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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Senators Play “Lets Make a Deal” on Judges

Once again, we have news on the judges front. It seems there are two tentative deals in the works that would address the question of President Bush’s pending circuit court nominees.

One of these agreements appeared to be brokered directly between Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Michigan Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and the White House. In exchange for President Bush’s nomination of Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Helene White (a former Clinton nominee) to one of the vacancies on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Leahy agreed to also consider the nomination of Raymond Kethledge.

As part of this deal, President Bush withdrew U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy from consideration for a seat on the Sixth Circuit and instead nominated him for a district court judgeship. In a statement released yesterday, Sen. Leahy referred to the agreement as “a significant development that can lead to filling the last two vacancies on the Sixth Circuit before this year ends.”

But wait, there’s more! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) also appeared to have worked out an agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). In exchange for Sen. Reid’s efforts to push through at least three pending circuit court nominees before Memorial Day recess, Sen. McConnell agreed to stop blocking a bipartisan highway funding bill.

As of yet, it is unclear how these deals will work together and what aspects will eventually be implemented, but Alliance for Justice will be following the matter closely. We will be sure to keep you updated as developments unfold. For information on any of these pending nominees, check our website here.

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