Contrary to reports yesterday, I’ve received indications from two sources that the federal review process has been continuing for Susan Hickey of El Dorado, the long-time clerk to federal Judge Harry Barnes, as a candidate for nomination to succeed him as a federal district judge. Barnes has taken senior status, a form of retirement. The two other candidates recommended by Arkansas senators, a Texas magistrate and a Texarkana lawyer, have withdrawn from consideration.

The presumption this week was that Hickey was no longer a candidate for the federal judgeship because she was appointed last week to fill an interim vacancy as a state circuit judge in El Dorado. But perhaps not if her vetting indeed continues. The state appointment lasts only through 2012. It could be viewed as enhancing her credentials for the federal position.


We’ll know when we know. The one thing that remains certain is that the Obama administration isn’t moving aggressively enough on filling judicial vacancies.