There is nothing unusual about the 112th Congress holding over judicial nominations the first time they are brought up in an executive business meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. They have done so with every one so far this year, but the nomination of Monroe County District Attorney Michael C. Green, a Democrat, was specifically singled out Thursday by the committee’s ranking Republican.
After Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., announced the four judicial nominees would be held over at the request of the Republicans, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, specifically mentioned Green’s nomination and said “we need to have further discussions before we move forward with that nominee.”
Grassley’s office did not respond to a request to elaborate. Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who recommended Green’s nomination to President Barack Obama and has supported it along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, issued the following statement.
“Given his extensive experience, even-handedness and intellect, District Attorney Green will make an excellent federal judge and we look forward to having his nomination approved by the committee in short order,” wrote Schumer who is a member of the committee.
The committee is scheduled to meet again June 16.
Green had no comment. He appeared before the committee May 24 for a nomination hearing and has since responded in writing to several questions from Grassley and Sen. Thomas A. Coburn, R-Okla.
“It is extremely unusual for a district court nominee with home-state-senator support like Green to be held up in committee,” said Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney for Judging the Environment, who has headed its federal judicial nominations project since 2001. “It would be very unusual for a district court nominee like Mike Green, who is supported by both home-state senators to be delayed beyond the next Senate Judiciary meeting, which is what Sen. Grassley seemed to be suggesting this morning.”
Sugameli said GOP senators have been holding over every Obama judicial nominee once until the committee’s subsequent executive business meeting, which, “as Sen. Leahy says, is their right, but which Democratic senators did not do to President George W. Bush’s non-controversial judicial nominees.”
Green was nominated by Obama Jan. 26 for a judgeship in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York to eventually replace U.S. District Court Judge David G. Larimer who assumed senior status in March 2009, but continues to work full time.