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Senate Judiciary holds nomination hearing

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A busy Congressional calendar has caused the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to move its nomination hearing to a room without cameras, which leaves Indiana's legal community in the dark about an Indianapolis-based federal judge's nomination for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The nomination hearing began about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton of the Southern District of Indiana, who's being considered for the Chicago-based appellate bench.

Normally, the hearing would have been broadcast live online, but the committee changed location just before the meeting to be closer to the Senate floor for a series of important budget votes expected during the nomination hearing, according to Erica Chabot, press secretary for committee chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. That meant moving to a room without any cameras, she said.

Judge Hamilton began his opening remarks following introductions about 3:10 p.m., according to Chabot, and he'd taken questions from three senators in the first 15 minutes of speaking to the committee, including how he would recuse himself from cases.

At the start of the hearing, Leahy pointed to Judge Hamilton's nomination earning support from across the political spectrum - including both of Indiana's senators, but also from within the state's own legal community.

"The President of the Indianapolis Lawyers Chapter of the conservative Federalist Society, Geoffrey Slaughter, who two months ago invited Judge Hamilton to speak before the conservative group, called him 'an excellent jurist with a first-rate intellect,' and described his judicial philosophy as 'well within the mainstream, between the 30-yard lines,'" Leahy's written statement says.

President Barack Obama nominated Judge Hamilton for the post March 17. This hearing is one step in the overall confirmation process, and the judge would still need confirmation by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. If confirmed, he would replace Judge Kenneth Ripple who took senior status in September 2008.

The most current coverage of the nomination hearing can be found at the Indiana Lawyer Web site, and an in-depth story on Judge Hamilton can be found in the April 1-14, 2009, issue of Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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