In a move hailed as a compromise, President George W. Bush has withdrawn the nomination of Stephen Murphy to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and has agreed to replace him with a Clinton-era nominee.
In Murphy’s place, Bush on Tuesday tapped Helene White, a Michigan Court of Appeals judge whose earlier nomination to the 6th Circuit was blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate during President Bill Clinton's second term. White was first nominated in 1997, but her nomination languished for more than four years the longest for any judicial candidate in Senate history.
At the same time, Bush nominated Murphy, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, for another judicial slot as a district court judge in the Eastern District of Michigan. The Detroit Free Press has this account.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said weeks of negotiations had allowed the breakthrough in the impasse over nominations to the 6th Circuit.
"I urged him [Bush] to work with the Michigan senators," Leahy said in a statement yesterday. "After seven years he finally has, and we have a significant development that can lead to filling the last two vacancies on the Sixth Circuit before this year ends."
White joins Raymond Kethledge a corporate defense and appellate lawyer from the Troy, Mich., firm of Bush Seyferth Kethledge and Paige as the two nominees to fill the 6th Circuit's two vacancies.