Judge LaShonda Hunt – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

The Dirksen Courthouse - where the Northern District of Illinois sits.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge LaShonda Hunt has worn many hats over the course of her three decade long legal career. She is now hoping to have a lifetime appointment as the capstone of her legal career.


A native of Chicago, Hunt grew up in public housing and attended Chicago public schools before receiving a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School in 1995.

After graduation, Hunt worked as an associate at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP and, in 1998, joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit as a staff attorney. In 2001, she left to clerk for Judge William Hibbler on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, subsequent to which Hunt joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

In 2006, Hunt joined Just the Beginning Foundation, which seeks to encourage interest in legal careers among those from disadvantaged communities and then joined the energy company Exelon as assistant general counsel, moving to subsidiary Corn Ed in 2009.

In 2010, Hunt returned to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, staying until 2015, when she became chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Corrections. In 2017, Hunt was appointed to be a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. She currently serves in that role.

Hunt is also a past president of the Black Women Lawyers Association. See Legal Scene of 518 New Lawyers Have Seen, Legal Monitor Worldwide, May 9, 2016.

History of the Seat

Hunt has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. This seat opened on October 4, 2022, when Judge Charles Norgle took senior status.

Like fellow Northern District nominees Nancy Maldonado, Lindsay Jenkins, and Jeffrey Cummings, Hunt was recommended for the federal bench by Illinois senators in December 2021.

Legal Career

Before she became a bankruptcy judge, Hunt held a variety of legal positions, including in private practice, in house, and in government. However, the largest chunk of her career has been spent in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Among the cases she handled there, Hunt represented a warden of a Leavenworth, Kansas prison in defending against a federal habeas corpus action. See Moore v. Olson, 368 F.3d 757 (7th Cir. 2004). After a district court judge found that it had jurisdiction over the Kansas-based warden and that venue was proper, and subsequently ruled against the petition, the prisoner appealed. See id. On appeal, Hunt did not reraise a venue challenge to the district court’s decision, which the Seventh Circuit found was now waived. See id. at 760. The Court, however, affirmed on the merits of the petition. See id. at 761.

Hunt also argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in defense of a Board of Immigration Appeals decision denying a Polish native’s petition to reopen her immigration status after finding that the plaintiff had failed to comply with a voluntary departure. See Zmijewska v. Gonzales, 426 F.3d 99 (2d Cir. 2005). The court remanded the case to the BIA for further analysis. See id. at 104.


Hunt has served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge since her appointment in 2017. In this role, she presides over bankruptcy cases as a trial judge, with her rulings subject to appeal to the district courts and courts of appeal.

Among her decisions as a bankruptcy judge, Hunt rejected a proposed payment scheme by a debtor in bankruptcy that would allow her to pay her attorneys at the same priority level as her car loan to Ford. See In re Williams, 583 B.R. 453 (N.D. Ill. Bankr. 2018). In another opinion, Hunt declined to find that a loan of $80,000 taken out by a debtor was dischargeable in bankruptcy and that the lender failed to meet her burden to show that the loan was taken out through misrepresentation. See In re Wielogosinski, 628 B.R. 547 (N.D. Ill. Bankr. 2021).


In 2021, Hunt authored an article discussing her tips for effective advocacy from trial attorneys. See Hon. LaShonda Hunt, Dicta, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Observations on Trial Practice from the Other Side of the Bench, 40-10 ABIJ 26 (Oct. 2021). Among the tips in the article, which include emphasizing one’s theory of the case and effective use of discovery, Hunt describes the trajectory of her own legal career, noting that she is a “jack-of-all trades who knows a little about a lot.” See id.

Overall Assessment

Having cut her teeth in many different areas of law, Hunt would enter the federal bench with a deep understanding of civil law, although without requisite criminal experience. However, given her ability to thrive on the bankruptcy court without ever having practiced bankruptcy law, Hunt could reasonably argue that she has the skills to successfully learn and administer criminal law as well as she can on the civil side.


  1. I see Senator Peter Welch is there so Democrats now have their outright majority and should see all of the deadlocked nominees be sent to the floor.
    After the confirmations coming up, I hope they are given priority first, they’ve waited long enough.


  2. I think we are going to be here a long time today if everyone speaks out on nominees they oppose….Sen Lee is going off on Nancy Abudu…We still have Bloomekatz, Rickelman, Ho, and several more controversial District Court nominees…


  3. I’m also watching the SJC hearing. Lee and Cruz appear to be filibustering and wasting time just for the sake of it. Durbin needs to stop asking if anyone has comments. They’ll never finish at this rate.


  4. My write up of today’s meeting:

    I didn’t notice until now that none of the nominees from last week’s hearing is listed on the agenda today. Ordinarily, nominees are not listed if they have outstanding responses to senators’ questions. Does that mean that NONE of the five could get their responses back in time to be added to today’s agenda? I find that highly, highly unlikely. Getting them on the agenda today allows them to be held over so that they’ll be ready to be voted on at the next business meetings. Could Dems really be this unserious and lacking in urgency? Sure, we have all the time in the world.

    More GOP senators talking about the lack of outreach by the WH on judges.
    We knew that the Louisiana senators rejected some of the WH picks for some of the district court vacancies. But now we hear that the Louisiana senators sent a letter to the WH about vacancies in their state that went unanswered for 6 months?? Very curious to know the timeline of these two things. By all means, say that they are lying. I’m sure that’ll be easier than facing the fact that the WH nominations team can’t ride and whistle at the same time.

    I like Sen. Hirono and can see her being a great SJC chair in the future. However, I think she continues to err in not addressing head on the situation with the Casey Arrowood US Attorney nomination. I hate agreeing with the Tennessee senator. If only Hirono would speak up.

