U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold today announced the activation of the 11-member Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission to make recommendations to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin created by the recent decision of Judge Barbara Crabb to take senior status. The Commission, which has been in existence in Wisconsin since 1979, helps the Senators fulfill their constitutional duty to advise the President on federal nominations.
"Wisconsin stands as an example to the rest of the nation through its use of an independent panel to help senators recommend candidates for federal appointments. The studied and impartial advice we receive from the commission is an invaluable part of our vetting process for federal nominations. I look forward to receiving their recommendations for this most recent judicial vacancy," Kohl said.
"By reducing the role of politics, the Wisconsin system for federal nominations continues to set the standard for filling federal judgeships," Feingold said. "For thirty years, the thorough commission process has helped ensure that federal posts in Wisconsin are filled by the most qualified individuals."
The commission charter details the number of members each senator may appoint based on the political party of the senators and the president. For the current commission, Kohl nominated Stephen Glynn and Nathan Fishbach, both of Milwaukee, Christine Bremer Muggli, of Wausau, and Michelle Behnke, of Madison; Feingold nominated Ken Calewarts of Green Bay, Chuck Curtis of Madison, Peg Lautenschlager of Fond du Lac, and Harvey Temkin of Madison. The commission is chaired by the Dean of the University of Wisconsin law school for the Western district vacancy. The commission is rounded out by two members chosen by the State Bar of Wisconsin, Susan Hansen of Milwaukee and Thomas Sleik of La Crosse.
Use of a federal nominating commission to recommend choices for vacancies in the federal judicial system dates back to 1979, when it was instituted by Wisconsin Senators Gaylord Nelson and William Proxmire.