Judiciary Punts on Trio of Obama Nominees

Posted May 21, 2009 at 11:08am

Senate Judiciary Republicans successfully postponed voting on a trio of Obama administration nominees Thursday, pushing off consideration until after the Memorial Day break.The panel was scheduled to consider the nominations of Thomas Perez, tapped for an assistant attorney general position, and a pair of federal court nominees: David Hamilton, nominated to fill a vacancy in the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Andre Davis, nominated to fill a spot in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the panel’s ranking member, said GOP panel members have concerns about Hamilton: “He’s had a number of troubling rulings.—Sessions chastised Hamilton, a district court judge in southern Indiana, for ruling against denominational prayer in the state legislature and allowing religious displays in public.Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) noted that Hamilton’s ruling upheld nondenominational prayer, and called for his confirmation.“David Hamilton ought to be commended rather than obstructed or delayed,— Leahy said.Possibly complicating things further for the timing of the nominees’ approval is the fact that the Judiciary Committee is poised to consider Obama’s first Supreme Court pick. That announcement could come within days and is expected to command Senate attention through the summer.Meanwhile, the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved adding back the Human Rights and Law Subcommittee to the panel’s structure. Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) will take the gavel of that subpanel in exchange for giving up his top post on the Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs to Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who recently switched to the Democratic Party. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) will serve as the ranking member on the Human Rights Subcommittee.