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Specter Ltr to Us Senate Judiciary Committee Re Federal Judge Confirmation Feb 29 2008

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February 29. 2008
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington. D.C. 205 10
Dear Patrick:
I write in the hope that you and I can work out an acco mmoda tion on the confirmation of
federal j udges without our respective caucu ses coming to an impasse. Without going into an
elaborate history on the confirmation of federal judges. the essence of the situation is that 15 circuit
judges and 57 district co urt j udges were confirmed in the last two years of President Clinton's
Administration. co mpared to 6 circuit co urt and 34 district cou rt judges for President Bush in 20072008. That means there must be confirmations or at least up-or-down votes on 9 additional circuit
and 23 district co urt j udges to equal President Clinton's record.
President Bush is even farther behind President Clint on in total confirmations when
contrasting their entire terms. since President Clinton contirmed 65 circuit court and 3U5 district court
judges while Presiden t Bush has so far confirmed only 57 circuit and 237 district court j udges. In
addition. thus far in the 11Olh Congress. only 5 of President Bush's circuit court nominees have been
granted hearings. By this date in Presiden t Clinton's fi nal two years in offic e. the Committee had
held hearin gs for 10 circuit court nominees. Until the hearing for Ms. Catherina Hayne s on February
21. 2008. we had not had H circuit court hearing since September 25. 2007. some 5 months ago.
While there haw been many hotly contested issues in the Senate in recent years. the most
bitter controversies haw involved federal j udicial nominations. In 2005. the battle over j udges
reached a high poin t. or le w point. with the Republican cauc us threatening to emp loy the "nuclear
option " to comb at the Democrat s' filibusters. In my judgment. in the past twenty years. there has
been a great deal of blame split evenly between both sides.
As the record shows. I dissented from the Republi can caucus's position by casting key votes in
favor of several circuit cou rt nomi nees. including co ntroversial nominees such as Judge Marsha
Bcrzon. who was confirmed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on March 9. 2000. Judge Timothy
Dyk . who was confirmed to the Federal Circuit on May 24. 2000 . Judge Richard Pacz. who was
confirmed to the Ninth Circuit on March 9. 2000. and Judge II. Lee Sarokin . who was confirmed to the
Third Circuit on October 4. 1994. Similarly. I supported President Clinton's nomination of judge
Gerard Lynch. who was confirmed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by a
vote of 63-36 on May 24. 2000. I also supported other controversial non-judicial confirmations such

as Lani Guinicr to be Ass istant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division ofthe Justice
Dep artment and the subsequent nomination of Bill I.ann Lee for the same posi tion.
Now I believe that my ca ucus is correct in insisting on up-o r-down votes on nominees with
extraordin ary records. includ ing several "vho arc nominated to lill seats deemed j ud icial emergencies .
A listing of these nominees , vith their superb q ual ifica tions proves the po int
Circuit Court ]\;ominces:
Nominee: Peter D. Keisler. of MD, to the D.C. Circuit: Pending over 600 days
Nominated: June 29. 2006: Ilearing Augus t 1. 2006: Renomi nate d Jan uary' 8. 2007
AHA Rating: Unan imous Wel l Qua lified
Education .
B.A.. magna cum Iuude. Yale University. 198 1
J. D.. Yale Law School. 1985: Notes/Co mments Editor. Yale LawJournal
Career lIighlighls: Low Clerk. Judge Robert If. Bork. D.e. Ci rcui t Court of Appeals
Law Clerk. Justice A nthony M . Kennedy. U.S. Supreme Co urt
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division. Department o f Justice
Acting Attorney General. United States De partment o f Jus tice ( 001)
Editorials in the Los Angeles 71111e.\' and The Wash ington Post have called for confi rmation of Mr.
Keisler calling him a " moderate conservative" an d "highly qualified no minee" who "certai nly warran ts
Nominee: Robert Conrad. ofNt". to the 4 th Circuit (JlIcliciall~'merge1J(}') : Pending over 220 days
Nominated: July 17.2007
ABA Rating: Unanimous Wel l Qualified
B.A.. magna cum laude. Clemson Unive rsity. 1980
J.D.. University of Virginia. 1983
Career Highlights: U"Ii, Aflomey. Western District orN.e.
DistrictJudge, District Court for the Western Distri ct oflo.C.
ChiefJudge, Western District ofN.C.
An edi torial in The Charlott e Observer stated that it is "outrageous" that the Jud iciary Co mmi ttee has
not held a hear ing for Judge Conrad. calling him a "well-qualified judge who only three years ago
recei ved unani mo us Se nate confirmation" and who "was appoi nted by Dem ocratic Atto rney Genera l
Janel Ren o to head the Justice Dep art ment's Campaign Finance Task Force:'
Nominee: Steve A. Matthews, o fSC. to the 4 th Circuit: Pending ever 170 days
Nominated: September 6. 2007
ABA Rating: Substantia l Majori ty Qualified. Minority No t Qual ified
B.A.. University of Sou th Caroli na. 1977
Ed uca tion :
J.D .. Yale Law School. 1980
Career Highlights: Detnttv Assistant A ttorney General. C ivil Divisio n. DOJ
Deputy Assistant Attorney General. O ffice of Legal Po licy. DOJ
Managing Director. l laynsworth Sinkler Boyd. P.A.


