The U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary will consider the final nominees for the open seats on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday. Judge Amy St. Eve of the Northern Illinois District Court and Michael Scudder, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, are on the agenda and, based on their committee hearing, do not appear to be facing any stiff opposition.
St. Eve and Scudder were on the Judiciary Committee’s agenda April 12 but, at the request of the Democratic members, the vote was held over until tomorrow. The pair have been nominated to fill the vacant Illinois seats on the appellate court. If approved by the committee, their nominations will proceed to a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
Although candidates for the circuit courts can invoke fierce partisan bickering, St. Eve and Scudder have not incited any fireworks. The American Bar Association has rated St. Eve and Scudder as well-qualified.
They also have the support of Illinois Sens. Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, and their hearing before the judiciary committee hearing was neither confrontational nor controversial.
Conversely, Michael Brennan, the nominee for the Wisconsin seat on the 7th Circuit, received only Republican support in the judiciary committee’s vote on Feb. 15, and has not been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Glenn Sugameli speculated the Republican leadership in the Senate is delaying the vote on Brennan until confirmation is assured. Sugameli is the senior attorney and founder of Judging the Environment, a nonprofit which watches and reviews federal judicial nominations.
With Arizona Sen. John McCain absent from the upper chamber, only one member of the majority party would have to join the Democrats in opposing Brennan and, thus, derail his nomination.
Also waiting for a confirmation vote is Barnes & Thornburg partner James Sweeney II, nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The Judiciary Committee approved his nomination on a voice vote, but no vote has been held in the Senate.