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U.S. Senate Panel To Consider 7th Circuit Nominee

Senate Judiciary Committee Schedules Hearing On Nomination Of Madison Attorney Donald K. Schott

Shawn Johnson/WPR

The Madison attorney nominated to the nation’s longest standing federal appeals court vacancy will get a hearing before a U.S. Senate committee next week.

The Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a nomination hearing for Wednesday for Donald K. Schott. President Barack Obama nominated Schott to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in January. The seat has been vacant for more than six years.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson blocked Obama’s first nominee to the 7th Circuit, but Johnson cleared the way for Schott’s nomination in March. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin supports him. Both home-state senators need to sign off on judicial nominees before they’re allowed to proceed under Senate rules.

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Law professor Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond said this nomination hearing is a good sign for Schott.

“President Obama has nominated seven appellate court nominees this year and (Schott) is the first one to receive a hearing,” Tobias said. “So I take that as a sign that something is moving.”

Should Schott win the support of the Judiciary Committee, he’d still need to be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate, which Tobias says is far from guaranteed. Senate Republicans have stood firm against the much higher-profile nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals covers Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.

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