Rumors are flying that an agreement might be in the works between Pennsylvania Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) vis-à-vis pending judicial vacancies. The Legal Intelligencer is reporting that they have worked out a tentative agreement regarding one of two vacancies on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and four district court vacancies in Pennsylvania’s Eastern District.
The White House has already nominated Eastern District Judge Gene Pratter to fill the Third Circuit vacancy, but her nomination stalled when Sen. Casey objected, citing her dismal record on employment and disability issues. As part of the alleged agreement, President Bush would withdraw Judge Pratter from consideration and replace her with Judge Paul Diamond, also from the Eastern District Court. In exchange for Judge Diamond’s nomination, the article reports that Sen. Casey would support four of President Bush’s and Sen. Specter’s Eastern District Court nominees.
The motivation behind Sen. Casey’s alleged discussions with Sen. Specter is not immediately clear, especially considering the timing. The Senate does not usually take up new nominees this late in an election year. In fact, the last circuit court judge confirmed in 2000 – the end of President Clinton’s term – had been nominated in February of that year. It is still unclear from the article whether any potential agreement would have the support of either the White House or Senate Democratic Leadership, including Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Judiciary Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
We will be sure to keep our readers updated on any new developments.