Judiciary

Obama Nominates ERISA Expert, Federal Judge for 6th and 3rd Circuits


Corrected: President Obama has nominated a lawyer known for her ERISA expertise and a federal judge from Pennsylvania for spots on two federal appeals courts.

Jane Stranch, a labor and ERISA expert at the Nashville law firm Branstetter, Stranch and Jennings, was nominated for the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnatti, according to the Boston Globe blog Political Intelligence. A substantial majority of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary gave Stranch a rating of qualified, while a minority rated her well-qualified, according to a list of ratings (PDF) published by the standing committee.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Vanaskie of Scranton, Pa., appointed to the bench by President Clinton, was nominated for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Philadelphia. Vanaskie had worked with the father of Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey at the law firm of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish and Kauffman, the Standard Speaker reports. Robert Casey Sr. went on to become governor of Pennsylvania. The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary rated Vanaskie well-qualified.

Obama also nominated three lawyers to be federal judges in California. They are U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California; Dolly Gee, managing partner in the Los Angeles law firm Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers; and U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California. The ABA Standing Committee gave Chen and Seeborg ratings of well-qualified, and Gee a rating of qualified.

Gee would become the first Asian-American woman in California’s Central District, and Chen would be the first Asian-American judge in the San Francisco area, according to the blog.

The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times also has a story on the nominations.

Updated at 7:22 p.m. to correct the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary ratings/i>.

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