Federal judge criticizes Senate for politicizing confirmation process

[JURIST] Chief judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] Royce Lamberth [official profile] criticized the US Senate [official website] on Monday for politicizing the federal judicial confirmation process. Lamberth accused both political parties [AP report] of causing harm to the federal judiciary by delaying the confirmation of federal appointees based on the clients they have previously represented. Lamberth was particularly critical of the recent delays in the confirmation of President Barack Obama's selections for positions at the Justice Department, David Ogden [professional profile] and Thomas Perrelli. Ogden, the nominee for Deputy Attorney General, went before the Senate Judiciary Committee [committee website] last month to defend his past representation [JURIST report] of parties opposing anti-pornography and pre-abortion parental notification laws. Lamberth said that such a partisan, divisive process has and will continue to discourage highly qualified individuals from seeking positions within the judiciary.

Last week, the Senate confirmed Ogden [JURIST report] as the new Deputy Attorney General by a vote of 65-28. Perrelli was also confirmed [Bloomberg report] as Associate Attorney General in a 72-20 vote by the Senate last week. Ogden and Perrelli were among the four former Clinton-era attorneys that were nominated [JURIST report] for high-level positions in the Obama administration in January. Both former president George W. Bush and the Senate Republican Committee [JURIST reports] have also criticized the confirmation process, citing vacancies that would last for years as nominees waited to be voted on, or were forced to withdraw their names.

 

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