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Barrett, Kirsch scheduled for judiciary committee vote

September 27, 2017

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary is scheduled to vote Thursday on Amy Coney Barrett, the nominee to the Indiana seat on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on Thomas L. Kirsch II, the nominee for U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, but tradition will likely intervene and cause a delay at least for the judgeship.

Barrett, a professor at Notre Dame Law School, was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill retired Judge John Tinder’s seat on the Chicago appellate court. During her hearing before the judiciary committee Sept. 6, Democrats strongly opposed her nomination, repeatedly questioning how much her religious beliefs would influence her judicial decisions.

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave a favorable rating to Barrett. A majority of the committee rated her as “well-qualified” while a minority found her to be “qualified.”

The Senate judiciary committee is scheduled to convene at 9: 30 a.m. Thursday to vote on 11 nominees, including Barrett and Joan Louise Larsen, the nominee for the U.S. Judge for the 6th Circuit. Kirsch is one of five U.S. attorney nominees to be considered.

However, Democrats are expected to ask the vote on the judicial nominees be held over until next week. Kirsch and the other U.S. attorney candidates are expected to get approval on a voice vote Thursday, as Joshua Minkler, nominee for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, did on Sept. 14.

“I would be extremely surprised if there is any voting on any nominee for judgeship who is listed for the first time,” said Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney and founder of Judging the Environment, a nonprofit with tracks judicial nominations.

Although the Democratic move will be a little tit for tat since the Republican committee members routinely asked for delays when considering President Barack Obama’s nominees, Sugameli noted there could be valid reasons for putting off the vote for one week. In particular, the committee members could still be reviewing the written responses the nominees provided to the follow-up questions or the members might want more complete answers.

Barrett will not need any Democratic votes to carry her out of committee or get confirmed by the full Senate.

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