    As I’ve said before, I lean against trashing the blue slip (I think it’ll disproportionally affect courts in blue states, more often). But by the tenor of today’s meeting, it’s clear that Republicans are terrified about losing this privilege. These things tend to go in one direction, even after pauses, so I believe that the blue slip veto won’t be around forever. I don’t think Durbin will get rid of it, but it’s not long for this world. It’s very difficult to unsqueeze that nurdle of toothpaste.

    As much as I can’t wait to see the 23 nominees voted favorably to the floor, I welcome the delay to savor the tears of Lee and co.
    I CANNOT wait for Biden to nominate a progressive Judge Ham Sandwich for the Texas vacancy on the 5th Circuit.
    With Cruz’s soliloquy, it’s clear that the emerging GOP strategy is to fight hard to sink at least one nominee or at the very least, to get a few Dems to vote NAY on a nomination. This is a bit pedantic but does anybody know the longest period the senate has gone without a judicial nomination failure after the hearing (including WH or nominee’s withdrawal)? This doesn’t include Pocan or any blue slipped nominee, since those didn’t have hearings.

    Now time for the voting!!!

    I thought I was hearing things when Sen. Feinstein voted “pass” on Nusrat Choudhury, creating a tie. This was confirmed when the clerk called on Feinstein to vote again, thus breaking the tie.

    DALE HO, let’s go! 11-10!!! So happy to see my “wild-eyed sort of leftist” finally favorably voted out!

    If Kenly Kiya Kato wasn’t already in her 50s I would be eyeing her for elevation.

    Any idea why so many Republicans voted AYE on Andrew Schopler? This always gets me nervous.


    • @Gavi

      I think The White House strategy was in the first two years, mostly focus on blue state district court seats. Whatever judges they can get out of Louisiana with a Democrat majority the first two years, they can get with a Republican majority had they lost the midterms as long as blue slips are in play so I can believe they didn’t answer senator Cornyn, Cruz, Kennedy & others recommendations for months.

      I completely agree with you about senator Hirono & her position on the Tennessee US Attorney. And while I disagree with you about getting rid of blue slips, I do agree with you that Republicans are freeing Durbin will be the one to get rid of them before they get a chance to do it. If Durbin does get rid of them, I look forward to some young progressive Judge Ham Sandwiches on the Texas district courts… Haaaaa

      As I’ve said before, I know it’s not the Christian thing to do to be so happy in another persons misery but I absolutely enjoyed seeing all those Republican tears followed by unanimous YES votes from Democrats. I will have to ask God to forgive me on that one. I just can’t help myself…lol

      I’ve spoken on Andrew Schopler in the past. To make a long story short, he’s probably the least progressive Biden California nominee to date. He was a federal defender but only for a year. He was in the military so I’m sure that put him over the top of others but many many more progressive & younger San Diego possibilities.

      Liked by 2 people

      • @Dequan

        Thanks for addressing some of the issues I posed.
        I guess I just fail to see how ignoring senators for months at a time while focusing on easier nominations can be seen as an effective strategy. Again, I am blaming the WH for not focusing on red states. I blame the WH for next taking advantages of the fact that those senators are actively reaching out to the WH. How strenuous would it have been for the WH to at least respond?

        I will regret not supporting getting rid of the blue slip when Republicans finally do it, but I can’t bring myself to it yet. But of course, once it’s done for them, it should be done for all. No unilateral disarmament.

        I am not a Christian so I don’t mind taking great pleasure from the hypocritical tears of those senators.

        Ahhh, thanks for reminding me about Schopler. Must be your favorite senator’s (Feinstein) recommendation.


  5. Here’s my recap from todays SJC executive meeting.

    Chairman Durbin welcomed senator Welch to the committee & said this continues approximately 50 years of a Vermont senator on it. Senator Blackburn then spoke while they waited for more members to show up.

    She talked about blue slips then blasted The White House for not recommending the US Attorney they had last year. She then rehashed she & senator Hagerty were not meaningfully consulted for Andre Mathis nomination. She spoke in length about the need to keep blue slips. She then reiterated her new position that she will not allow voice votes for further US Attorneys. Last, she said she wanted the two US Attorneys to be voted on today to be held over again. Chairman Durbin quickly dismissed that request & said they already have been held over once.

    Senator Graham then spoke about blue slips. He brought up senator Cornyn’s comment from the last hearing about he wouldn’t know the White House Counsel if they walked in the room. Graham then said he doesn’t believe he’s ever met them either & he’s the ranking member. He then spoke in length about why he votes for so many judges from Democrat administrations.

    Senator Lee then spoke about his disapproval of Nancy Abudu. Then senator Cruz spoke & complained about having to vote on 29 judicial nominees in one day. He said many of today’s nominees are some of the most extreme nominees he has ever seen. He went though nominee after nominee rehashing his grievances for each nominee. Senator Cruz actually bashed New York governor Houcul while speaking about Dale Ho so at least I could agree with him for one sentence while bashing her. He then even bashed a nominee, Charnelle Bjelkengren who isn’t even up to a vote today. He then ended with defending the institution of the senate by keeping blue slips (I almost coughed up a lung laughing when he said that).

    After three straight 11-10 votes on Abudu, Bloomekatz & Johnstone, senator Lee spoke about his disapproval on Julie Rinkleman. Senator Blackburn then spoke about her disapproval about judge Edelman right before his vote. Right after senator Blackburn finished speaking, senator Durbin started to speak & senator Feinstein (Who was sitting right next to him) asked if he could speak up louder.

    Senator Lee then spoke about his disapproval about Nusrat Jahan Choudhury before her vote. Senator Feinstein initially voted PASS on her nomination. Right before the clerk read the vote was tied, she changed her vote to YES giving her a 11-10 vote.

