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Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Unlikely Judicial Picks



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I’ve looked into (and heard a bit more) about the three district court judges suggested by Bazelon and Resnick as potential Obama appellate nominees.  First, all three are older than some might hope or expect.  Gertner was born in 1946, Thompson in 1947, and Bennett in 1950.  This is not disqualifying, but the older an appellate nominee, the less likely that judge is to have a substantial effect on the law within his or her circuit.  Second, it’s not clear whether Bazelon and Resnick considered whether there would be seats available for these nominees.  Consider Thompson, who sits in Alabama, which is in the 11th Circuit.  There are three “Alabama seats” on the 11th, all of which are filled.  What is more, none of the three is likely to open up anytime soon, given the ages of the sitting Alabama judges (Dubina, 61; Carnes, 58; Pryor 46).  So, barring unforeseen events — or the addition of another Alabama seat — there would be no place for Thompson to go.



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