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Snow impacting Indiana nomination hearings

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If snow doesn't get in the way, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee may discuss on Thursday morning three Indiana federal judicial nominees and the long-delayed nomination of a Bloomington law professor for the Department of Justice.

Committee members are set to meet at 10 a.m. on pending executive branch nominations, including the controversial choice of Dawn Johnsen to lead the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel. The president tapped her in early 2009, but after a year of delay she is now going through the confirmation process again from the start. Her nomination was set for discussion a week ago, but senators left a meeting before her vote and postponed it. She is first on the agenda for this week.

Committee members are scheduled to begin discussions at 11:30 a.m. on six judicial nominations - including Jon DeGuilio for the Northern District of Indiana, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson and Marion Superior Judge Tanya Walton Pratt for two Southern District of Indiana openings. The White House announced the trio's nominations on Jan. 18.

The judiciary committee had planned to meet at 4 p.m. today on the judicial nominations, but the continuing snow emergency in Washington, D.C., cancelled the meeting. Both the Senate and House of Representatives have suspended votes this week because of the massive snowstorm hitting the district, which not only caused many national landmarks and federal government closings but is also creating problems for legislators trying to get to the area from their home districts.

The weather could cause even more delays and postponements on Thursday if the Senate Judiciary Committee can't get a quorum for the meeting, according to Erica Chabot, spokeswoman for committee chair Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. But by early afternoon today, the meeting was still expected to happen, she said. If it happens, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will preside.

If the nominations aren't discussed this week, legislators won't get to them until after the weeklong Presidents Day break that begins Monday. Some have speculated that President Barack Obama could make some recess appointments to get around the Senate confirmation hearings temporarily, but it's unclear whether that would happen or which nominees might be considered.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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