    Senator Lee then spoke about his disapproval for Dale Ho before his vote. He referenced when Dale Ho replied to one of his own Tweet’s in the past.

    After the votes for the judicial nominees, Durbin spoke about comments made earlier from Republican senators. He countered senator Cruz saying they had to vote on 29 nominees today by saying during the Trump administration the SJC voted on 40 nominees in one day. He then defended nominees not being able to answer all of senator Kennedy’s questions. He then said he has spoken to senator Graham privately about his view on blue slips. All nominees have been reported to the floor favorably.


  6. Didn’t get a chance to watch today but might have to go back later. Sounds like I missed some great GOP tears.

    As Lindsey Graham would say, “elections have consequences”. Democrats won definitively in 2018, 2020, and 2022 and thus get to elect the judges they want.


    • Haaaaaa… I wish you could see the smile in my face as each one of them complained & then had to sit through 11-10 votes…lol

      We have our first confirmation of 2023. Schumer, Coons & of course Fetterman all missed the vote or it would have been close to 60 yes votes. Cindy aching cloture fire in a couple hours. I wish Schumer would do more two circuit court cloture votes on Thursday’s.


  7. Of all the GOP teeth wailing today, the worst IMO was Marsha Blackburn, who seems to forget that under Trump, there were 14 Circuit court nominees that were pushed through despite blue slips not being returned.
    She and others need to get it through their skulls that the era where Patrick Leahy rolled over and let Republicans be hypocritical jerks is over.
    As to what some of the senators said, sorry, as much as we might be annoyed with how Biden/Democrats have moved in regards to the pace of nominations etc., I’m still not going to take Republicans, even ones who have played nice with some nominees at their word when it comes to their own states.
    They don’t get that benefit of a doubt after all the stuff they did.


    • And when it comes to Blackburn saying they weren’t meaningfully consulted on Andre Mathis, we know that us a lie. His SJC questionnaire outlined a more than six month process that included interviews with both senators staff. And The White House provided emails talking about numerous recommended nominees. I guess her idea of meaningful consultation is either picking who she wants or leaving the seat vacant for the next Republican president to fill. The only mistake was Durbin not giving them their blue slips & he apologized for that.


    • Yes agreed – Blackburn is trash, so anyone taking her word on what’s going on with the US Attorney in Tennessee has got to be kidding themselves. Blackburn may not think there’s anything wrong with a prosecutor charging a university professor based on his ethnicity (which honestly could’ve been one of that old witch’s campaign promises) and then losing the case in Tennessee of all places, but I’m not going to hold it against the only Asian American senator on the SJC for caring about racism against Asians.

      I do agree that Hirono should respond and tell Blackburn that she’ll be happy to do the same for any Republican-nominated US Attorney in the future as long as Blackburn is pulling this BS. I don’t know why the Dems even bother being civil with Blackburn rather than treating her like the garbage she is.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What am I doing wrong?

    I’m trying to go back and watch the hearing (had to break off when it was live) and I can only get the first 1:05.27 of the hearing (basically, to the end of Cruz’s remarks).

    Anybody help?


  9. Thanks, @Dequan, but still not working past 1:05:27. It’s weird, because I heard the first few votes live before I had to leave, but now it stops.

    And it’s a special cruelty to have to stop at Ted Cruz’s voice.


    • Ooohhh gotcha. I misread you & thought you were saying the link wasn’t working at all. The SJC site often has glitches. They usually fix them in short order. When I was trying to get them to put up all the old Obama nominees SJC hearings so I can get their pics to put up on Wikipedia it took over 6 months but they eventually oil care of that too.


  10. Dequan, yup and lies like what Blackburn told is why I’m not taking some of these Republicans at their word that they reached out to the WH in good faith on nominees.
    Was glad to see DeAndrea G. Benjamin confirmed and keep the seat in centrist/progressive hands.
    As I said before, Floyd turned out to be a lot more liberal then folks thought he would be and I’m glad unlike a couple of other older Clinton/Obama judges he waited until Democrats had the senate in order to take senior status to ensure the seat didn’t flip.
    Wish others would have done the same.


    • I agree Zack. Benjamin is going to be a solid liberal on the bench for us.

      I do hope we see more retirements soon. In addition to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th (and I guess 10th?) vacancies there are many other Clinton/Obama appointees eligible for:

      (4th) Robert Bruce King
      (4th) Roger Gregory – Technically a Bush appointee. I think his term as CJ ends this year?
      (5th) Carl Stewart
      (6th) Eric Clay
      (6th) Julia Gibbons
      (6th) Jane Stranch
      (7th) Ilana Rovner – HW appointee but she’s typically a liberal vote
      (9th) Kim Wardlaw
      (9th) Ronald Gould
      (9th) Johnnie Rawlinson
      (10th) Scott Matheson
      (11th) Charles Wilson
      (Federal) Timothy Dyk
      (Federal) Jimmie Reyna

      Also on the Federal Circuit are Alan Lourie and Pauline Newman who were born in 1935 and 1927 respectively. Both seem determined to serve for life but there’s potential of openings there, I think.


      • And even though I personally like the person judge King wants to replace him, you can’t set the precedent to allow judges to pick their replacement. So I would explicitly tell him I would not name his replacement until after his retirement has gone into effect.

        But that’s a moot point because Machin has already stated who he wants for that seat so it won’t be who King (And I) want. Luckily he’s in his 80’s so if Biden can win another term, good luck to him living long enough to pick his successor.


