Since President Barack Obama took office, The BLT has been groping for clues about the mechanics of the judicial selection process in his administration.
As we’ve written previously, Obama’s White House Counsel’s Office is bursting at the seams, and many wondered whether the Justice Department's role in judge-picking would be diminished as a result.
Obama’s first judicial nominee, David Hamilton, seems to have the answer in his Senate questionnaire. Hamilton, who was chosen to fill a vacant seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, describes the process from top to bottom.
Check it out, after the jump.
In approximately June 2008, after I learned that Judge Kenneth Ripple had advised the president that he intended to take senior status, I spoke with Senator [Evan] Bayh to express my interest in the event that Senator Obama would win the presidential election. A few days after the election, I spoke with senator Bayh again about the matter. I was contacted by the White House Counsel’s office on Jan. 30, 2009, to ask if I would agree to a background check, and I said yes. On Feb. 3, 2009, the White House Counsel’s office contacted me by telephone and e-mailed a copy of a questionnaire and asked me to complete it. On February 4, 2009, I spoke by telephone with the White House Counsel’s office with a few questions about how best to provide the requested information. Beginning on approximately February 7, 2009, I was contacted by the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) of the Department of Justice and received additional forms to complete, and I have been in touch with that office by telephone and e-mail concerning the timing and logistics of those responses. In addition, I have been interviewed by the ABA standing committee representative for the Seventh Circuit. On March 16, 2009, I met with Attorney General Holder, Associate Attorney General Perrelli, and OLP staff in separate meetings at the Department of Justice. I also met with counsel to the president Gregory Craig and members of his staff, and then with members of the White House communications staff on that same day, and I met briefly with President Obama that same day. My nomination was submitted to the Senate on March 17, 2009.
Looks like DOJ will play a big role, after all.