Updated at 8:21 p.m.
With the odds of confirmation increasingly unlikely, pending District of Columbia Superior Court judicial nominee Rainey Brandt was appointed this week as a Superior Court magistrate judge.
Brandt, special counsel to the chief judge of Superior Court, was nominated for a judgeship by the White House in March and appeared before a U.S. Senate committee this summer. The Senate has since failed to act on her nomination, which will expire at the end of the year. As previously reported by The National Law Journal, confirmations are historically rare after a presidential election.
The court announced today that Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield had appointed Brandt and Gretchen Rohr as magistrate judges. Rohr will serve as chair of the court's mental health commission.
Brandt has served as special counsel to the court's chief judge since 1998. During her confirmation hearing in July, she testified that her experience working closely with judges gave her a valuable understanding of what it means to be on the bench.
The District of Columbia is the only jurisdiction in the country to have its local judges nominated by the White House and confirmed by the Senate. Unlike federal judges, who go through the Senate Judiciary Committee, the city's local judges are confirmed through the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Brandt encountered no opposition at her confirmation hearing. Superior Court Judge Kimberley Knowles, who appeared as a nominee on the same day as Brandt before the committee, was confirmed on August 2.
Today's announcement about Brandt's appointment did not address her pending nomination. Brandt, through a court spokeswoman, declined to comment. Satterfield, in a statement, praised Brandt's experience with the court. "Her expertise, insight and broad understanding of the Superior Court and the DC criminal justice system will make her a first-rate judge," he said.
Rohr will lead the mental health commission and preside over the court's juvenile mental health diversion court. According to a release from the court, Rohr is the project director of the D.C. Jail and Prison Advocacy Project for University Legal Services, representing individuals with mental illness and creating an initiative to divert clients to community-based, self-directed treatment.
Before coming to Washington, Rohr was a staff attorney with the Georgia Advocacy Office, where she represented the interests of individuals with mental illness. She also served as a Chesterfield Smith Fellow at Holland & Knight, working in partnership with the Southern Center for Human Rights, according to the court's announcement.
"Gretchen has devoted her career to ensuring due process, dignity and fairness to those with mental illness. She is an expert in this field and a very capable lawyer. We are most fortunate to have her join our bench in the role of Chair of the DC Mental Health Commission,” Satterfield said in a statement.
A previous version of this article did not include Gretchen Rohr's full appointment.