      • Yeah it definitely stinks on King but perhaps the WH counsels office can work something out there. I know Manchin is mad at the White House over a the IRA and permitting stuff, but I would love to fill that seat

        With Rawlinson I’m less educated on that situation but again I think I’d reach out and see if she can be encouraged into it (with no guarantees of course but with attention given to her preferred nominee)


      • @Dequan

        I recently read about that. Joe Manchin wanted the White House wanted to nominate Jeaneen Legato, who’s a friend and longtime ally. The White House was planning on deferring to Manchin. Robert King wanted to see former Senator Carte Goodwin, a former law clerk, get the post. They reached an impasse.


      • @Mitch

        I think more than anything, The White House had no choice but to defer to Manchin in a 50/50 senate. Even in a 51/49 senate they still have no choice. I’m sure they don’t really care if it’s Goodwin or Legato themselves. I’d much rather Goodwin since he’s almost a decade younger & I’m surprised Manchin had an issue with him since he appointed him to fill the open senate seat. He’s from probably the most prolific family in West Virginia so you can’t believe he doesn’t have connections. The other West Virginia 4th circuit judge is a woman so it can’t be because Manchin wants at least one woman from his state. I wish judge King didn’t go public with his disapproval as this seems like something that could have been worked out behind the scenes.


        I’ll have to give your question some thought. I don’t know I I will be able to go back to the 1920’s, as for the most part I’ve only studied SCOTUS justices that far back. I’ll probably keep my list to the last 3 decades when I’m more familiar with the non SCOTUS judges.

        But if I had to name a few pre 1990’s I’m sure it would include one or two of the “Fifth circuit four” as I believe they were called. Those were the judges that made numerous civil rights rulings back in the 60’s & 70’s before they were moved to the newly created 11th circuit.

        Richard Posner would also be on my list as I’m surprised still to this day we wasn’t picked for SCOTUS by Bush. Without giving much thought I already know Goodwin Lui would be on my list but I’ll give it more thought.


  11. Very interested to see what the schedule looks like for next week. The senate is in session on Monday, so it should be a full week. Hopefully we can confirm Chung, Mendez Miro, and several others. Personally, I’d like to see all the remaining 2021 and January 2022 nominees take precedence.


    • Gregory is definitely the most likely to go senior – it’s not surprising that judges don’t go senior in the middle of their terms as chief, whereas the other liberals who have been eligible to go senior have so such reason for refusing to make room for new talent.

      Walker would be fine, but he wouldn’t be my top choice – he’s an AUSA when there are plenty of former AUSAs on CA4 and not a single former public defender. I’d rather see Elizabeth Hanes (former FPD) get elevated if they’re choosing district judges, but honestly there are so many DC-area lawyers who would be good for a VA-based CA4 seat. I’m sure there are Black men or LGBTQ people with a more progressive background in DC, and I still think Dems shouldn’t focus too much on the identity of the judge at the expense of a proven progressive record.


  12. Cloture has been filed on District court nominees Nelson, Garcia, and Jenkins. So sticking with those reported out earlier, not those today who’ve been waiting much longer. That’s got to be frustrating for them.


    • I can’t remember who on this site (Maybe @Gavi) but somebody explained to me that a cloture motion can’t be sent to the desk the same day they are reported out of committee without unanimous consent. And there is no way the Republcians would agree to do anything to fast track Abudu, Bloomekatz, Rinkleman, Ho, Vera or Kato. From the explanation I got, the earliest Schumer could send a cloture motion to the desk for them is Monda then they could vote for cloture on Wednesday.


      • I thought it was you @Gavi. See, I’m learning… Lol

        And yea, Matthew Garcia not Brad Garcia. For some treason Schumer was out today so Durbin sent the cloture motions. Of course he included his Northern Illinois nominee jumping ahead of many others but I can’t blame him. Seniority has to account for something in life.

        I suspect they will wait for Fetterman to get back to start lining up the heavy hitters that was just voted out today. It seems like VP Harris (Along with Biden) are getting way out in front of the 2024 election (Wich is great) & hitting the road so I doubt she will have much time to come in & break tie votes for the foreseeable future so just wait for John to be released & back on the floor.


  13. It’s a little sad that today DeAndrea Benjamin was confirmed, while Jabari Wamble, who was nominated the same day as she was, hasn’t even had his name resubmitted to the senate yet. It’s really not fair to him to have his nomination in limbo like this. I wish the administration would be more open about what the holdup is.


  14. I’m not surprised that a lot of Senate Democrats are having health issues, but I’m super surprised about WHICH Democrats are having health issues.

    There are 18 Democrat Senators who are 72+ years old, but for the most part, those 18 Democrats are doing fine health-wise.

    The 3 senators who got strokes in the past year (Lujan, Fetterman, Van Hollen) are 50, 53, and 62 respectively. Lujan and Fetterman are young compared to most of the Senate. I’m not a health expert but I’m a bit thrown off guard that the senators getting strokes aren’t the ones in their 70s and 80s.


  15. Qualified for maybe for a Magistrate or District Court Bench to get more experience as a trial judge 1st but certainly not a Circuit Court. There are too many experienced District Court Judges or Magistrate Judges who are better qualified to be elevated to the Circuit Courts.


    • Assuming you aren’t a troll, your claim that a candidate needs to be a district or magistrate judge to be an appellate judge is patently absurd and has not followed by either party. It’s common knowledge in the legal profession that the appellate judge is much easier and actually requires less experience to do well because there’s no need to manage litigants/a courtroom/a trial.

      Off the top of my head alone, Roberts, RBG and Breyer were directly nominated to the court of appeals (though I would argue Roberts is definitely a partisan hack, he’s just more subtle than Thomas or Alito). Biden has nominated (just to give two examples) Eunice Lee and Lara Montecalvo (both former PDs) directly to the court of appeals. Two of Trump’s most “moderate” nominees, Eric Miller and Michael Scudder (who are still firmly conservative, just not nutjobs like Ho or Van Dyke), were not district court judges. And so on.

