Once Judge Wallach is sworn-in, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will have 11 members on the full bench. In early 2010, President Obama nominated WilmerHale attorney Edward DuMont for the job as a circuit court judge on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Senate did not act upon that nomination in 2010 and the President resubmitted the nomination again to the new congress in January 2011. The ABA gave DuMont its highest rating for the job — “unanimously well qualified.” However, the Senate Judiciary Committee never held a hearing on DuMont’s nomination. Now, DuMont has requested that President Obama withdraw his nomination. In his letter to the President, DuMont indicates that the “inaction results from opposition on the part of one or more members of the [Senate Judiciary] Committee minority.”
Under these circumstances, drawing the process out further does not seem either sensible for me or fair to the Federal Circuit, which has important work to do and deserves to be able to address it with a full complement of active judges.
If he had been confirmed, DuMont would have been the first openly gay judge on any U.S. Court of Appeals. [See my prior post on the topic] At this point, it is unclear whether the holdup was simply based upon the fact that DuMont is openly gay or instead if that was only one factor in the Senate’s decision making process. Senator Grassley’s spokesperson recently suggested that the delays were sparked by “questions about his background.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee includes Democratic Senators Leahy, Kohl, Feinstein, Schumer, Durbin, Whitehouse, Klobuchar, Frankin, Coons, and Blumenthal; and Republican Senators Grassley, Hatch, Kyl, Sessions, Graham, Cornyn, Lee, and Coburn.
Next in line: …