Leahy Schedules Hearing For Fourth Circuit Nominee

Committee To Hold Sixth Nominations Hearing Of 2008

WASHINGTON (Wednesday, April 23, 2008) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) today scheduled a hearing to consider three judicial nominations, including a nominee to fill a seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.  It will be the sixth nominations hearing of the session, and the fourth for judicial nominations.

After withdrawing the nomination of Duncan Getchell in January, last month the President nominated Steven Agee to a Virginia vacancy on the Fourth Circuit.  Unlike previous nominees, Agee has the bipartisan support of Virginia’s Senators, one a Republican and one a Democrat.  In 2003, the President nominated Jim Haynes to fill a Virginia seat on the appeals court in the Fourth Circuit.  That nomination of the general counsel of the Defense Department, who oversaw the creation and approval of detention and interrogation policies and practices that remained cloaked in secrecy and have led to international scorn, met with bipartisan objections.  It was ultimately returned to the President and not re-nominated.  Despite earlier recommendations from Virginia Senators John Warner (R) and Jim Webb (D), the President last year then nominated Duncan Getchell.  After public opposition from Warner and Webb, Getchell’s nomination was alsowithdrawn.  In March, the President sent the Agee nomination to the Senate for a Virginia seat on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Judiciary Committee has worked to prepare the nomination for Senate consideration.

“After years of delay, the President has finally heeded the advice of Senator Warner and Senator Webb, and the Committee is moving forward in its consideration of this circuit court nominee,” said Leahy.  “Like the progress made last week in breaking a long-standing impasse in the Sixth Circuit, the Agee nomination breaks the gridlock on the Fourth Circuit.  We are taking another step to further reduce judicial vacancies.  Circuit court vacancies have already been reduced to the lowest level in more than a decade.”

The Committee will also hear from two district court nominees, Murray Snow for an Arizona district court seat, and William Lawrence for a seat in the southern district of Indiana.  Leahy has also scheduled a Committee vote Thursday on three pending district court nominees whose hearing was held earlier this month.

Democrats have worked to reduce the number of vacancies on the Federal bench to less than half the number at the start of the Bush administration.  Circuit court vacancies had increased from 12 to 26 during the Clinton administration when Republican Senators stalled consideration of a Democratic President’s nominations and swelled to 32 at the start of the Bush administration.  Today, there are just 12 circuit vacancies throughout the entire nation. 


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The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing on “Judicial Nominations” for Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Senate Dirksen Office Building.


Senator Cardin will preside.

By order of the Chairman


Witness List


Hearing before the

Senate Judiciary Committee



“Judicial Nominations”


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226

10:00 a.m.


G. Steven Agee to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit


William T. Lawrence to be United States District Judge for the Southern

District of Indiana


G. Murray Snow to be United States District Judge for the District of Arizona


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Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693

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