Nominee: Catharine Haynes. of TX. to the s'" Circ uit (Judicial Entergency): Pending over 220 days
Nominated: July 17. 2007; I leering February 2 1. 200 8
AHA Rating: Unanimous We ll Qualified
B.S.. with highest honors.first ;'1 her class. Florida Institute of Technology. 1983
J.D.. with distinction, order ofthe CO(t: Emory Univers ity School of Law. 1986
C a reer lIighlights: Partner, Baker Botts. LLP
Judge. State of Texas. Da llas County. 191'1 District Court. Dallas. TX
Partner. Baker Botts. LLP
Nominee: Rod Rosenstein. of MD. to the 4 th Circuit (Judicial Emergency) : Pending over 100 days
Nominated: November IS. 2007
AllA Rating: Unanimous Well Q ualified
Education :
B.S.. summa cum laude. University
Pennsylvania. 1986
J.D.. cum laude, Ha rva rd Law' School. 1989
Career Highlights: I.m1' Clerk. Judge Douglas Ginsb urg. D.C. Circuit
Special Asslstont to the Assistant Attorney General. Cr iminal Division . DOJ
Associate Independent Counsel, Office of the Indepe ndent Counsel
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. Tax Division. DOJ
U.S'. Aflorney. U.S. Attorney's Office lor the District of Maryland
Two edito rials in 711e Washington POS! urged Senate co nfirmation of Mr. Rosenstein and one stated
"blocking Mr. Rosenstein's con firmation hearing ... wo uld elevate ideology and ego above subst ance
and merit. and it would unfairly penalize a man who people on both sides of this question agree is well
qualified for a judgeship."


Nominee: Stephen Murphy. of MI. to the 6th Circu it (Judicial Emerj(enq): Pending ever 1100 days
Nominated: February 17. 2005: Renominated June 2S. 2006: Renominated Marc h 19. 2007
AHA Rating: Substa ntial Majo rity Well Q ualifi ed. Minority Q uali fied
8.S.. Marquette University. 1984
J.D.. St. Louis University. 1987
Career lIighlights: Assistant lJ. ,<.,'. Attorney, U.S. Attorney 's O ffice for the E.D . of Michigan
Auomey, General Motors
Attorney. U.S. Attorney 's Office for the Eastern District of Mic higan


Nominee: Raymo nd Kethledge. ofMl. to the s" Circu it (Judicial Etncrgencyv: Pending over 600
Nominated: June. 28. 2006: Reno minated March 19.2007
AHA Rating: Substantial Majority Well Quali fied. Minor ity Qua lified
B.A. . University of Michigan. 19S9
J.D .. University or Michigan Law School. 1993
Career I-lighlights: Law Clerk. Just ice Anthony M. Kennedy. U.S. Supreme Court
Counsel, Senator Spencer Abraham . U.S. Senate Judiciary Com mittee
Partner. Bush Sey ferth Keth ledge & Paige


