U.S. Senate to vote on W.Va. attorney's nomination to Fourth Circuit

Jessica M. Karmasek Apr. 2, 2012, 9:20am




WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Senate agreed last week to consider the nomination of West Virginia attorney Stephanie Thacker to a federal appeals court later this month.

In a floor update, posted late Thursday, Democrats announced that Thacker's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will be considered at 4:30 p.m. April 16.

The Senate will proceed to an executive session to consider Thacker's nomination, with 60 minutes for debate, equally divided.

Afterwards, there will be a roll call vote on her confirmation.

Thacker was nominated by President Barack Obama in September to serve as a judge on the Fourth Circuit. She would replace Judge M. Blane Michael, who died earlier this year. Michael had held the position since 1993.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in November approved Thacker's nomination to the federal appeals court.

Thacker has since waited several months to be confirmed by the full Senate -- much like fellow West Virginian Gina Groh, whose own nomination was finally confirmed last month.

Groh, a Berkeley circuit judge, was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

On March 15, in a roll call vote, her nomination to the federal district court was confirmed overwhelmingly, 95-2.

Groh will fill the vacancy left by the 2006 death of Judge Craig Broadwater.

Groh, who was nominated by Obama last May, waited nearly five months to be confirmed.

Her nomination was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a unanimous, bipartisan vote in October, but, like many other judicial nominations, was held up due to party politics.

Some GOP senators were still fuming over Obama's decision in January to make a controversial recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to the post of director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul and is tasked with regulating consumer financial products.

Democrats, including Obama, argued Republicans were "stonewalling" Cordray's nomination.

So, the president went ahead and appointed Cordray. In turn, some Republican senators threatened to hold up Obama's nominations.

However, in the days leading up to Groh's confirmation, senators came to an agreement to work to confirm 14 judicial nominees by May 7.

That means two to three confirmation votes will be held a week while the Senate is in session.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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