Latest | News

Five Judicial Nominees and One Would-be Ambassador Are Now in Limbo

All five of Georgia’s federal judicial nominees are in limbo after their nominations expired at the end of the 2017 U.S. Congressional session without confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

A spokeswoman for Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, confirmed that the nominations of Georgia Court of Appeals Judges Elizabeth “Lisa” Branch and William Ray II to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, respectively, have expired because they were not confirmed by a vote of the full Senate before Congress adjourned for the year. But the spokeswoman said that Perdue—who introduced the nominees at their confirmation hearings—still supports them, should the White House renominate them for the posts.

The nominations of Alston & Bird partner Michael L. Brown  for a federal judgeship in Atlanta and Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Tilman “Tripp” Self for one in Georgia’s Middle District in Macon also stalled after they were sent to the full Senate for a final vote, according to the website. The nomination of U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Stan Baker to a judicial seat in the Southern District of Georgia never made it out of committee. Those nominations also expired when Congress adjourned for the year.

The nomination of Dentons partner J. Randolph “Randy” Evans as ambassador to Luxembourg also has expired because the lawyer’s nomination was not voted on by the full Senate before it adjourned for the year.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, said that while Isakson was pleased that the Senate approved the state’s three newly-appointed U.S. attorneys,  Democrats “did all they could to obstruct the Senate confirmation process.” Isakson, she said, will work to insure that the Trump nominees are confirmed this year.

Branch testified Dec. 13 at a confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. President Donald Trump nominated her in September to fill an open slot on the Eleventh Circuit that became vacant when Judge Frank Hull, after two decades on the federal appellate bench, decided to take senior status. The committee did not vote to send Branch’s nomination to the Senate floor for a vote before Congress adjourned for the year.