      The test for whether someone is a partisan hack or not is literally just one question: have they ever been part of Fed Soc? Anyone who has should never be (1) considered by a Dem president or (2) approved for a district court seat by a Dem senator while blue slips are in play.


      • Alito/Thomas – super partisan hacks
        Gorsuch/Kavanaugh/Barrett – partisan, somewhat hacks
        Roberts, Sotomayor, Kagan, KBJ – partisan but not hacks

        Also I’m not guaranteeing that the liberal justices wouldn’t be partisan hacks if the Court had a 6-3 liberal majority, but Kagan and retired justice Breyer are well-known to be consensus builders who were effectively forced into a partisan role because the ultraconservative majority made it impossible for fair compromise.


      • @Frank – Robert’s wrote Shelby County v Holder. That decision alone makes him a hack. I do think there’s a difference between him and Alito/Thomas, but the idea that Fed Soc board member – and the guy who has made undermining the Voting Rights Act a personal career goal – is remotely balanced or impartial is laughable. Just because there are far worse hacks doesn’t make him any less of one.

        And honestly, I’m fine admitting that the liberal justices are partisan too – though they’re hardly Democratic Party mouthpieces in the way that Alito in particular is just Mitch McConnell’s little puppet. The whole pretense that the Supreme Court is apolitical or a legitimately neutral arbiter is the biggest fiction in US politics.


      • I doubt we’ll see a magistrate judge for the vacancies in the 3rd, 5th or 9th. I think for the 7th there’s a decent chance we could get Mario Garcia seeing that court has never had a Hispanic judge combined with all of the Obama district court judges being too old.

        For the 4th, my personal favorite would be Ajmel Quereshi. He just became a magistrate judge last year but it’s a blue state so if he could get senator Cardin to drop his gripe, it could happen.


      • The point that I was trying to make in response to Joe is that a 35-40 year old PD with only 10 years of experience doesn’t cut it for me. Let’s see more qualifications & experience than that for goodness sakes! They’ll be eaten alive on the most conservative Circuit in the country!


      • Candidates names have not been revealed to my knowledge but from what I’ve heard in Senate Circles regarding the 5th Circuit is similar to what Cornyn told Durbin recently that he & Cruz sent names to the WH Counsel’s Ofc of candidates deeply vetted by their Bi-Partisan Selection Committee which consisted of well-regarded lawyers from across the State of Texas who are Democrat & Republican. So I’m assuming this committee did their due-diligence in recommending very viable & well-qualified candidates.


      • @Jill no one is going to be “eaten alive” by the conservatives on CA5 for the simple reason that the conservatives on CA5 are…for lack of a better word, idiots. Even as someone who thinks the “conservative legal movement” and originalism is a joke, I recognize that some conservative judges are fairly intellectual or decent legal writers. No one in their right minds would put the likes of James Ho, Edith Jones, or Jennifer Elrod (to name a few) in that category.


  16. There should be three hearing dates in March (3/1, 3/15, and 3/29) so I would think we’ll see a big batch here fairly soon. There should only be 3-4 district nominees who won’t have had a hearing by next week.


  17. The Most Influential Non-SCOTUS Judges

    While we await a new batch of nominations and the write ups here, I have a think piece to put to the group. Who, in your opinion, are the most influential judges (district and circuit, maybe state supreme courts) never to serve on SCOTUS? Please only evaluate their judicial prowess and how widely respected and cited they are/were. You don’t necessarily have to agree with their judicial record, or with their politics, or even their non-judicial life/activities.

    I’ll go first (in chronological order of their judicial tenure):

    Learned Hand, 2nd Circuit judge, 1924-1951

    A very complex person whose views (not judgements) on Brown and some of the school segregation cases might not endear him to modern audiences, Hand was probably the most important non-SCOTUS judge in the country during his time on the appellate bench. Poor timing all around (presidency, SCOTUS vacancy, and his old age) prevented him from being elevated to the Supreme Court.

    Do you remember how Robert Bork dismissed the 9th Amendment? Before Bork, Hand was dismissive of the entire Bill of Rights.

    While he was very influential in his day, I am glad that there aren’t too many judges with his extreme philosophy of judicial restraint.

    Henry Friendly, 2nd Circuit judge, 1956–1974

    I’d say Friendly is a more mainstream version of Hand, who was probably equally influential, if not more. David Dorsen’s book on Friendly is a treasure trove.

    Besides congressional establishment of the jurisdictions throughout the court systems, Friendly was probably the single most authoritative figure on the question of federal jurisdiction.

    Unlike Hand, Friendly was a staunch proponent of open and fair procedures as required by the due process clauses of the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment. This philosophy led him to vote against what he saw as prosecutorial misconduct, which often resulted in a criminal walking free. Not many conservative judges these days would put fair procedures over guilt.

    I don’t need to tell this group the long term reverberating impact of the legal profession. We can see this in the nearly 100-year through line connecting Felix Frankfurter (Friendly’s law prof/mentor), Friendly, and Chief Justice John Roberts/AG Merrick Garland (Friendly’s law clerks).

    Richard Posner, 7th Circuit judge, 1981-2017

    Considered by the right as being a result-oriented judge, the pragmatic Posner believed that judging must always involve making judgement. A robot can read and strictly interpret laws as strictly written, but human judges must strive for the sensible outcome of a case and make judgement calls as to how their interpretation affects the parties before them. Posner’s biggest strength, in my opinion, is from the fact that he was a great writer who was able to quickly crank out opinions, books, articles, etc. in large quantities. It’s such a shame he developed Alzheimer’s, retired outright, and gave Trump another circuit court vacancy to fill. Of course, this wasn’t something he could control.

