President Obama announced two nominees for the federal appellate bench today: Jane Stranch to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and federal district court judge Thomas Vanaskie to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This brings the total number of Obama’s appellate nominees up to seven, which is a slower pace than I would have expected.
It’s also interesting to note that Jane Stranch is the first appellate nominee of this administration without prior judicial experience. Such experience is hardly required — some of President Bush’s best judicial nominees had none — but it’s noteworthy that President Obama’s first five appellate nominees — and six of his first seven — were sitting federal district court judges. Furthermore, Obama’s nominees, on average, have been significantly older than those nominated by his predecessors.