Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Hearing today for seat on court

Dems, GOP battle on 6th Circuit post

The Associated Press

A U.S. Senate hearing is scheduled today for a Michigan appeals court judge whom President Bush has nominated for a seat on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is to hear testimony from Michigan Appeals Judge Henry W. Saad, 55, of Bloomfield Hills, a nominee for the federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

If confirmed by the Senate, he would fill one of four vacancies on the 16-member court. The four vacancies all are for nominees from Michigan. The court also serves Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Opposition from Michigan Democratic U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow has blocked a hearing until now.

The vacancies "delay the definitive decision for Michigan residents and residents of the Midwest, businesses and individuals," Douglas Koopman, professor of political science at Calvin College, told the Detroit News.

The stalemate over who should be appointed to the bench prompted Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, last week to call for the hearing.

Breach of etiquette

Democrats said Hatch's decision was a major breach of Senate tradition and etiquette because it was called over the objections of both home-state senators.

A spokesman for Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said the decision was a "truly significant change."

It was "an arrogant action ... on behalf of the White House," David Carle told the Detroit Free Press.

Stabenow said she would prefer a bipartisan solution to the judicial deadlock.

Levin and Stabenow have blocked hearings on Bush's four nominees, citing Senate Republicans' refusal to grant hearings to two of President Clinton's 6th Circuit nominees.

The other Bush nominees are Lansing U.S District Judge David McKeague, Wayne County Circuit Judge Susan Neilson and state Appeals Judge Richard Griffin.

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