Bench Memos

NRO’s home for judicial news and analysis.

Status Report on Appellate-Court Nominations


1.  One nominee—John Tinder (7th Circuit, Indiana*) has recently been reported to the Senate floor.


2.  One nominee, acting Attorney General Peter Keisler (D.C. Circuit), had his hearing long ago—on August 1 of last year—but has still not voted out of committee.  I note again that in mid-January 2007 (as I discussed here), the Los Angeles Times specifically recommended that Senate Democrats confirm Keisler and, more generally, display a “cooperative spirit” rather than “obstructionism” and “forswear knee-jerk opposition to Bush appointees who are within the legal mainstream.” 


3.  Seven nominees—Shalom D. Stone (3rd Circuit, New Jersey), Judge Robert J. Conrad (4th Circuit, North Carolina), Duncan Getchell (4th Circuit, Virginia), Steve Matthews (4th Circuit, South Carolina), Judge Catharina Haynes (5th Circuit, Texas), Raymond M. Kethledge (6th Circuit, Michigan), and Stephen J. Murphy (6th Circuit, Michigan)—await their hearings.  Kethledge and Murphy were first nominated in June 2006, and their nominations were resubmitted in March 2007.  Stone, Conrad, and Haynes were nominated in mid-July 2007.  Getchell and Matthews were nominated in early September 2007.


4.  Five appellate nominees have been confirmed in 2007:  Debra Livingston (2nd Circuit, New York), Thomas Hardiman (3rd Circuit, Pennsylvania), Leslie Southwick (5th Circuit, Mississippi), Jennifer Walker Elrod (5th Circuit, Texas), and N. Randy Smith (9th Circuit, Idaho).


5.  Six court of appeals vacancies, including two more in the 4th Circuit (one Maryland, one Virginia), await nominations.   


I welcome any corrections to this summary.


* Because it matters for internal Senate politics, I list the state supposedly associated with each seat.  I say “supposedly” because the work of circuit judges is not tied to any particular state, and the law does not identify their seats by state.

Tags: Whelan


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