Davis in holding pattern
U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis of Baltimore has waited almost a decade to move up the federal court ladder to the 4th Circuit appellate bench in Richmond, Va.
Looks like he'll have to wait a while longer.
Davis was nominated for the "Maryland" seat on the appeals court by Democrat Bill Clinton back in 2000, during the final months of his presidency. The nomination died when Republican George W. Bush moved into the White House.
This year, President Barack Obama revived the Davis nomination, and recently the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the 60-year-old judge for a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
And there his promotion is likely to sit, at least for several weeks, perhaps for months. Word from the Hill is that Republicans will block all federal judge nominations from coming up for a vote until the Senate is finished dealing with Obama's nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.
That could take a while. Democrats would like Sotomayor to get confirmed before Congress heads out of town for its August recess. But the smart money says it will be September before there's a confirmation vote.
Historically, the 4th Circuit is considered the most conservative federal appellate court.
There are currently four vacancies on the 15-member court, including the seat that has historically gone to a Marylander. It has remained open for almost nine years, since the death of Judge Francis D. Murnaghan Jr. in August, 2000.
When Davis, a former Murnaghan clerk, was nominated by Clinton for the seat, he would have been the first African-American to serve on the Fourth Circuit. Since that time, two black judges have been nominated and confirmed, including Judge Roger L. Gregory, a Clinton nominee who was renominated by Bush and who became the first to break the color barrier.