    You may notice that my three picks all happened to be Republican appointees. I expect this will only get rarer and rarer.

    What do you think about my three? What are yours?


  18. Edith Jones of the 5th Circuit, who was put on the court in 1985 when she was just 35 and is still in active service today because she more then any other jurist on the lower courts was a canary in the coal mine for what conservatives wanted to do with the courts in pushing it to the far right with partisan hacks.
    Just a shame that lesson wasn’t learned by our side, either with the senators in office or Democratic voters until recently.


    • Samuel Alito was confirmed by unanimous consent to the 3rd Circuit at the age of 40. Democrats in recent years had started taking the courts serious. I just wish they started a decade or two earlier.

      I can tell you if Durbin keeps blue slips absolute for district court seats, they will continue to stay behind. Even if they don’t get rid of them completely, they can’t keep it as absolute. Also I think they should reduce the post cloture time for circuit court judges from 32 hours down to 8 hours. It makes little sense that SCOTUS & circuit courts have the same post cloture time.


      • @Jill

        Isn’t that unilateral disarmament? If Republicans can put ultra conservatives in their 40’s & in some cases 30’s on the bench & the Democrats response is to put consensus builders in their 50’s on the bench, wouldn’t that cement another generation or courts like the one we have now?

        Insanity is to continue to do the same thing while expecting a different result. Now if you like the courts the way they are now then I would agree with you. I don’t. I don’t like the fact that Democrats have won the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 presidential elections yet we have a 6-3 conservative SCOTUS.

        I’ll say this, after 8 consecutive years of Democrats putting young progressives on the bench, maybe then I would agree we can talk about going back to the way things use to be. But to have one set of standards for Republicans only to go back to playing by the rules as soon as a Democrat is back in office isn’t something I could ever see myself agreeing to. I hope the Democrat Party agrees with me as well.


    • I don’t know if you’ve heard this but extremist judge Matthew Kacsmaryk is likely to ban the abortion pill in all 50 states and he might get away with it.

      If Kacsmaryk rules how I think he will, that better give Democrats the energy to fill every judicial seat possible. If that doesn’t energize Democrats I don’t know what will.


      • I think there should be some kind of rule saying a minimum of 5 district judges in different circuit areas need to agree before a nationwide injunction can be made.

        An alternative move in the current court system would be to file a counter lawsuit and have another judge block the nationwide injunction. After all, if a judge can unilaterally make a rule nationwide, another judge should be able to unilaterally stop the nationwide injunction (eventually SCOTUS could answer Kacsmaryk’s begs for help but that would force them to tip their hand).

        I hope that liberals are preparing a counter lawsuit and file it immediately if/when Kacsmaryk issues this injunction.

        Lastly, the Texas filing system that allows plaintiffs to choose their judge is ridiculous. Before Kacsmaryk, Reed O’Connor was their go-to judge. I suspect this filing system might have been done intentionally so that conservatives could judge-shop.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. @Dequan

    Whether they’re 35, 45, 55 doesn’t really matter to me as long as the nominees being appointed are experienced, well-qualified, and the best & brightest. Forgive me but my standards for the judiciary are extremely high, and when I see less then stellar being pushed from either side, it’s very disheartening and disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @Jill

      Oh ok. I actually agree with you there. I thought you were implying somebody in their 30’s couldn’t be qualified to be a federal judge but yes that standard I agree with. So far out of Biden’s 135 or so nominees, I’ve only been able to find two I felt were not qualified based on their SJC hearings and/or background. That’s Christine O’Hearn & Charnelle Bjelkengren. I’m curious if you thought any Biden nominees have not been qualified & if so which ones?


      • I’m only familiar with Bjelkengren since I signed-on to this Blog. And the WH Counsel’s Ofc should be embarrassed that they pushed someone so UNQUALIFIED through and hope this never ever happens again! If they continue to vet nominees with stellar resumes they would never have this problem.

        We have one of the longest serving members of the Senate, now living in the WH as our President and a VP who is also a former U. S. Senator D.A. and A.G. ….so no excuses for a poor performance from Biden’s WH Counsel.

        President Obama had experienced seasoned folks working in his WH Counsel & not Miss Linda’s Babies running that Ofc!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s nonsense. The Whitehouse isn’t “pushing” anyone. The nominee Bjelgrenkren name was sent to after she applied and was screened by Senator Murray’s commission.

        People on here willingly taking at face value the GOP’s cheap shots on qualified minority candidates .

        They know she’s qualified. The attacks against her are because people don’t like her. She not “progressive” enough. Whatever that means.

        Let’s not use the GOP’s talking point to sink nominees that Democrat’s have to confirm.


  20. @Shawnee68

    Still I’ve heard rumors that ever since Dana Remus left as Head of the WH Counsel it’s been a mess over there, which is why Dick Durbin sent his COS to go & help them straighten things out. The Senators have complained that they don’t know whose in charge!


    • I have heard numerous GOP senators say they have never even spoken to let alone me the White House Counsel. That’s insane. I hope Durbin’s former chief of staff hits the ground running over there.

      If we don’t get another batch next week & either it be at least 8 nominees, or we get another batch by end of February, there will be a SJC hearing that will end up having less the 5 nominees or they will have to skip a hearing.


    • After the 2020 election and before Biden took office, Ron Klain the Chief of staff said on MSNBC that there would be a working group on judicial nominations that he would meet with on a weekly basis.

      I really don’t see dysfunction there. A nominee like Nancy Adudu would be on its face difficult to make. If you review her hearing you can tell that she was well prepared for the attacks on her and SPLC. Here, the White House did it’s job.

