Obama Nominates Four to Fill Judicial Vacancies

Thursday evening, President Obama sent four new names to the Senate to fill judicial vacancies.

He nominated Jill A. Pryor to a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. A graduate of the College of William and Mary and of Yale Law School, and a former clerk for 11th Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson, Pryor is currently a partner at the law firm of Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, LLP, in Atlanta, Georgia. If confirmed, she will be the fourth woman to serve on the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The seat to which Pryor has been nominated has been vacant since August 2010 and has been declared a “judicial emergency” by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Nominated to United States District Court seats were Judge Elissa Cadish to the District of Nevada, Judge Paul William Grimm to the District of Maryland, and Judge Mark E. Walker to the Northern District of Florida.

Judge Cadish, who currently serves as a district court judge on the 8th Judicial District Court of Nevada, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and of the University of Virginia School of Law. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Philip Pro of the District of Nevada; it is his seat, also an emergency vacancy, that she will fill if confirmed.

Judge Grimm, who has been nominated to fill a future vacancy that will open up when incumbent judge Benson Legg takes senior status in June, is a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Maryland and, since 2006, has served as the Chief United States Magistrate Judge. A former member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps with the United States Army, Grimm received his B.A. from the University of California at Davis and his J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Judge Walker is currently a Florida Circuit Judge in Tallahassee. In addition to a decade in private practice, he served as an Assistant Public Defender for Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit from 1997-1999 and clerked for a Florida state court judge, a United States District Court Judge in the Northern District of Florida, and a judge on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  He received both his B.A. and his J.D. from the University of Florida.

For the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on judicial nominations, see the Alliance for Justice’s Judicial Selection Project webpage.