Nominee: William Smith. of RI. to the I sl C ircuit (Judicial Emergency): Pending over NO days
Nominated : December 7. 2007
ABA Rating: Substantial Majority Well Qualified. Minority Qua lified
Ed uca tion :
B.A. Georgetown Universi ty. 1982
J.D. cum laude. Geo rgetown Universi ty Law Center. 1987
Career Highlights: Counsel/Partner, Edwards & Angell. LLP
SteffDirector, Senator Lincoln Chafee
District Judge , District of Rhode Island
Nominee: Shalom Stone. ofNf , to the 3rd Circuit (Judicial Emergency): Pending ove r 220 days
Nom ina ted: Ju ly 18. 2007
ABA Rating: Substantial Majo rity Qualified. Minority Well Qualified
Ed uca t ion :
B,A .. magna cl/m laude. Yeshiva College
J.D .. CUI1l laude. Nee..' York University School of Law
C a reer lIighlights:
Associate. Sills. Cumm is. Fischman. Epstein & Gross
Member, Walder Hayden & Brogan. P.A
Nominee: Gene Pratter. of PA. to the :lTd Circuit: Pending over 100 days
No m ina ted : November 15.2007
AB A Rating: Unanimous Well Quali fied
Ed uca tion :
A.B.. Stanford. University. 197 1
.J .0.. University of Pennsylvania Law School. 1975
Ca reer Hlghlights: Partner. Duane Morris. LI.P
District Judge. Eastern District of Pennsylvania
District Court Nominees:
Nominee: Thomas A. Farr. orNe. to the Eastern Dist rict o f North Carolina (.Judicial Emergency)
Nom inated: December 7. 2006
ABA Rating: Unanimous Well Quali fied
B.A.. summa cum laude, co-salutatorian. Ilillsdale Coll ege. 1976
J.D .. Emory University Schoo l of l.avv. 1979
L.L.M .. Georgetown University School of Law. 1982
C a reer Highlights: Counsel. U.S. Senate Committee on Labo r and Human Resources
StuffAttorney, Office of Personnel Management
Law Clerk. Judge Frank W. Bullock. Jr .. U.S . District Court for the M.D. orNe
At.{j/lJ1CI Professor, Campbell University Schoo l of L1\v


Nomi nee: James R. lIall. to the Southern District of Georgia (Judicia l Em er~e n"y)
Nomina ted : March 1t} . 2007 : Hea ring Feb . 12.2008: Scheduled for markup Feb. 28. 2008
A BA Rating: Substantial Majorit y Well Qualified. Minorit y Qualified
Ed uca tion :
B.A.. Augu sta College. 1979
J .D.. University of Georgia Law School. 1982
C a reer Highlights: Parma. Avr cu & !l all
('o rforate Vice President & General Counsel. Bankers First Corporation
22/1{ District State Senator, Georgia Stat e Senat e
Partner. Warrick . Tritt. Stebbins & Iiall
Nom inee: Gustavus Ado lphus Puryear. of TN. to the Middle District of Tennessee
Nom ina ted : Jun e 13. 2007: Hearing February 12. 2008
ABA Rating: Unanimo usly Qualified
Ed ucat ion: B.A. . with highest honors. Emory University. 1990
J.D. , with honors. University of North Carolina School of Law. 1993
C a r eer Highlights: Law Clerk. Judge Rile-sa Hawkins Barksda le. Court of Appeal s for the 5 th Cir.
Legislative Director , Offic e of U.S. Senator Bill Frist
Executive VP . General ('01l1l.\'(!1 & Secretory. Corrections Corporation of
Nomi nee: Brian Stacy Mill er. o f AR. to the Eastern District of Arkan sas
Nomina ted : October 16. 200 7: Hearing February 12. 2008 : Markup February 28.2008
ABA Rating: Unanimously Well Qualified
Ed uca tion :
I3.S.. with honors. lJniversit:y o r Central Arkansas. 1992
J .D.. Vanderbilt Law School. 1995
Ca r eer Highlights: Deputy I'rose cnting Auorney, Arkan sas Prosecuting Attorney' s Office
Jlfd~e . Arkan sas Court of App eals (current)
Nom inee: John A Mendez. of CA to the Eastern District of Californ ia (Judicial Emergenq )
Nom ina ted : Sept. 6. 2007: Il earing February 2 1. 2008
ABA Rating: Sub stantial majority Well Qualified. minority Qualified
Ed uca t ion :
B.A. with distinction. Stanford University. 1977
J .D.. Harvard Law Scho ol. 1980
C a reer Uighlights: United Sta tes Attorney. United States Attorney ' s Office for the N.D. of CA
Shareholder. Somach. Simmons & Dunn
J udg e, Sacramento County Superior Court


Nnminee: Richard I I. Honaker. the District of Wyoming
29. 2006: Hearing February 12.2008
ABA Rating: Unanimous Wel l Qualified
B.A. . Harvard Co llege. cum laude. 1973
J.D.. University of Wyoming College of Law. John J. Bugas Scholarship. 1976
Ca reer lIighli~hls: State PIIMic Defender, State of Wyoming
Member, Wyoming House of Repre sentatives. 1987-1993
Partner, Jlonaker. Hampton & Newman
~ominated: June