      I’m not buying or believing that committee Republicans like Cruz and Blackburn are working in good faith. I mean Please! How come the Indiana Senators and Rob Portman from Ohio were able to get their nominees

      I don’t know if Durbin has the authority to force the White House to bring on a Senate staffer.However, that person may help bring a better perspective on the gamesmanship of the GOP on the Senate Judiciary Committee.


  21. Given how the GOP senators like Marsha Blackburn have outright lied about being consulted, I’m not going to take Republicans at their word that they’ve been working in good faith with Biden.
    We do need to see some nominees next week though and the next or the March hearings will be sparse.


  22. I don’t take anything that GOP senators (with a handful of exceptions) say seriously. When the WH starts running out of nominees I’ll start getting worried but pretty much every available hearing date has been full staffed since the middle of 2021. We’ll see what they come out with in the next week or so.


    • Julia Kobick has some very liberal cases including against the Trump administration. Ramon Reyes on the other hand I don’t know. Not only is he not overtly progressive but he’s near 60. I’m not sure why he wouldn’t want him knowing whoever would replace him would be younger & more progressive.


      • Also, Graham voted AYE for Natasha Merle and Nusrat Choudhury last year but voted NO on both Thurs.. Change of heart there

        But SDNY nominee Arun Subramanian and clear sailing think he was 16-5….Maybe he’ll be voice voted on the floor – Ha Ha….Biden’s only had 2 judges voice voted, and I don’t think there will be a 3rd.


      • Hopefully Schumer is smart enough to abandon this mostly vote in order strategy & start teeing up those nominees that have tie votes out of the SJC next week while all 51 Dems are in DC. And if I had to guess, the Idaho nominee might get a voice vote.

        Next week could possibly be the most consequential week for judges since KBJ’s confirmation. Monday starts off with a circuit court confirmation. Wednesday will be a SJC hearing. But what needs to happen badly is another batch next week & hopefully at least 8 nominees. March has the potential for THREE SJC hearings. There needs to be a good number of new nominees announced next week to fill all three or they will skip a week.


  23. Was looking up district court vacancies and speaking of Fetterman, it will be interesting to see what he and Casey do with the three remaining judicial vacancies in PA.
    I wouldn’t expect to see nominees for those until later on in the year unless Casey had some already in the pipeline that Fetterman would approve of.
    In the meantime there are current and future judicial vacancies in CT,NY,CA,CO, NJ, MN etc. that could see nominees.
    Beyond that, is where the blue slip rule will come into play.
    It was STUPID to keep it in play for circuit court seats but for district courts, it’s a doubled edged sword.
    Some really horrible district court nominees got blocked because of it keeping NY/CA among others from having Federalist society filled district courts while others like Mary S. McElroy of Rhode Island (my choice for the 1st Circuit IF she had been a decade younger) were nominated because of it.
    But at some point, the rubber will have to meet the road.
    I hope we fill all the blue slips and seats with Republicans who will work with the WH before it comes to that though.


    • If I had to guess which seats we could see nominees for next (And hopefully next week) it would be the following;

      Colorado – We have two names recommended. Hopefully Biden names Sundeep Addy (Born c. 1978) over S. Kato Crews (Born c. 1975). Addy has investigated police practices, has a lengthier pro bono background & is younger. Also, Crews has already been passed up twice before so hopefully we get Addy.

      California – There should be a laundry of nominees for all California vacancies now. I truly hope two things for California for the future when it comes to the judiciary. First, I hope Feinstein retires. Second, I hope her replacement works with senator Padilla to form one single committee. It is ridiculous to have two committees & take as long as it does to get nominees for a state with over 39 million people.

      Michigan – I believe we will get at least one if not more nominee from the state with the length of time the seats have been vacant.

      Connecticut – The senators usually work pretty fast so with the amount of time the seats has been vacant, I suspect we can get nominees fairly soon from there.

      I don’t expect to see nominees for the Southern district of New York because Schumer always announces who he recommends to the press prior & he hasn’t done so yet. The one caveat is if he gives this pick to Gillibrand since Biden didn’t renominate her pick Jorge Rodriguez. But the Southern district is the most powerful district court out of all 93 so I don’t know if he would pass on filling that seat himself.

      I also don’t expect to see any for New Jersey as not only is that vacancy fairly recent, but now they will have to focus on the 3rd circuit seat. It’s probably for the better anyway because I’m sure it will be another old, centrist pick anyway if not another out right Republican. I expect Esther Salas to be the 3rd circuit nominee so that will leave two vacancies for the district court so Menedez & Booker would each get one apiece if so.


  24. I would say given what has gone on with Cardin, if there is an area Biden/Durbin will put their foots down on, it’s on circuit court nominees to a degree.
    I think Salas is the most likely nominee but I don’t think an O’Hearn type is going to be viewed as acceptable.
    Whatever the reason, I hope it gets sorted out sooner rather then later.
    Same with Wamble.
    If he’s not the nominee, get someone else and fill the vacancy already.


  25. So, we’ll get Chung on Monday and the cloture vote on Mendez-Miro. Then cloture votes on Garcia, Jenkins, and Nelson cloture votes, and Mendez-Miro’s confirmation, on Tuesday.

    My guess is Schumer files cloture for a CCA nominee on Tuesday, and maybe one more district judge, with votes on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Beyond that, I don’t dare hope. Anyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would assume Schumer sends a cloture motion to the desk Monday so they can vote for cloture in Wednesday. The district court nominees he already sent to the desk will o ly fill up Tuesday. Wednesday & Thursday votes will be anybody he sends to the desk Monday.

