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Rare second hearing set for judge's nomination

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In an unusual move, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a second judicial nomination hearing next week for U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton, who's being considered for a seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

That nomination hearing is set for 2 p.m. April 29 and is expected to be broadcast live online.

A first hearing happened April 1 just prior to the Senate's two-week break, and the judge answered questions about his 14 years of experience on the federal bench. But some Republicans didn't attend and effectively boycotted the hearing, not necessarily because of any opposition to Judge Hamilton's nomination but because they objected to the "unreasonable pace" at which the panel was vetting what would be the new president's first federal judicial pick.

President Barack Obama nominated Judge Hamilton for the post on March 17, and the first hearing was set about a week later. If he gets approval from committee members, the judge would still need confirmation by the full Senate. If confirmed, he would replace Judge Kenneth Ripple who took senior status in September 2008.

Republican senators have said lawmakers haven't been given enough time to prepare for the hearing. Specifically, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., praised Judge Hamilton's academic and judicial records and said he doesn't necessarily disagree with any of the judge's decisions, but he said more time was needed to review the record - 1,150 written opinions that include 9,500 pages of documents from the judge's tenure on the bench.

Committee Chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and the Democrat-controlled administration have said they're moving quickly in order to foster a bipartisan spirit and set a tone different from the past, when judicial nominations took much longer.

"It has been four weeks since Judge Hamilton first appeared before the committee, and I am disappointed that committee Republicans have yet to ask a single question of this nominee," Leahy said in a statement released Tuesday. "After Judge Hamilton appears again before the committee, I hope Republican members will not further delay our consideration of this qualified judicial nominee."

Judge Hamilton is invited to testify at this second hearing, according to Leahy's statement. The committee plans to also consider the nominations of two others: Thomas E. Perez for assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and Andre Davis for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The hearing will be broadcast live online at the committee's nomination hearing page, and the most current coverage of the nomination process can be found at the Indiana Lawyer Web site at www.theindianalawyer.com.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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