Ong still has path to Southern District seat

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

With Republicans set to control the White House, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the fate of Indiana’s judicial nominees to the federal bench is even more uncertain.

Winfield Ong and Myra Selby were nominated in January by President Barack Obama to fill vacancies in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively.

Ong, chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, received support from both Indiana Sens. Joe Donnelly, Democrat, and Dan Coats, Republican, and gained unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, but he is still waiting for a vote by the full Senate. Selby, partner at Ice Miler LLP and former justice on the Indiana Supreme Court, has only gotten support from Donnelly and has not had a committee hearing.

Glenn Sugameli, attorney and founder of the nonprofit judicial watchdog group, Judging the Environment, said Ong still could get a confirmation vote before the end of the year but the prospects for Selby are now much dimmer.

Selby’s nomination has been hindered by Coats’ refusal to sign his blue slip in support. Instead the Senator has called for the formation of a nominating commission to recommend potential candidates because the vacancy on the 7th Circuit has not been deemed an emergency.

The vacancy in the Southern Indiana District, created when Judge Sarah Evans Barker took senior status in June 2014, has been designated a judicial emergency because of the high caseload. In applauding Ong’s nomination, Coats has cited the emergency as the key reason for his support.

“If Coats really wants Ong, I think he certainly could get it done,” Sugameli said, “and I think he should get it done because of the strong need to fill the judicial emergency.”

Possibly helping Ong is a push by other Republican senators from other states to get their nominees confirmed. Traditionally, the Senate has voted on judicial candidates in the order in which they are approved by the judiciary committee. With nominees for district court vacancies in Republican strongholds of Idaho and Texas being sent to the upper chamber’s floor after Ong, the pressure for confirmation of these nominees could cause the Senate to hold a vote for the Hoosier.

The prospects for the nominee for the Wisconsin vacancy on the 7th Circuit, Donald Schott, is also very unclear. Although the Quarles & Brady partner has the support of the home state Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, who won re-election last night, he did not get unanimous support from the Judiciary Committee. After his hearing in June, the committee voted 13-7 to send his nomination to the Senate.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

  2. The Indiana DOE released the 2015-2016 school grades in Dec 2016 and my local elementary school is a "C" grade school. Look at the MCCSC boundary maps and how all of the most affluent neighborhoods have the best performance. It is no surprise that obtaining residency in the "A" school boundaries cost 1.5 to 3 times as much. As a parent I should have more options than my "C" school without needing to pay the premium to live in the affluent parts of town. If the charter were authorized by a non-religious school the plaintiffs would still be against it because it would still be taking per-pupil money from them. They are hiding behind the guise of religion as a basis for their argument when this is clearly all about money and nothing else.

  3. This is a horrible headline. The article is about challenging the ability of Grace College to serve as an authorizer. 7 Oaks is not a religiously affiliated school

  4. Congratulations to Judge Carmichael for making it to the final three! She is an outstanding Judge and the people of Indiana will benefit tremendously if/when she is chosen.

  5. The headline change to from "religious" to "religious-affiliated" is still inaccurate and terribly misleading.