02.04.10

Judiciary Committee Advances Four Nominations

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday advanced four nominations to the full Senate for consideration.  The Committee recessed after nearly two hours of debate.  Six nominations, including four judicial nominations, were not considered by the Committee, and will be debated at the panel’s next meeting.

Two judicial nominations and two executive nominations were reported by the Committee: Edward M. Chen to be a district judge for the Northern District of California; Louis B. Butler, Jr., to be a district judge for the Western District of Wisconsin; Christopher Schroeder to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice; and Mary L. Smith to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division at the Department of Justice. 

The nominations reported Thursday were first approved by the Judiciary Committee last year, but failed to receive votes on the Senate Floor.  Objections from Senate Republicans at the conclusion of the 2009 session resulted in the nominations being returned to the President.   President Obama renominated them on January 20.

At the business meeting Thursday, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) expressed concern about the many nominations pending before the full Senate.

“I must admit I am troubled by the number of nominations that get held,” Leahy said at the meeting.  “Vote them up, or vote them down.”

At its next meeting, the Committee is expected to consider the pending nominations held over Thursday, including the nomination of Dawn Johnsen to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.  Johnsen was first nominated by the President last year, and the Committee reported the nomination in March.  Like the nominations approved by the Committee Thursday, Johnsen’s nomination was returned to the President, and resubmitted on Jan. 20. 

For more information about judicial and executive nominations, and for the results of executive business meetings, visit the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.

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