With all the attention to President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court, you may not have noticed that President Obama made several other judicial nominations this week. First, he nominated assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Ross Haywood to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. This nomination drew immediate criticism from Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), who accused the Administration of violating a longstanding tradition of working with Pennsylvania Senators on judicial nominations within the state and selecting someone without adequate qualifications. In a statement, Senator Toomey commented:
it is . . . disappointing that – for the first time since I’ve been in the Senate – President Obama is nominating someone for the federal bench in Pennsylvania without the approval of both Senator Casey and me. The Administration knows that I have concerns about the nomination of Ms. Haywood to serve on the Third Circuit. For instance, when I interviewed her for this position, she struggled to answer legal questions about the constitutionality of executive actions such as President Obama’s executive amnesty. Her inadequate responses cast serious doubt on whether she would capably serve at the federal appellate level, and I do not support her nomination.
In addition, President Obama nominated six individuals to federal district courts, five for district courts in Texas. According to this report, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) supports confirmation of the five Texas nominees. There are an additional seven vacancies on federal courts in Texas without pending nominees.