The most important judicial nominee you never heard of is on ice

William A. Jacobson
Legal Insurrection

I previously posted about John “Jack” McConnell, Jr., a major Democratic Party campaign donor who had been nominated by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) to an open seat on the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island.

McConnell was a controversial nominee not only because he donated several hundred thousand dollars to Democrats, but also because he received a mediocre rating from the American Bar Association and questions had been raised about his handling of a mass tort lead paint suit in Rhode Island.

I wondered, Will Obama Really Fight For This Judicial Nominee?

Apparently not, according to The Providence Journal:

John J. McConnell Jr.’s nomination to the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island has been returned to the White House for resubmission by President Obama — a time-consuming setback that underlines the strong Republican opposition to seating the prominent trial lawyer and Democratic campaign donor on the federal bench….

As it cleared the decks for its summer recess Thursday night, the Senate accepted without dissent a bipartisan deal to confirm more than 50 of Mr. Obama’s nominations, including 4 judgeships (besides his second Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan).

Senators also agreed unanimously to let more than 40 pending judicial nominations remain on the calendar for full Senate action after the recess ends in September. That was a routine waiver of a rule that says nominations that have not been voted before a major recess must be dropped from the calendar and returned to the president.

Excluded from that deal were the nominations of McConnell and four other judicial prospects who have attracted GOP opposition.

Don’t think District Court nominations are important or worth fighting over?

Then you haven’t been paying attention.

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