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November 14, 2011

Openly gay nominee for Court of Appeals blocked by secret Senate hold

One aspect of American government that is truly medieval is the continuing practice of the Senate that allows any one member to block a Presidential nominee and to do so secretly.  That's what happened to Ed DuMont, leading him last week to withdraw his name from consideration for becoming the first openly gay appellate judge in the federal court system, noting that "one or more" Republicans opposed his confirmation. 

More details from Keen News Service:

The White House sent out notice Thursday night that it was withdrawing the nomination of openly gay attorney Edward DuMont to serve on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked DuMont’s nomination from the start, when President Obama nominated him in April 2010.

In DuMont’s place, President Obama has nominated an attorney with strong Republican ties. In a separate announcement Thursday evening, the White House announced that President Obama is nominating attorney Richard Taranto, a former law clerk for failed Supreme Court nominee and right-wing conservative Robert Bork, as well as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Taranto also served three years as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States Department of Justice...

DuMont was the first openly gay person to be nominated to a federal appeals court. In his responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, DuMont ...was very forthcoming about his involvement in and support for gay legal groups. He indicated that he is a member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Attorneys of Washington (GAYLAW) and a former member of the National LGBT Bar Association. He worked for the Department of Justice under President Clinton and was a member of DOJ Pride, the GLBT employee organization, serving as its vice president between 1994 and 1996. He is also a member of Yale GALA.

DuMont’s responses to the Committee’s questionnaire also indicated that he signed onto a letter of support for one of President George W. Bush’s controversial conservative appeals court nominee, Miguel Estrada, and clerked for an appointee of President Reagan, 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner.

DuMont earned the highest rating from the American Bar Association—unanimously well qualified...

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