Two Baltimore-area nominees to the federal bench, Ellen Lipton Hollander and James K. Bredar, moved a step closer to confirmation Thursday when the Judiciary committee voted to send their names to the full Senate.
The Marylanders won approval on voice votes, without opposition, but could still face a considerable wait to begin their lifetime appointments. At least 23 other judicial nominees are already in line for Senate debate and final action, as Republicans continue to slow the confirmation process.
In April, President Barack Obama nominated Hollander, a veteran Maryland state court judge, and Bredar, a federal magistrate judge, to fill U.S. district court vacancies. Neither is considered controversial and their confirmation is regarded as a virtual certainty.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, a member of the committee, along with fellow Maryland Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, issued a statement urging "expeditious" Senate action.
Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who tracks judicial nominations, said it remains unclear exactly when the Senate would debate and vote on the Maryland nominees.
"It may well go into the fall," he predicted, noting that a number of judicial nominees have already waited several months. The Senate's consideration of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will likely delay the process even more.
Hollander, 61, of Baltimore, has been a member of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals since 1994. She would fill the seat that opened up last year when Judge Andre Davis of Baltimore moved up to the federal appeals court. Bredar, 53, of Reisterstown, would replace Judge J. Frederick Motz, a Republican nominee and the longest-serving U.S. district judge in Maryland, who has taken senior status.
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