Saranac Spencer Hale has this article in today’s Legal Intelligencer, focusing filling long-open WDPA seats. (Free access via Google here.)
The article touches on two points of interest to Third Circuit followers. First, this update on the Restrepo nomination:
When U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, took over as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the start of this year, he indicated that he planned to maintain the same pace for moving consensus judicial nominees along to the full Senate for confirmation.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, who had been chair of the committee before Grassley, had held hearings for nominees roughly every two weeks.
“That’s not true already,” Sugameli said of Grassley’s intent for keeping up with moving nominees along. So far this year the committee has held one hearing for judicial nominees.
Restrepo is not a controversial nominee, Sugameli said. He had the support of both Casey and Toomey when he was nominated to the district court in late 2012, he was confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate, and both home-state senators have, again, given him their support for his nomination to the Third Circuit.
Restrepo had to be renominated at the beginning of January and there is a new chairman with new staff examining his background, plus there was the high-profile hearing for Loretta Lynch, the nominee for attorney general, that took up a lot of time, Beth Levine, a spokeswoman for Grassley, explained of the delay.
The run-up to the Lynch hearing, which concluded last week with a 12-8 vote to move her on to a vote by the full Senate, required “all hands on deck,” Levine said.
Staff had to review 100 speeches from Lynch, Levine said, explaining the weight of the material involved.
They are still reviewing the background material for judicial nominees, like Restrepo, who are in the pipeline, she said. But coming up soon will be the hearing for the deputy attorney general.
Levine “couldn’t even estimate” a timeframe for Restrepo’s hearing, she said.
Second, the article mentions that Judge Fisher has recently took on two district court cases:
Third Circuit Judge D. Michael Fisher recently stepped in to take on two cases in the Western District, due partly to the shortage of judges on that bench. Fisher has his chambers in Pittsburgh and had also wanted to get trial experience, since he joined the appellate bench after having been in private practice and then serving as Pennsylvania’s attorney general.