January 29, 2009

Specter to Obama: Renominate Bush Judge Picks

Since the election of President Obama, the Committee for Justice and others have called on the President to renominate some of George W. Bush’s unconfirmed judicial nominees, in order to show bipartisanship and match the similar gesture made by Bush in the first year of his presidency. We’re delighted to see that Sen. Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member and a man who knows a thing or two about bipartisanship, has put his considerable weight behind the suggestion. In a letter to Obama released today, Sen. Specter names three unconfirmed nominees who deserve “particular” consideration. They are Peter Keisler, Judge Glen Conrad, and Judge Paul Diamond, Bush nominees to the D.C., Fourth, and Third Circuits respectively. The full text of the letter is provided below. For one of our previous e-mails on the subject, see here.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

Congratulations on your inauguration. Throughout your campaign, you promised change and pledged to strive for bipartisanship in your administration, and you underscored this commitment to bipartisanship in your inaugural address.

I write to respectfully suggest that, as a sign of bipartisanship, you renominate some of President George W. Bush’s circuit court nominees who were not confirmed prior to the adjournment of the 110th Congress. To do so would echo the bipartisanship President Bush demonstrated when he renominated one of President Clinton’s judicial nominees, Judge Roger Gregory, to a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Several of President Bush’s circuit court nominees had bipartisan support and were not confirmed due to asserted time constraints. I believe these nominees in particular deserve your consideration. Mr. Peter Keisler, nominee to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, had bipartisan support and garnered praise from across the country, including the editorial boards of The L.A. Times and The Washington Post. In addition, Judge Paul Diamond, nominee to the Third Circuit, and Judge Glen Conrad, nominee to the Fourth Circuit, had bipartisan support, including the support of their Democratic home state Senators. All three nominees were rated “well qualified” by the nonpartisan American Bar Association and would be excellent candidates for renomination.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to working with you.

Arlen Specter