The commission, which was set up by Congress in 1973, sends three names to the White House from among the attorneys who apply for vacancies on the District of Columbia Superior Court and District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The commission’s proceedings and records are confidential.
As in the federal courts, the president nominates an attorney for consideration by the Senate. Unlike the nominating process for federal judges, who testify before the Judiciary Committee, local selections go before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Besides the names of recommended attorneys, the report includes whose seat was filled, when the names were sent to the White House, which president made the selection and which attorney was ultimately confirmed to the position. It also lists chief judge designations for both courts over the years.
According to a press release, the commission now intends to issue an annual report on its recommendations.
The commission’s chairman, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, was not immediately available for comment. Sullivan and the other six sitting members have been credited with making the nominating process more transparent in recent years and, in addition to the names of recommended attorneys, began releasing the names of all applicants for each judicial vacancy in 2008.