DEPT. OF JURISPRUDENCE
Obama Announces Nominee for Appeals Court
By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama today said he plans to nominate U.S. District Judge David F. Hamilton to the federal appeals court, turning to a jurist widely viewed as a moderate for his first judicial appointment.
"Judge Hamilton has a long and impressive record of service and a history of handing down fair and judicious decisions," Obama said in a statement. "He will be a thoughtful and distinguished addition to the 7th Circuit and I am extremely pleased to put him forward to serve the people of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin."
The White House held Hamilton out as a prototype for the nominees the president will be seeking as he remakes the federal judiciary.
Raised in southern Indiana, Hamilton attended Haverford College and Yale Law School, and won a Fulbright fellowship, before clerking on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He also has worked as a general counsel to Sen. Evan Bayh (D), when Bayh was governor of Indiana, and has served as chair of the Indiana Ethics Commission. President Bill Clinton appointed him to the district court in Indianapolis in 1994, and he was elevated to chief judge last year.
Hamilton's legal scholarship, coupled with his varied experiences and his sense of "empathy" makes him "precisely the kind of person that President Obama wants on the federal appellate bench," said a senior administration official, who would speak only on background.
Hamilton is expected to attract bipartisan support, something the president will seek in an effort to "put the confirmation wars behind us," the official said.
In a White House statement, Indiana's Republican senator Richard Lugar has said he would back Hamilton during the Senate's confirmation process. "I enthusiastically support the Senate confirmation of David Hamilton for U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals," Lugar said.
The impending nomination also earned kudos from at least one liberal advocacy group that is often embroiled in battles over federal court nominations.
"David Hamilton is an ideal choice for this seat," said Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the American Way. "Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a willingness to put principle ahead of politics and bring an open mind to every case."
Posted at 12:15 PM ET on Mar 17, 2009
DEPT. OF JURISPRUDENCE
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