Re: Judicial Vacancies, Nominations, and Pensions
A couple readers have offered a more hopeful theory for Judge Van Antwerpen’s appointment. If, they point out, Judge Van Antwerpen continues to carry a significant caseload while on senior status, if he’s a solid judge (I have no information on this point), and if the White House succeeds in filling his vacancy with another solid judge, then the White House will essentially have pulled off a “two-fer”: It will have gotten two solid judges onto the Third Circuit through a vacancy for a single seat. (Senior judges, as I understand it, may not serve as presiding judges on panels and do not take part in en banc proceedings (though I’m not sure that rule is uniform across the circuits), but the readers are correct that the differences between an active judge and a senior judge who carries a full caseload are not great.)
I would like to think that the White House is executing such a clever strategy. But given all the difficulties with the Senate, my guess is that the White House is trying to keep things as simple as possible.