Xominee: Lincoln D. Almond. of RI. to the District o f Rhode Island
:\"orninated: November 15.2007
AHA Rating: Unanimous Well Qualified
Ed ucation :
B.S .. University o f Rhode Island. 1985
J.D.. with IIiXh Honors. University of Connecticut Sch ool of Law. 1988
Notes/Comments Editor. Connecticut Law Review
C a reer lIighJighls: Clerk. Judge Peter C. Dorsey. District Court for the District of Connect icut
Partner. Edwards & Angell. LLP
Ma>!hlrale Judge , U.S. District Court for the Distr ict of Rhode Island
i"iornincc: Mark S. Davis. of VA. to the Eastern District of Virg inia
Xominatcd: November 15.2007
AHA Rating: Unanimous Well Qual ified
B.A. . University of Virg inia. 198-t
J .D.. Washington and Lee University School of Law. 1988
Career lIighlighls: Clerk. Judge Jo hn A. Mackenzie. U.S. District Court for the E.D . of VA
Partn er. McG uire Woods LLP
Par/nero Carr &. Porter. LI.C
State Court Judge, Thi rd Judicial Ci rcuit or Virginia
Noruince: David J, Nova k. of Vi\. to the Eastern District o f Virginia
Nominated: Nove mber 15,2007
ABA Rating: Substantial Majority Well Q ualifi ed. Minority Q ual ified
B.S .. magna cum laude, 51. Vincent Co llege. 1983
1.0.. Villanova University Law School. 1986
C a reer lIighlighls: Assistunt Districl AUomey. Philadel phia District Attomcy's Office
Trial Attorney, Criminal Div isio n. DOJ
.Ilssislant lJ..". Attorney. U.S. Atto rney ' s Office for the S.D. ofTexas
Assistant U.S Attorney, U.S. Attomeys Offi ce for the E.D . of Virgi nia


Nominee: William J. Powell. ofWv. to the Northern District of West Virginia
Nominated: May 24. 2007
ABA Rating: Substantial Majority Well Quali fied. Minority Qualified. 1 absten tion
11./\.. magna ClIm laude. Salem College. 1982
J.D.. West Virginia College of Law. 1985
Ca reer Highlights: Assistant United Stutes Attorney, Southern District ofWV
Member, Jackson Kelly. Pl.l.C
Nominee: David R. Dugas. of LA. to the Middle District of Louisiana
Nominated: March 19.2007
ABA Rating: Unanimously Well Qualified
Cadet. United States Air Force Academy. 1973
J.D.. Louisiana State Univers ity Law Center. 1978
Career Highlights: I'unner. Caffe ry. Oubre. Dugas & Campbell. L.L.P.
United Slates Auomev, Middle District of Louisiana (curre nt)
Exec. Director, Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force Joint Command Center
Nominee: Stephen N. Limbaugh. Jr.. of MO. to the Eastern District of Missouri
Nominated: Decembe r 6. 2007
AHA Rating: Unanimous ly Well Qualified
B.A.. Southern Methodist University. 1973
J.D .. Southern Methodist University Schoo l of 1976
Master of Laws in the Judicia l Process. UVA School of Law, 1998
Ca reer Highlights: Circuit Judge, 32nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri
Supreme COllI" Judge. Supreme Court of Missouri
ChiefJustice, Supreme Court (I f Missouri
Nominee: David Gregory Kays. of MO. to the Western District of Missouri
Nominated: Nov, 15.2007
ABA Rating: Substantial Majority Qualified/Minority Not Qualified
Ed uca tion :
B.S.. Southwest Missouri State University. 1985
Ll).. University of Arkansas School of Law. 1988
Ca reer Highlights: Prosecutor, Laclede County Prosecuting Attorney's Office
Associate Circuit Judge. Laclede County Circuit Court
Presiding Cirelli! Court .tudge, Twe nty-Sixth Jud icial District


