3rd Circuit Nominee a Surprise

  • Print.

One of President Bush’s four recent nominees to federal appeals courts faces an uphill battle because of concerns expressed by two Democratic home-state senators.

Bush nominated Shalom Stone to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals without input from New Jersey’s senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Law Journal reports. Stone, a partner at Walder, Hayden & Brogan in Roseland, N.J., is a member of the conservative Federalist Society.

The senators were taken by surprise after they had approved U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman for the spot. Hillman, the lead prosecutor in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, could have been subjected to questions about how the Department of Justice selected corruption matters for prosecution, the legal newspaper says.

Spokesmen for the two senators expressed concerns about the nomination.

“We are seriously concerned both with the manner in which the previous, consensus nominee was withdrawn and with the uncooperative and unilateral manner in which the new nomination was made,” Menendez spokesman Afshin Mohamadi told The Hill in an e-mail.

Dan Katz, the chief of staff to Lautenberg, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that before Stone’s nomination, the White House had worked with the state’s senators to select judges. Katz said they will examine Stone’s record and qualifications, but “given the way the president has moved forward on this nomination without consultation,” they remain “skeptical” that this was a good-faith effort to pick a judge.

A White House press release says Stone has represented clients ranging from the Discovery Channel and Film Garden Entertainment to individual criminal defendants. He would fill Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s seat on the Philadelphia-based appeals court.

Other nominees announced on Tuesday are:

–Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad Jr. of North Carolina for the 4th Circuit. Bush had previously nominated U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle to the seat, according to the Wilmington Star.

–Former state court judge Catharina Haynes of Texas for the 5th Circuit. A Dallas Bar Association profile noted she was a Florida transplant who came to Dallas “looking for a place where a person could succeed or fail on her own merits.”

–U.S. District Judge John Tinder of Indiana for the 7th Circuit. The judge told the blog Underneath Their Robes in 2005 that one of the things he likes least about his job are rude lawyers. “Some (fortunately, a small number) can be, simply put, jerks. Given the opportunity to be kind, considerate, fair and efficient or mean, rude, overreaching and sloppy, this small crowd will often choose the dark side,” he said.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.