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  • January 25, 2010

    Kohl, Feingold forward four names to President Obama for Seventh Circuit

    Adam Korbitz

    Jan. 25, 2010 – Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold have forwarded four names to President Barack Obama for his consideration in filling the seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals currently held by Judge Terence T. Evans, who is taking senior status.

    The four individuals Kohl and Feingold recommended to President Obama on Jan. 22 are Lynn S. Adelman, Victoria F. Nourse, Richard J. Sankovitz and Dean A. Strang.

    President Obama’s eventual nominee for the position will have to be confirmed by the entire United States Senate. Both Senators Kohl and Feingold serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings on the president’s nominee.

    Kohl and Feingold narrowed a list of six names that the Federal Nominating Commission forwarded to them last year last year for the Seventh Circuit position.

    Also last week, President Obama resubmitted to the Senate his nomination of former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler to fill the seat of retired Judge John Shabaz in the Western District of Wisconsin. Butler was one of seven presidential nominees who did not obtain Senate approval before that house adjourned for the year in December 2009. President Obama nominated Butler for the position in October 2009 and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination last month.

    Commission membership and activities in 2009

    In August 2009, Kohl and Feingold  activated  the Federal Nomination Commission to fill the Seventh Circuit seat after Judge Evans  announced  that he would be taking senior status this month. In Sept. 2009, the commission issued a call for applications and 11 individuals applied. On Nov. 16, 2009, the commission  released  its list of six recommended candidates for that position.

    University of Wisconsin Law School Dean  Kenneth Davis chaired the commission for the Seventh Circuit position.

    Pursuant to the commission’s  charter, Kohl appointed four attorneys the commission: Stephen Glynn and Nathan Fishbach, both of Milwaukee, Christine Bremer Muggli, of Wausau, and Michelle Behnke, of Madison. Feingold also appointed four attorneys: Ken Calewarts of Green Bay, Chuck Curtis of Madison, Peg Lautenschlager of Fond du Lac, and Harvey Temkin of Madison.

    The commission was rounded out by attorneys Susan Hansen of Milwaukee and Thomas Sleik of La Crosse, both appointed by Diane Diel, who at the time of the appointments was serving as president of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

    The State Bar’s government relations  team provided staff support for the commission.

    In addition to the Seventh Circuit seat, the commission last year  recommended candidates  for four other vacant federal positions subject to presidential appointment, including two judicial seats in the Western District of Wisconsin formerly held by Judge Barbara Crabb, who is taking senior status, and Judge John Shabaz, who has retired. The commission also recommended candidates for the U.S. attorney positions for both the Western and Eastern districts of Wisconsin.

    Commission history

    The Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission has been making recommendations to Wisconsin’s United States senators since 1979.

    According to Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint" federal judges. The president also appoints United States attorneys. By tradition, the president defers to the recommendations of the home state’s U.S. senators for these positions.

    In 1979, Wisconsin’s two United States senators, William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson, established the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, a tradition that has continued to the present day under Kohl and Feingold. Democratic and Republican senators have used the commission for every federal judicial and U.S. attorney vacancy in the past 30 years, under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

    By Adam Korbitz, Government Relations Coordinator, State Bar of Wisconsin

    Related articles:

    Senate Judiciary Committee recommends approval of Conley nomination  - December 15, 2009

    President nominates James Santelle as U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Wisconsin  – Dec. 1, 2009
    Federal Nominating Commission concludes busy year  – Nov. 16, 2009
    Commission makes recommendations for United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit  – Nov. 16, 2009
    Federal Nominating Commission receives 11 applications for vacancy on Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit  – Sept. 29, 2009
    Federal Nominating Commission seeks applicants for vacancy on Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit  – Sept. 1, 2009
    Kohl, Feingold announce activation of Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission  – Aug. 6, 2009


    Rotunda Report is the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Government Relations e-newsletter that highlights legislative, judicial, and administrative developments that impact the legal profession and the justice system. It is published twice a month and is distributed free to attorneys, public officials and others who help shape public policy in Wisconsin. We invite your suggestions to make the Rotunda Report more informative and useful and we encourage you to visit our Web site for the most current information about justice-related issues.

    © 2009, State Bar of Wisconsin

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