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Bench Memos

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Real Bipartisanship in Judicial Nominations



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President Bush renominated Clinton nominee Roger Gregory to the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  This was a significant gesture of bipartisanship, as was Bush’s nomination of Barrington Parker to the Second Circuit, and his later agreement to nominate Helene White to the Sixth Circuit.   If President-elect Obama wants to show he is serious about bipartisanship, he could start by renominating one or more of President Bush’s stalled appellate nominees.  And, as Quin Hillyer argues, there would be no better nominee than Peter Keisler, who Bush nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  Given Judge Randolph’s recent decision to go senior, renominating Keisler for the vacancy created by John Roberts’ elevation to the Supreme Court would not alter the ideological balance of the Court, and would still leave another opportunity to replace a Republican nominee on the court with one of his own (even before any of the older GOP Reagan or Bush nominees take senior status).  Of course, Obama has never shown any inclination toward bipartisanship on the issue of judges before, having voted to filibuster the Alito nomination and not participating in the “Gang of 14.”



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