 4 years or so. I did the math, it comes out to around 3%. That means almost 97% of the vacancies in the past 4 years have been judges that reached the age they can retire. It sounds nice to say every time a judge resigns early but the numbers just don’t back it up. Even if you doubled the numbers it still would only come out to 6%.


      • The quotes from previous federal judges who resigned show that judges appointed at younger ages, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, often have little choice but to resign sooner to return to private practice due to the low pay and need to provide for their family. This is especially prevalent for the types of judges you and I want to see (nominees from a diverse set of backgrounds) due to the relative lack of pay in comparison to the big law practices, which prevents many progressives from applying to vacant district court seats at all since it simply won’t work for them financially. As it stands, Biden should most definitely be appointing older candidates who will have much higher levels of experience, along with financial security, and as such won’t have to resign so soon after being appointed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • But once again it’s one thing to say that, it’s another thing to look at the facts. And the facts are only about six judges have resigned before they could retire over the past six years. That comes out to about one per year. Biden has put 84 judges on the bench & had about another 114 vacancies for a total of 198 vacancies. That comes out to about 3%. The number is even lower if you include all of the vacancies Trump had over 4 years.

        So I’m not understanding what justification is there to appoint older judges when judges retire young less than 3% of the time. Yes I get it, it makes headlines when it happens & makes us feel as though it happens all the time but the numbers just don’t back it up.


  19. A little off topic, but I’ve been closely watching which Democratic Senators are running and retiring in 2024.

    Some of you might disagree with me on some of these, but here are my thoughts on who I WANT to run and retire in 2024. ( FYI This is a LONG comment)

    Strongly want them to run (10 Senators) – all of these are either progressive, represent red or swing states, or both.

    1. Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin)
    2. Sherrod Brown (Ohio)

    Baldwin & Brown are the only 2 progressive Senators who represent red or swing states.

    Other progressives:

    3. Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
    4. Mazie Hirono (Hawaii)
    5. Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts)

    Other vulnerable senators:

    6. Jacky Rosen (Nevada)
    7. Joe Manchin (West Virginia)
    8. Jon Tester (Montana)
    9. Debbie Stabenow (Michigan)
    10. Bob Casey (Pennsylvania)

    6 of these 10 (Baldwin, Brown, Hirono, Warren, Rosen, Casey) are running. 1 (Stabenow) is retiring. 3 (Sanders, Manchin, Tester) are undecided.

    5 other senators who I would prefer run for re-election:

    11. Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota)
    12. Angus King (Maine)
    13. Maria Cantwell (Washington)
    14. Tim Kaine (Virginia)
    15. Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island)

    11-14 are running for re-election. Whitehouse is undecided and lowkey roasted Politico when they asked him what his 2024 decision is.

    4 senators who I don’t really care whether they run or retire:

    16. Ben Cardin (Maryland)
    17. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
    18. Martin Heinrich (NM)
    19. Chris Murphy (CT)

    Cardin is undecided, 17-19 are running.

    And lastly, 4 senators who I want to retire (in this order)

    1. Tom Carper (Delaware)- DV
    2. Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona)- makes it easier for GOP to take the seat if she runs – also new ethics violations of hers were just revealed
    3. Bob Menendez (NJ)- corrupt
    4. Dianne Feinstein (California)- senile

    Out of these 4, only Menendez has made a decision; he is running.

    Who do I think will retire?
    -Manchin, Cardin, Carper, & Feinstein may retire
    -Whitehouse, Tester, & Sinema are likely to run
    -Bernie Sanders is a wild card because he might run for president. I doubt Bernie will leave the political sphere altogether because like RBG, he’s basically a politician who became a celebrity (which is much different than a celebrity who becomes a politician).

    Hope you liked this insight.


      • If I had to guess, in addition to Debbie Stabenow I would say Dianne Feinstein is a sure bet to retire. I wasn’t as sure until she passed up on senate pro temp. I doubt Bernie will run for president. Biden will have minimal to no credible primary challengers.

        I am worried about Manchin’s decision. If governor Justice runs I would bet Manchin retires. My next worry is Tester. I’ve heard him speak in interviews about the grind of traveling back & fourth from Washington every week. My guess is the decreased schedule this year with extra Monday’s plus full months off are to entice him to run.

        Ben Cardin is my next biggest wild card. His spat with Biden over who gets nominated to the 4th circuit makes me think he feels this is his last crack at getting who he wants on the bench so he may retire. I’m not as confident Tom Carper will retire as many others on this site are.

        Bob Menendez absolutely should be out of office. Besides his corrupt nature he’s absolutely horrible at recommending judges (Which is my number one issue). But unfortunately he will run & win again. My personal favorite out of all of them to lose their primary would be Kirsten Gillibrand. But sadly
        I think only AOC could take her out in a primary & will likely chose not to do so.

        We have discussed Kyrsten Sinema at length so I won’t go into her again. Everybody knows where I stand on her. I just hope she for once puts the party & country over herself & doesn’t run in a 3-way race but I’m not too hopeful when it comes to her.

        I think the other Democrats will run again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan

        An earlier post mentioned Bryant Yang of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. I won’t be surprised if he got nominated next year, unless he wasn’t interested. Yang has not been a judge for long, so it’s a chance for him to build his resume and perhaps oversee a high-profile local case.


      • Bryant Yang would be a fantastic nominee for either a district court or the 9th Circuit. If I remember correctly from my letter to The White House two years ago, he also did some pro bono work for voters rights in Arizona too so Sinema would probably back him strongly as well.


