The U.S. Senate, after months of delay, has finally taken up the confirmation of Circuit Judge Jay Moody for a federal district court judgeship. He will be approved by the Democratic majority, with at least one Republican vote, Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas.
A Senate majority voted to overcome a Republican procedural block to the nomination last night.
Thanks to Glenn Sugameli, who follows judicial nominations for the Judging the Environment judicial nomination project, for remarks from Sen. Mark Pryor during the debate on Moody’s otherwise non-controversial appointment by President Obama:
“Today I rise to support the nomination of Judge James Moody, who in Arkansas we call J. Moody, to be the federal judge from the eastern district of Arkansas. Jay has been a phenomenal judge and lawyer for a long time in Arkansas, and one of the things that this nomination illustrates to me – and I think also brings home to people around the country – is that this body should not play games with the third branch of government.”
UPDATE: The confirmation vote was 95-4. Which REALLY makes the Republican obstructionism clear. Commented Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who follows the judicial confirmation process:
87-4 cloture vote shows how absurd the process has become.. It is especially absurd with Moody, who is highly qualified and a consensus nominee with strong Senate Judiciary Committee support and that of Republican and Democratic Arkansas senators. The GOP recalcitrance only injures the Arkansas federal judges and litigants in federal court.
Moody will follow his father to a seat on the bench, though his elevation required the full retirement of his father, Judge Jim Moody. He is taking the seat by Judge Susan Webber Wright, who took senior status, a form or retirement.
Timothy Brooks of Fayetteville is also scheduled for a vote soon on confirmation to a western district judgeship.
Moody’s confirmation clears a path for candidates hoping to win his circuit court judgeship this year. Cathi Compton has already filed. Luther Sutter had announced for the position earlier, but I’ve been told that he wanted to oppose Moody and that he might not file to oppose Compton. UPDATE: Sutter confirms he is not running for the seat. Ernest Sanders Jr., who served a period as judge by appointment, also has expressed in interest in the race.