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Monday, October 2, 2006

Senate Sends Controversial Nominees Back to the President (Again)

The Senate sent the most controversial judicial nominations back to the president for the second time in as many months. The Senate adjourned last week for the campaign season, so Senate Democrats invoked a rule (Rule 31, Section 6 if you are burning with curiosity) to return the nominations to the White House. Fourth Circuit nominees Terrence W. Boyle and William James Haynes, II, Ninth Circuit nominees William Gerry Myers, III and Norman Randy Smith, Fifth Circuit nominee Michael Brunson Wallace, and D.C. Circuit nominee Peter D. Keisler were all returned. If the president wants to keep pressing these nominations, he'll have to resubmit them to the Senate. (The Senate gave unanimous consent to retain the president's other nominees.)

Some of these returned nominations have been around for a quite some time, and no senators -- not even Republicans -- seem especially inclined to push for them. Haynes and Myers were both first nominated over three years ago and Boyle over five years ago. Their nominations have been weighed down by deep concerns about their views on torture (Haynes), the environment (Myers), and civil rights (Boyle). Meanwhile the ABA gave Wallace the first unanimous Not Qualified rating for a circuit court nominee in nearly 25 years. Maybe it's about time the president takes the hint and submits some new nominees when the Senate returns to session.

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