  20. Even if there is no nomination hearing this Wed, we should still be on normal track…..The senate is out President’s Day week so as long as there is a nomination hearing week after President’s Day, really doesn’t matter if there is a hearing Feb 8th or 15th.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see your logic, but have you factored the holdover schedule?
      A hearing this Wednesday would have made the nominations ripe to be put on the calendar next Thursday (2/16) to then be heldover until the senate returns.
      While a hearing on Feb 15 waste weeks before the nominations can even be heldover, let alone be voted out to the full senate.
      For me, I think when it comes between two slots, always go with the first. Save the second in case of emergency. And in this example, a 2/8 hearing is more strategic than a 2/15 hearing, scheduling-wise.


      • I think they might just want to get Delaney in front of the committee as soon as possible. He and a few others are eligible on 2/15 but not for 2/8. And the next hearing is 3/1 either way so it might make more sense to do it this way.


    • I don’t doubt that Republican judges play more political than Democratic ones, but the stats are misleading. Rather, it just tells us that politically timed retirements peaked under Trump — Republicans took senior status in bulk under Trump, while Democrats avoided taking senior status under Trump.

      Politically timed retirements might actually be a good thing in the future considering Senate malapportionment. SCOTUS will remain a far right wreck either way, but Democrats fare better keeping the 45% of seats they currently hold than they would under a random distribution in a malapportioned Senate.


  21. I think if they hold it over another week then that would be enough time for the folks who were just nominated to be eligible to have a hearing.
    It’s why it would also be nice to see some more nominees nominated this week, so they can be teed up for hearings next month.


    • Whatever the issue with Wamble is, it’s clear at this point it’s not the blue slip (despite what a couple of folks here think) given the fact Anthony Johnstone is going to get confirmed at some point despite the fact that Republican Senator Daines is clearly against him.
      When that happens, that will mark the 4th time the blue slip for Circuit court nominees has been ignored.
      It’ll be annoying if the ABA rating is what’s holding Wamble up but it has to be something we don’t know about.


      • Charnelle Bjelkengren had her hearing without her ABA rating bet officially posted. I remember because after she couldn’t answer senator Kennedy’s questions, somebody asked me what was her rating. I looked & it still was not posted. It checked again & didn’t see it posted until two days after her hearing.

        I can’t remember any other Biden nominee that didn’t have their ABA rating posted before their hearing but I don’t check often so I could have missed one or two. Either way, I can’t imagine the ABA taking this long for him when he was nominated over 5 months ago. The administration really is doing him a disservice by not coming out with some sort of statement other than that vague “we still have confidence in him” statement a few weeks ago that only made things worse.


      • Can we just wait until we get more info on this nomination? We keep talking about it without being able do say anything new at all.
        And I don’t understand why Anthony Johnstone’s ABA rating would even be considered as the reason.
        1: He already has a rating: well qualified. Did you miss that?
        2: The ABA’s rating hasn’t held up a nomination since January 2017.


      • Right? It seems like it would be such an easy and practical addition. Someone should buy this blog and publish it on its own standalone website.
        But yeah, I conflated both the Wamble and Johnstone nominations. We don’t have anything new to add about the Wamble nom, so we should just wait until something else breaks.


      • I’m not good at technical stuff like that so I will assume there is some reason the site doesn’t have an edit button. But I definitely hope that changes this year.

        As for Johnstone, I don’t see much controversy. Graham passed last year & changed to a no vote last week. The only reason why that was a big deal is because the committee membership wasn’t finalized yet so his no vote made it a tie. The committees are finalized now (Albeit the SJC site still shows Leahy & Sasse) so Thursday his no vote will be a non issue.

        Am I the only one excited tomorrow we will get our first senate floor action on judges? I hope we get a two week focus solely on judges. I can’t take much more confirmation votes on secretary’s of baking cookies or other positions I’ve never heard of, could care less about & aren’t lifetime appointments… Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      • Then we’ll have to factor in Cotton’s stated intention to block quick consideration of all nominees.
        As you’ve said many times before, I would use Fridays and weekends to vote on defeating these hold ups. Let Sinema blame Cotton for not getting a chance to go on an exclusive wine tour with donors. Unfortunately, this strategy is beyond Schumer, so the Cottons and Hawleys of the senate will have their way.


      • Yup. That’s why I was so big on discharge votes being held once a month on Friday’s for the first two years. That would set the tone. To be honest there is absolutely no penalty for what Hawley is doing (And has done). Why shouldn’t he do it? There’s only an up side for him.

        Now if we wanted to punish him (And more importantly put some fear into others from duplicating), then there are some things that could be done but it would take leaders with backbone & teeth.

        Besides what I mentioned above, there is one other idea I have in mind. Now I am not by any means saying this will happen but if I would to be asked for my advice, this is what I would say. Any Republican senator that puts a unilateral hold on all nominees will get a certain amount of time (Maybe 3 weeks) to speak with the administration about their grievances. If after that amount of time, if they refuse to release the hood, I would remove blue slip privileges from the senators of the state. That would be a real penalty. Biden would be allowed to nominate judges for that senators state (And we all know Hawley will not turn in blue slips for a Biden nominee).

        Once again I don’t see that scenario playing out, but it would be my suggestion. Without something to that effect, there’s no penalty to what Hawley is doing.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. If nothing else, I’m happy about DeAndrea Benjamin’s confirmation because it will keep a seat that was flipped under Obama in Democratic hands, same as with many other seats.
    Can’t undo all the damage of the Trump years but we can make sure it doesn’t get worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. @Dequan: “…if they refuse to release the hood”–we’re talking about the pointy hood, right? (jk)

    @ZackJones: Benjamin could actually be more liberal than Floyd, who was a Bush43 appointee to the district court. Obama elevated him b/c he ruled agn Bush in the Padilla case. Speculation, but we’ll see. Just glad we’re getting a CCA confirmation this week.


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