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Senators still stalling judge's Circuit nomination

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An Indianapolis judge's potential elevation to the federal appeals bench remains controversial even as the full U.S. Senate inches closer to voting on his nomination in the next week.

As legislators prepared to confirm another federal judge's nomination Monday, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he hopes to have a vote on U.S. Judge David F. Hamilton's move to the 7th Circuit on the morning of Nov. 16. Judge Hamilton currently sits on the Southern District of Indiana's bench as chief judge.

The Republican minority wants 30 hours of debate on the judge's nomination, according to Reid, who said Democratic leaders might be forced to cut debate in order to bring a vote to the full legislative body.

Reid said he hopes to reach an agreement with the Republicans on the $134 million military construction legislation. Those negotiations could impact the discussion on Judge Hamilton's vote, and Reid said it would be a shame to invoke the debate-ending procedural move known as cloture.

But it's important to hold confirmation votes for the judicial vacancies soon, before the Senate turns to the sweeping health-care reform legislation before leaving for its Thanksgiving break the following week, Reid said.

His office confirmed this morning that a cloture motion on Judge Hamilton's nomination would likely be filed today, before senators leave for a three-day Veteran's Day break.

Judge Hamilton has been on the District bench since 1994. If confirmed, he would succeed Circuit Judge Kenneth Ripple, who took senior status in September 2008.

President Barack Obama nominated Judge Hamilton in February - the new president's first judicial pick. Though the judge made it through the Senate Judicial Committee in June, he's faced five months of delay as Republican members used rules to hold up a vote before the full Senate.

Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., appeared before the Senate Monday and blasted Republicans for stalling action on Obama's judicial picks, noting that 10 judicial nominees are pending on the calendar and only a few have been confirmed at this point.

"The obstruction and delays in considering President Obama's judicial nominations is especially disappointing given the extensive efforts by President Obama to turn away from the divisive approach taken by the previous administration and to reach out to Senators from both parties as he selects mainstream, well-qualified nominees," Leahy said in a floor statement.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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