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 in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals created by Federal Appeals Court Judge Terence Evans' decision to move into 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.
"Judge Evans has had an exemplary career in nearly 30 years of public service on federal bench, and his departure will be a loss to all of us who value his intellect, sense of fairness and wit. As we begin the process to fill this vacancy, I look forward to the commission's advice and insight in making judicial recommendations," Kohl said. "Serving as experts in the field, I value their judgment and guidance."
"I thank Judge Evans for the years of dedicated public service he gave to the people of Wisconsin," Feingold said. "To find his replacement, I am pleased to once again activate the nominating commission, which for years has worked so well to help find qualified candidates to fill these important federal positions without politics getting in the way."
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. For a Seventh Circuit vacancy, the commission is co-chaired by the Dean of the University of Wisconsin law school and the Dean of the Marquette University Law School. 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.
Fact Sheet on the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission Charter
The Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission is charged with making recommendations to fill vacancies for federal judgeships and U.S. Attorney positions in Wisconsin. The commission helps the senators fulfill their constitutional duty to advise the president on federal nominations in both the Eastern and Western judicial districts in the state, and for Wisconsin seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
The Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission was established in 1979 by Wisconsin Senators Gaylord Nelson and William Proxmire. Democratic and Republican senators have used the Commission for every judicial and U.S. Attorney vacancy in the past 30 years, under both Republican and Democratic presidents.
The Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission Charter provides that the Commission will consist of eleven members. The Chair of the Commission is the Dean of either the University of Wisconsin Law School or Marquette University Law School, depending on the location of the vacancy. Under a 2005 revision to the Charter requested by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, the two deans co-chair the Commission for a Seventh Circuit vacancy. Two members are chosen by the State Bar of Wisconsin. The remaining members are chosen as follows:
· When the president of the United States is of the same party as both of Wisconsin's two U.S. senators, four members shall be appointed by each U.S. senator.
· When the president of the United States and one U.S. senator from Wisconsin belong to the same political party, five members shall be appointed by the senator belonging to the president's political party and three members are appointed by the other senator.
· When the president of the United States is of the opposite party of both of Wisconsin's U.S. senators, as was the case during the Bush Administration, two members shall be appointed by each senator, and four members appointed by the most senior elected official of the president's party. During the Bush Administration, Rep. Sensenbrenner made the appointments.