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Vote expected on Indiana federal magistrate

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A U.S. Senate committee is expected to discuss and vote Thursday on an Indianapolis federal magistrate judge's nomination for a judgeship in the Southern District of Indiana.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will conduct an executive business meeting at 10 a.m. to discuss several nominations, including that of U.S. Magistrate Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson for an Article III judgeship.

President Barack Obama nominated Magistrate Judge Magnus-Stinson in mid-January, along with Marion Superior Judge Tanya Walton Pratt for a second vacancy in the Southern District and Munster attorney Jon DeGuilio for a Northern District of Indiana opening.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Judge Pratt and DeGuilio March 4. They've been listed on the Senate's calendar, but no time is scheduled for senators to discuss and vote on them.

Senators held off discussion and voting March 4 on Magistrate Magnus-Stinson's nomination because ranking Republican member Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama wanted to personally follow up with her before voting.

Stephen Miller, a spokesperson for Sessions, told Indiana Lawyer that the senator had received a response from Magistrate Judge Magnus-Stinson late the night before about questions following her Feb. 11 nomination hearing, and he wanted to meet with her again. The two met Monday, but Miller declined to elaborate on that meeting. However, the online response from Magistrate Judge Magnus-Stinson shows the senator had concerns about her handling of capital cases, the death penalty, and recusal issues she's faced in the past.

If approved by the committee and confirmed by the full senate, Magistrate Magnus-Stinson would take the seat vacated by U.S. Judge Larry McKinney, who took senior status in July 2009. She is listed first on the Senate Judiciary's meeting agenda, and the hearing will be broadcast live on the Senate's Web site.

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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

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