Biden nominates former N.H. attorney general Delaney to appeals court

  • Michael Delaney is nominated to 1st Circuit
  • Biden nominates Idaho district court pick after GOP negotiations

(Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated former New Hampshire attorney general Michael Delaney to become a federal appeals court judge as part of his first slate of four new judicial nominees of 2023.

Delaney, who served as New Hampshire attorney general from 2009 to 2013 and is now a lawyer at the law firm McLane Middleton, was nominated to a seat on the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

He had been appointed to be New Hampshire’s top lawyer by Democratic former governor John Lynch for whom he had previously worked as legal counsel.

He would succeed U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Howard, who before assuming senior status, a form of semi-retirement, in March was the lone Republican appointee among the 1st Circuit’s then-six active judges.

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Biden has already secured confirmation of two 1st Circuit judges, Gustavo GelpĂ­ and Lara Montecalvo, and has put forward the name of abortion rights lawyer Julie Rikelman to fill the court’s other current vacancy.

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Rikelman, a lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights, argued for the Mississippi clinic that was on the losing side of the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Delaney’s nomination was announced alongside three candidates for district court positions in Illinois and Idaho, a state that notably has two Republican senators and whose support is crucial to fill judicial vacancies in their backyard.

Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch in a joint statement said Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Amanda Brailsford’s nomination to the federal bench was secured following negotiations with the White House.

“Her judicial philosophy and respect for the Constitution will continue to serve our state well,” Risch said in a statement.

Under U.S. Senate customs, home state senators historically must return so-called “blue slips” to the Senate Judiciary Committee indicating support for a district court pick like Brailsford for their nominations to be considered.

That procedure has frustrated progressive advocates who have called for an end to the blue slip tradition, which they say has impeded Biden’s ability to confirm judges in Republican-controlled states, particularly in the South.

In the Chicago-based Northern District of Illinois, Biden is seeking to elevate U.S. Bankruptcy Judge LaShonda Hunt and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cummings to district court positions.

Wednesday’s nominations brought to 154 the number of judicial nominees announced by the Democratic president since taking office in January 2021. The Senate has confirmed 97 of them, and a majority have been women or people of color.

Read more:

Biden renominates 25 judicial nominees, including longest pending ones

Biden, Senate Democrats gear up to prioritize judges in 2023

Biden announces last six judicial nominees of 2022

1st Circuit’s lone Republican-appointed judge to step down from active service

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Nate Raymond reports on the federal judiciary and litigation. He can be reached at

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