      My guess is he will to continue to go in order of when they were reported from the SJC. My wish would be Abudu, Vera, Ho, Kito, Khan (To get Cabrenas off the bench) & then Rikelman.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Am I wrong in seeing that Schumer is going in order for CCA but not for district? They went alphabetically in SJC, but 2 of the district court nominees up for vote this week are Jenkins and Nelson, not Calabretta and Cartwright. I get that Durbin wants to confirm Jenkins, but I don’t know why Nelson is up (no hostility toward her, just curious).


    • They tend to go in order more for circuit courts than district courts. I’d love to sit them down one day to get their rhyme & reason. I get it in a 50/50 senate when a senator may be out of town or you know it’s gonna be a tie vote & VP Harris won’t be able to come break the tie. But with a 51-49 advantage, even one missing Democrat still gets any nominee confirmed.


      • Some of the reasons some nominees may jump the line over others include where judicial emergencies exist, where a seat is in a state which is going to flip parties in the next Congress (or flip from a moderate to a extremist), or have more bipartisan support. For example, Dale Ho deserves to languish longer as a pending nominee since he has made a series of statements and actions which question his ability to be an impartial judge on the bench, when compared to someone like Stephen Locher.


      • @Frank

        I definitely understand the first two reasons, a judicial emergencies exist or a flip. As for the third reason you gave, I would think it would be the opposite. I would think Schumer would want to prioritize somebody like Dale Ho while all 51 senators are in town. As we have seen anything can happen to one or multiple Democrat senators so I would think they would prioritize the most liberal nominees now so if a Democrat senator is out for whatever reason in the future, they can still confirm the less controversial nominees still.


      • Personally I think I’d move on Abudu and Garcia next. Since we know 51 should be in town next week I’d absolutely go ahead and knock Abudu out on Wednesday/Thursday and then do a cloture vote for Garcia on Thursday. Garcia should have a few R votes so there’s less of a risk scheduling his confirmation vote the Monday after the recess.

        As for the week after recess Id love to see Ho, Vera, Clarke, and Kato get their confirmations finally.


  27. I wouldn’t be surprised if they move on some of the California or NY nominees next week given that virtually all of the judicial vacancies from those two states are judicial emergencies after they get done with the others.


  28. Ok it is official. Judge Hughes is talking senior status. He informed The White House Thursday so that clears up the confusion from earlier today. This isn’t just a flip from a Reagan to eventual Biden judge, this is a BIG flip even with a moderate nominee.


    On another note for those of you that use Wikipedia. Now that every Obama, Trump & Biden judge has a profile picture, along with every active circuit court judge except one, I’ve been adding pictures for people that have Wikipedia pages that I would like to see nominated to circuit court seats one day. The following all has pictures now;

    Deepak Gupta
    Cristina Rodriguez
    Lee Merritt
    Melissa Murray
    Andrew Manuel Crespo


    • He’s not just taking senior status, he’s taking inactive status, which is more or less retirement.
      While he can be called back if the occasion arises, I find it highly doubtful that someone who has been so bad even some of the more conservative jurists on the 5th have called him out is going to be summoned for anything.


    • “This isn’t just a flip from a Reagan to eventual Biden judge, this is a BIG flip even with a moderate nominee.”

      I do not see Biden filling this seat, with blue slips still in tact. Maybe if Biden wins again and if Dems miraculously hold the senate in 2024.
      However, it is a victory in and of itself that Judge Lynn Hughes probably won’t ever preside over another case.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. It would be awesome to see two or more appellate judges confirmed this week along with the New york and california district nominees who have been waiting for a while.
    On another note, I am a regular viewer of the ninth circuit video oral arguments, this panel today had judge salvador mendoza biden newest addition to the court along with judge sanchez who was confirmed last year, along with trump judge eric miller.
    I have to say it was such a fun viewing, the collegiality and clear likeness for one and other was very apparent, they asked thoughtful questions and were very fair.
    Seriously impressed with eric miller as well, although a trump judge he comes across very thoughtful and intellectual far from the angry partisans like van dyke and Ho

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Schumer filed cloture on 2 more District nominees and the 2nd Circuit nominee

    No trying to be Debbie judicial Downer, but can we get a Ho or a Bloomekatz soon ?


    • Regardless of the order, the senate is off next week then back for about four consecutive weeks. Two of those weeks they are off on Monday’s & you figure at least one of the four weeks they will spend on confirming positions like Secretary of Baking Cookies & other meaningless positions. So, there should be a solid three weeks out of four of confirming judges on top of this week. I’m figuring by Easter all nominees that have already had a SJC hearing as of today should be confirmed by then.


  31. If you want to see why getting Cabranes off to senior status where he can’t hear as many cases matters, here is the best example for anyone whom cares about trans rights.
    This was originally ruled in favor of the trans community but was reversed en banc, which IMO was Cabranes siding with the six Republican appointees on the court.
    I fully expect (as he has in the past with LGBT issues) for him to be the key vote in ruling against trans students.
    When some folks say Kahn isn’t a true flip and is a Democratic nominee replacing another one, this is just a long list of them on why that isn’t true.
    She won’t be a huge progressive but she will be world’s better then Cabranes for the most part (might be conservative on some criminal justice issues.)


  32. What irks me about the 3rd Circuit being evenly split is that Democrats would still control it if Clinton judges Marjorie Rendall or Julie Fuentes had taken senior status earlier then when they did (though Leahy would have still Toomey use his blue slip to block her replacement) or if Thomas I. Vanaskie had simply waited a few more years to retire to ensure his seat didn’t flip.
    Then again, should be noted under Obama we flipped three Republican held seats so control has gone back and forth for a while.
    That ended today with Chung, as the only judge that can take senior status where his seat would flip would be George W judge Kent Jordan and I would be shocked if he did that.


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