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Senate panel sets hearing on Wilkins' nomination to D.C. Circuit for next week

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 6, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Robert Leon Wilkins, one of three nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will testify on Capitol Hill next week.

This week, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee set a hearing on Wilkins' nomination for 10 a.m. Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island, will preside over the hearing.

Wilkins, along with Cornelia "Nina" Pillard and Patricia Millett, were nominated to the federal appeals court by President Barack Obama in June.

Millett's hearing, held earlier in July, went fairly smoothly by all accounts.

According to reports, there was no criticism of Millett herself -- even Republicans noted she had strong credentials -- only of the D.C. Circuit and Obama's plan to "pack" the court.

Pillard's hearing, held weeks later, did not go as well.

GOP senators reportedly grilled the nominee, taking aim at her academic writings because of her lack of judicial experience.

Millett made it through the judiciary committee last month.

In a roll call vote held Aug. 1, committee members sent Millett's nomination to the full Senate. The 10-8 vote was along party lines, with all GOP senators voting against her nomination.

Currently, there are three vacancies on the 11-member court.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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