While we were all pouring over the Supreme Court’s Boumediene decision, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved three judicial nominees from Michigan: Helene White and Ray Kethledge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and Stephen Murphy for the district court. As readers will recall, Murphy had initially been nominated to the Sixth Circuit, but his nomination was withdrawn and resubmitted to the district court in a deal between the White House and Michigan’s Senate delegation, which insisted that White (who is related to Senator Levin) be nominated in his place. Of note, the vote on White was 11-8. All of the Republican Senators on the Comitteee, save Orrin Hatch, voted against her, citing concerns about her qualifications. Hatch said it was a “close call,” but believes (correctly in my view) that Presidents are due substantial deference in their judicial picks.
Update: Helene White was related to Senator Levin, but no longer. She was married to Levin’s cousin, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Charles Levin (for whom she also clerked), but they were divorced in 2006.