Yesterday, President Bush sent four new Circuit Court nominees to the Senate.
- Fourth Circuit: Robert J. Conrad, Jr is currently a district court judge for the Western District of North Carolina. When he was confirmed for the district judgeship in 2005, Senator Leahy and former Senator John Edwards expressed concern about his nomination. According to a statement by Senator Leahy, Conrad’s written work is disturbing. He wrote one article entitled “Planned Parenthood, A Radical, Pro-Abortion Fringe Group,” and referred to Sister Prejean’s book Dead Man Walking as “liberal drivel”
Leahy was rightly concerned that: “The rhetoric he uses is heated, and his bias for the death penalty is clear. Will any defendant in a capital case who comes before a Judge Conrad feel that they will get a fair hearing from him? Will he feel that a Judge Conrad can put aside personal prejudices and preconceptions?” Leahy went on to add: “His statements make me wonder whether any person going before a Judge Conrad in a case involving reproductive rights, or indeed any issue related to personal privacy, will feel their arguments have been fairly heard. Will he be able to follow the law as written?”
- Third Circuit: Shalom D. Stone is a partner in the New Jersey law firm of Walder, Hayden & Brogan. According to an article in New Jersey’s Star Ledger, the White House ignored long-standing procedure and did not consult Stone's home state senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez prior to Stone’s nomination. Neither New Jersey senator is familiar with Stone, his work or his legal views.
- Fifth Circuit: Will she be another Jennifer Elrod? Catharina Haynes is currently in private practice after serving as a state court judge in Dallas, TX from 1998 until 2002. Like Elrod, it is likely that her written record as a judge is very thin.
- Seventh Circuit: John Daniel Tinder has been a judge on the district court for the Southern District of Indiana since 1987.
We are concerned that the White House continues to refuse to consult with Democratic senators and to nominate people who have troubling records or no record at all. Nevertheless, we will be busily working to learn all that we can about these new nominees and whether they are qualified to serve lifetime appointments on our Circuit Courts