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[US District Judge] Randa, Peterson staying put for now (Conservative Randa rescinded his request)
Wisconsin Law Journal ^ | February 4, 2009 | Jack Zemlicka

Posted on 02/06/2009 12:05:27 PM PST by Red Steel

Commission set to review candidates to replace Shabaz, Biskupic

While the 12 members of the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission will begin the process of recommending candidates for two vacancies, at least one other departure has been delayed indefinitely.

Eastern District Court Chief Judge Rudolph T. Randa recently rescinded his application for senior status and, according to his secretary, will continue to serve as a full-time judge for the time being.

“It’s our understanding that Judge Randa rescinded his request before the end of President Bush’s term, and presidents don’t get to replace [active] judges,” said Zach Lowe, press secretary for Sen. Russ Feingold.

Feingold and Sen. Herb Kohl are both members of the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. They activated the commission to solicit candidates for the judicial vacancy in the Western District and the U.S. attorney vacancy in the Eastern District.

Randa, 68, announced his intention to take senior status in June 2007 contingent on his successor being appointed prior to Bush leaving office. Last July, Bush chose Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Timothy G. Dugan, but the Senate never confirmed him.

Dugan’s nomination expired on Jan. 3 and Randa withdrew his request on Jan. 12. Similarly, Bush selected Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge J. Mac Davis to succeed retired Western District Court Judge John C. Shabaz last September. But the Senate never confirmed Davis, either.

Shabaz officially retired on Jan. 20 and Feingold and Kohl activated the commission to recommend candidates for that vacancy. Davis, who also applied for Randa’s seat, was one of five finalists during the last review process.

Another was Western District U.S. Attorney Erik C. Peterson, who was appointed to the position in 2006. Peterson, who could not be reached for comment, has remained on the job and Lowe said that the commission is not actively seeking applicants for the position. “If and when there is a vacancy in the Western District U.S. Attorney’s office, the commission will be activated for that,” Lowe said. “But it’s really a case-by-case basis.”

In January, Eastern District U.S. Attorney Steven M. Biskupic, who was also appointed by Bush, stepped down because Democratic President Barack Obama has the authority to replace existing U.S. attorneys.

The commission is expected to make four to six recommendations for Biskupic’s successor by March 28, according to Eastern District Commission chair Marquette University Law School Prof. Michael M. O’Hear.

Given that Randa decided not to assume senior status, O’Hear said it is possible some of the candidates interested in that position may now apply for the U.S. Attorney position, but he declined to speculate as to who may seek the job.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle L. Jacobs will serve as acting U.S. attorney until President Obama selects a permanent replacement and that person is confirmed by the Senate.

Shabaz had been on leave for almost a year prior to officially announcing his retirement. In his absence, the Western District court has been using reserve judges.

The commission operates with 11 members in each district, but O’Hear will chair the commission during its search for Biskupic’s replacement, while University of Wisconsin Law School Dean Kenneth B. Davis Jr. will oversee the recommendations for Shabaz’s successor.

Feingold and Kohl each selected four members to the commission, while the State Bar of Wisconsin chose two members. The commission members will serve two-year terms.

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: Wisconsin

1 posted on 02/06/2009 12:05:28 PM PST by Red Steel
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To: Red Steel

Mark Bellings who is filling in for Rush just gave this Judge a big attaboy. He was willing to give up who-knows-how-many years of leisure just to maintain a conservative judicial philosophy in his court, and that’s something worthy of great respect.

2 posted on 02/06/2009 12:23:21 PM PST by bigbob
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