Following the confirmations of Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard as the sixth and seventh women to sit on the D.C. Circuit this week, yesterday the Senate confirmed three women who will become the first female judges in their respective district courts: Elizabeth Wolford (Western District of New York); Landya McCafferty (District of New Hampshire); and Susan Watters (District of Montana). Read more »
Today, the Senate will vote on the nomination of Patricia Millett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She is the first of the three exceptionally qualified individuals nominated to this important court back in June to receive an up-or-down vote before the full Senate. Read more »
Today, the Senate will vote on whether the Honorable Robert Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will receive an up-or-down vote on his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Judge Wilkins is the third of three recent outstanding nominees to be considered by the full Senate. Both prior nominees—Patricia Millett and Professor Cornelia (“Nina”) Pillard—were filibustered.
Judge Wilkins is exceedingly well-qualified to serve on the D.C. Circuit. He graduated from Harvard Law School and then clerked for the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Judge Wilkins subsequently joined D.C.’s Public Defender Service (“PDS”), widely considered one of the best in the country, where he served first as a staff attorney, and later as head of the Special Litigation division. Read more »
Yesterday, Senator Harry Reid filed for cloture, requiring the Senate to vote on whether or not to give the Honorable Robert Wilkins for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the third out of three outstanding recent nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the District of Columbia Circuit, an up-or-down vote. This petition follows the filibuster of the two previous nominees: Patricia Millett, a nationally renowned appellate litigator with 32 Supreme Court arguments to her name, and Professor Cornelia (“Nina”) Pillard, who briefed the historic case resulting in gender integration at the Virginia Military Institute. Judge Wilkins is similarly brilliant and pathbreaking, having served with distinction on the bench, as a civic leader, a law firm partner, a public defender, and the lead plaintiff in a historic civil rights suit. Read more »
Today, the Senate is scheduled to decide whether Nina Pillard, the second of three outstanding nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals to the District of Columbia Circuit pending in the Senate, should get a confirmation vote. Nina Pillard is unquestionably qualified for the federal bench: she is a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center with significant litigation experience, including having written the winning briefs that persuaded the Supreme Court to open the Virginia Military Institute to women in 1997 and convincing the Court to extend the full protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to state workers in 2003. As her colleague Viet Dinh — who argued the 2003 FMLA case on the same side, on behalf of the Bush Administration — wrote [PDF], Professor Pillard is "exceptionally bright, a patient and unbiased listener, and a lawyer of great judgment and unquestioned integrity."
But this vote follows on the heels of the filibuster of the first of the three pending D.C. Circuit nominees, Patricia Millett — and seven months after the filibuster of another highly qualified woman nominated to the same court, Caitlin Halligan, who has since withdrawn her nomination. It is shameful that a minority of the Senate would refuse to even hold a confirmation vote on three tremendously qualified female nominees, to a court on which only five women have served in the past 120 years. And it's even more shameful that the pretext for doing so is the specious assertion that the D.C. Circuit — with its docket of complex administrative appeals and nationally important cases — really does not need to fill the three current vacancies. As those wiser than I have written before, this argument doesn't pass the laugh test. Read more »