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Update: Confirmation doesn't stop court business

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2008
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Business is going on as usual this morning for the U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, despite a historic moment that's happened in the court.

The U.S. Senate voted unanimously about 5 p.m. Thursday to confirm Magistrate Judge William T. Lawrence as a federal judge, meaning he'll be the Southern District's first-ever magistrate to be elevated to the constitutionally established Article III judge status.

Senators took a break from discussion on wiretapping to talk about judicial nominations, and held a roll-call vote at 4:35 p.m. that took about 30 minutes. The vote: 97-0.

President George W. Bush had selected Lawrence in February to succeed Judge John D. Tinder, whom the Senate confirmed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals late last year. Lawrence won unanimous consent from the Senate Judiciary Committee May 22.

On Thursday, the Senate's floor vote played out on C-Span 2 for anyone able to watch.

Sen. Richard Lugar, who'd recommended Magistrate Lawrence, read a statement prior to the vote, saying the jurist possessed the same degree of integrity and intelligence as his predecessor, Judge Tinder, and was an example of the strong judicial leader needed for this position. The senator mentioned Magistrate Lawrence's background before taking the federal bench in 2002 - his work as a public defender and his time on the Marion Circuit Court, where he reduced pending cases by 20 percent within a few years of taking the bench.

"Throughout Bill's career, his reputation for personal courtesy, fairness, decency and integrity was equally well-earned and widespread among colleagues and opposing counsel alike and on both sides of the political aisle," Lugar told his fellow senators.

While the newly confirmed judge wasn't immediately available late Thursday or early Friday, Magistrate Lawrence's court staff watched the vote and was able to alert him about the news. He was caught up in settlement conferences until about 6 p.m., and he returned to settlement matters first thing this morning.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker described the confirmation as "an amazing culmination of the suspense," and said she's looking forward to it being official once the president signs off on it.

The process to find a new magistrate for the Southern District has already begun, and applications are due Monday.

 
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  1. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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