The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to approve David Nye as a federal judge for Idaho, a move that could begin to ease the state’s judicial emergency.
The panel signed off on Nye on a voice vote, sending President Barack Obama’s nominee to the full Senate for a final vote.
But that won’t happen until September, at the earliest, as Congress prepares to take a seven-week summer recess.
17 The number of U.S. circuit and district court nominees who are already awaiting confirmation votes by the Senate
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who’s a close follower of judicial nominations, said that 17 other nominees for circuit and district court vacancies await confirmation votes by the Senate.
Democrats have complained that the Republican-controlled Senate has moved too slowly on judicial nominations this year, particularly as senators feud over a Supreme Court vacancy. Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee chairman, has refused to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the high court.
Obama nominated Nye, of the southeast Idaho city of Pocatello, in April to replace Judge Edward Lodge. He emerged as a consensus pick, and won the support of Idaho’s two GOP senators, Jim Risch and Mike Crapo.
“Judge Nye is a sound and principled jurist, and I applaud my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for unanimously voting to move his nomination to the Senate floor for a final vote,” Risch said in a statement after the vote.
Nye appeared before the Judiciary Committee in June, drawing no opposition from senators.
Even if Nye is approved, Risch and Crapo say that Idaho still needs a third federal judge to handle the state’s growing caseload.
Idaho has had only one full-time judge since last July, when Edward Lodge reduced his caseload and went on senior status. Lodge announced his plans to leave the bench in 2014.
The state has had only one full-time judge since last July, when Lodge reduced his caseload and went on senior status. Lodge announced his plans to leave the bench in 2014.
Nye has served as a district judge for Idaho’s 6th Judicial District Court since 2007, presiding over civil and criminal cases.
Until 2007, Nye worked at the Pocatello law firm of Merrill & Merrill, where he specialized in medical malpractice and insurance law. He joined the law firm as an associate in 1987 and became a partner in 1989.