What is going on regarding the nomination to fill Judge Bataillon’s spot on the District of Nebraska?

In October of 2014, Senior United States District Judge Joe Bataillon, following the tradition in this district, took senior status soon after he was eligible. See here. More than a year before, and on September 23, 2013, he gave advance notice of his intention. See here.

The two Republican Senators from Nebraska then conducted interviews of those interested in filling the spot. Those who were interviewed included lawyers who belonged to the Democratic Party and those who belonged to the Republican Party.

On August 18, 2014, the Senators sent their recommendation to the White House. They suggested Bob Rossiter*, a nominal Republican, who is supremely well qualified by any measure. For example, as I wrote last year after hearing of the Senators’ recommendation:

Rossiter is 58 years old. He graduated from the Creighton Law School with honors. He was the Executive Editor of the law review. He served as a law clerk to a federal trial judge (Judge Beam, who is now a senior Circuit judge). He is the only lawyer in Nebraska who is both a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (State chair 2012-2014) and the American College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He has tons of federal trial experience. He is highly regarded by his peers. He was elected and served as the Chair of the Nebraska State Bar Association House of Delegates. Recognizing his prior service to the NSBA, Bob has now been selected as President-Elect Designate of the Association.

Rossiter is not an ideologue or a partisan. Moreover, as I wrote last year in August:

Bob’s commitment to his community and church include service as a member of the Board of Directors of Girls Incorporated of Omaha, service as a member of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Omaha, and service as Parish Council President of the St. Wenceslaus Parish.

Id.

I know the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has done its background work because an ABA representative contacted me long ago. There has been more than enough time to conduct an FBI full field investigation and I would be astonished if the White House did not have that in hand by now.

time-passages-imageGiven the present state of affairs in Congress, even if a nomination happened tomorrow, we wouldn’t be looking at a Senate vote anytime soon. For example, let’s take two comparable cases.

Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish, nominated last September by President Obama, with the support of the state’s Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, was confirmed by a vote of 100-0 on May 21, 2015. The same held true for Texas state judge Jose R. Olvera Jr. He was also nominated in September of 2014 and he also had the support his state’s GOP Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. He also had to wait until May 21, 2015 when he was confirmed by a vote of 100 to 0.

What is delaying the nomination of Mr. Rossiter? Surely, it couldn’t be rank partisanship. So, what gives?

RGK

*Open this link with Microsoft Explorer.

PS. I write this post solely on my own without any prodding or suggestion by anyone. I can’t remember the last time I spoke to Mr. Rossiter. In no way, shape or form has this post been generated at the hands of Rossiter, any of his colleagues or, for that matter, by anyone else. There has been no wink. There has been no nod. Besides, I am too old to see those things.

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