With Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown, and William Pryor all confirmed, focus has shifted to a group of nominees not mentioned by name in the “deal.” Earlier this week I wrote about one of them, William James Haynes (Fourth Circuit), in my Daily Standard column. Hugh Hewitt has focused on another one, Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Circuit). The invaluable Ed Whelan at NRO’s Bench Memos tells us that Kavanaugh’s nomination may not be taken up again until one of the judges on the D.C. Circuit takes senior status, probably towards the end of the year.
Today another member of this group, Terrence Boyle (4th Circuit) cleared the Senate Judiciary on the tradtional 10-8 straight party line vote. Boyle has endured the longest wait of any nominee, having been nominated by the current president’s father. Here is what I wrote about Boyle last year:
Boyle (before whom I once had a case) has been a federal district judge for 20 years and is, in fact, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He frequently has sat by designation on the Fourth Circuit and has written more than 20 opinions for that court — the one on which the Democrats say he is unfit to serve. You can find out more about his record here.
Boyle was nominated in 2001 but he’s actually been waiting much longer for a vote. Near the end of his term, the first President Bush nominated Boyle to the Fourth Circuit. Jesse Helms stongly supported Boyle, but was set for major surgery. I have heard that before the surgery, Joseph Biden, then head of the Judiciary Committee, promised Helms that the committee would move Boyle’s nomination to the floor, but he failed to keep his word, and Boyle never got a vote.
During the past three and half years, Boyle faced the opposition of his home state Senator. You may remember the guy, a boyish looking liberal trial lawyer, name of Edwards. With Edwards gone and replaced by a conservative Republican, maybe Boyle will finally get a vote.
And maybe he won’t. Boyle has finally gotten out of committee but it’s not clear whether he will be filibustered and, if he is, whether the likes of Senators Graham, DeWine, and Warner will do anything about it.