No m inee: Ja mes Edward Rogan. ofCA. to the Ce ntra l District of Cali fom ia (Judicial Emergency)
Nominat ed: January 9. 2007
ABA Rating: Substantial Majority Well Q ualified/ Minority Q ualified
Ed uca tion:
B.A.. University o f Ca lifomi a at Berkeley. 1979
J.D.. Un iversity of Ca lifo m ia Los Ange les School of Law. 19&3
C a ree r Highlights: Deploy Dis/rid Attorney. Los Angeles Cou nty District Attorney' s Office
Judge . Glenda le Municipal Court
Member, Cali fornia State Assembly
Member, United States House of Rep resentati ves
Judge. Californi a Superior Cou rt
Nominee: Willia m 1. Lawrence. of IN. to the Southern District of Indiana t.l ndicial Emergencvv
Nom inat ed : February 15. 2008
ABA Rating: Not yet rated
Education :
B.!\.. Ind iana Unive rsity. 1970
J. D.. Indiana Unive rsi ty School of Law-I nd ianapo lis. 19 73
C a re e r Highlights: Public Defender (part-time). Marion Cou nty Superior COUrl. Criminal Division
Alaster Commissio ner (part- time). Marion Co unty C ircuit Co urt
Judge. Marion County Circuit Court
Magistrate JI/(/~e. District Co urt for the Sout hern Distri ct of Ind iana (current)
No minee : G. Murray Sno w. of AZ. to the District of Arizona
No minated : Dec. J 1. 2007
ABA Rating: Not yet rated
Ed ucatio n:
R A . magna cum laude. Brigham Young University. 1984
.J.D.. magna cumlaude , J. Reube n C lark Law Schoo l. Brigham Young
University. 1987
C a r eer Highlights: Law Clerk. Judge Ste phe n II. And erson. Ten th C ircuit Co urt o f Ap pea ls
Member, Meyer. Hendricks. Victor. Osbo rn & Malcdon . P.A.
Judge. Arizo na Court of Appeals
Nom inee: Glenn T. S uddaby. of NY. to the No rthern District of New York
Nominat ed : Dece m ber 11. 1007
AHA Rating: Not yet rated
Ed uca tion:
B.A.. State Universi ty o f New York at Plattsburgh. 1980
J.D .. Syracuse University Co llege of Law, 1985
C a reer Highlights: Assistant District Attorney. Onondag a County District Atto rney ' s Offi ce
First ChiefAssist. District Attorney, O nondag a Cou nty Dist. Attorn ey's Office
United Slates Attorney , Northern District of New York


Nomi nee: Co lm Co nno lly, of DE. to the District of Delaw are
Nomi nated: February 26. 2008
ABA Rating: Not yet rated
Ed uca tion:
B.A., University of Notre Dame
M.Sc., London Schoo l of Economics
J.D.. Duke University Law Schoo l
Ca ree r Ifi~hlights : Law Clerk. Judge Walter Stapleton . Third Circuit Court of Appeals
Assistant U S. Attorney. U.S. Att orne y' s Offi ce for the District of Delaware
U s. Attorney, U.S. Attorney' s Office for the District of Dela ware
It is my hope that we can work together to ensure that a ll of these nominees receive timely
hearings and prompt votes in the Committee.
In light of my extensive co nsultation with you in sched uling the heari ngs for Chief Justice
Robert s and Justice Alito. as well as our collaborat ion on numerous other Committee hearings. I was
surprised when yo u sc hed uled a hearing for Judge Catharina Haynes on February 2 I 5t during the
rece ss. I know you offered to postpon e that hearing for a relatively briefpcriod of time. but a formal,
written request for a postpo nement would only have pro vided more grist for the arg ument mill on these
issues. I was prepared to cancel my previously sched uled work in Pennsylvania to attend the Haynes
hearing until Senator John Warner. who was in Washington. agreed to attend.
Given the uncertainty of who the next President will be, now wou ld be a good time to change
the con linna tion process to guarantee prompt action o n nom inees with up-or-down votes. I aga in urge
you to work with me to establish a schedule for prom pt co nsideration of all currentl y pendi ng judicial
nom inees and ensure they rece ive up-or-d own votes in Committee and on the Senate floor. I have
shared this letter with the other Republi can members of the Co mmittee.

Arlen Specter

Senator Ed ward Kennedy
Senator Joseph Biden
Senator Herb Kohl
Senator Dianne Feinste in
Senator Russell Feingo ld
Senat or Charles Schumer
Senator Richard Durbin
Senator Benjamin Cardin
Senator Sheldo n Whitehouse

Senator Orrin G. Hatch
Senator Charles E. Grassley
Senator Jon Kyl
Senato r Jeff Sessions
Senato r Lindsey Graham
Senator John Ccmyn
Senator Sam Brownback
Senator Tom Coburn