Bush renominates controversial appeals court candidates

[JURIST] US President George Bush on Wednesday renominated [WH list] six candidates for federal appeals court judgeships, at least four of whom Democrats have already rejected [JURIST report]. Senate rules [text] require nominations to be resubmitted after a recess longer than 30 days, and the judicial nominations [JURIST news archive] will expire if not approved during the current lame-duck session of Congress. When Congress reconvenes in January, new nominees will face a Senate Democratic majority.

Democratic senators see the President's actions as a reversal of his recent promise for bipartisanship in the wake of the mid-term elections. US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) [official website], expected to take over as Judiciary Committee chairman, expressed his disappointment [press release] Wednesday:

With these renominations, the President is choosing partisanship over progress and division over unity, at the expense of a fair and independent judiciary. This is exactly the kind of political game-playing that prompted Americans to demand change and a new direction in Washington. The signal the President is sending by renominating these controversial candidates is regrettable. But I hope the President will work with us in charting a new direction in the next congressional session, by choosing consensus nominees who unite instead of divide America.
The names on President Bush's list include Michael Wallace [WH profile], an attorney deemed to be "unqualified" according to a rating by the American Bar Association [official website]; William Haynes II [DOD profile], current General Counsel for US Department of Defense [official website] who had a hand in allowing many of the current interrogation methods for detainees; Terrence Boyle [WH profile], a federal district court judge from North Carolina; William Myers III [DOJ profile], who opposes environmental regulations and lobbies for the mining and ranching industries; Peter Keisler [DOJ profile], current Assistant Attorney General for the US Department of Justice Civil Division [official website]; and N. Randy Smith [WH profile], a district judge in Idaho. The first four candidates have already been strongly criticized by the Democratic party, while Keisler and Smith have largely avoided opposition to date. AP has more. Earlier in the week, outgoing Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) indicated that Bush would likely need to nominate more moderate judges [JURIST report] given the results of the midterm elections. Specter also speculated that Democrats may restrict or even halt judicial confirmations until the 2008 presidential elections. Thursday's New York Times has additional coverage.


 

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