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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Swapping Seats

In what the Associated Press is calling “a nod to the Senate’s new Democratic leadership,” on Tuesday President Bush withdrew the nomination of Idahoan Norman Randy Smith to a Ninth Circuit seat traditionally held by a Californian, renominating him instead to a vacant seat on that court belonging to Idaho. The Idaho seat was freed up after Idahoan William Myers withdrew his name from consideration for it earlier this month. Initially, despite Myers' withdrawal, the president persisted in nominating Smith to the California seat, which provoked the ire of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and fellow Democrats. Finally, in part due to the influence of Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), who wanted to facilitate fellow Idahoan Smith's confirmation by the Democratic Senate, the president renominated Smith to the Idaho seat .

Now that the administration has backed down, Smith will likely see a quick confirmation. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is celebrating the compromise, saying it “avoided a needless fight over a judicial nominee.”

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