That didn’t take long. Hot on the heels of Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice, the Obama administration has let loose a round of five new judicial nominations, including two for circuit court openings.
Jane Stranch, partner at Nashville’s Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, has been tapped to fill a spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, while Judge Thomas Vanaskie of the Middle District of Pennsylvania has been picked for the Third Circuit.
According to the White House announcement, Stranch, a labor lawyer, graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1975 and is known for her work on complex ERISA litigation. The 55-year-old Vanaskie, meanwhile, was appointed to his current post in 1994, and was chief judge from 1996 through 2006. As a young lawyer, he practiced in the Scranton office of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish & Kauffman alongside future governor Robert Casey, Sr., the father of Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.).
Obama also announced three picks for district judgeships in California. Two magistrate judges, Richard Seeborg and Edward Chen have been nominated for the Northern District; and Dolly Gee, another labor lawyer and managing partner at the Los Angeles firm of Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers, has been picked for the Central District.
The White House also announced three new U.S. Attorney nominations, including former Business Software Alliance lobbyist and Vice President Joe Biden aide Neil MacBride for the Eastern District of Virignia. According to a White House spokesman, MacBride will not need a waiver to be appointed because his lobbying work ended in 2007, outside the two year window created by Obama’s executive order barring lobbyists from administration jobs.
Kenyen Brown, acting staff director and chief counsel for the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives, got the nod for the Southern District of Alabama. Benjamin Wagner was chosen to head the Eastern District of California, where he is currently chief of the special prosecutions unit.