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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


Donald K. Schott

Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Returned to President January 3, 2017

President Obama nominated Donald K. Schott of Wisconsin to the 7th Circuit on January 12, 2016 to fill a more than six year old vacancy, the longest for any Circuit Court of Appeals. The nomination has been awaiting a Floor vote since a bipartisan 13-7 Senate Judiciary Committee vote on June 16, 2016.

Schott was recommended by the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, which was established by Sens Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). Each Senator selected three commissioners and required that any nominee have the support of at least five. Schott earned the requisite bipartisan support, including two of Senator Johnson’s commissioners.

Sen. Baldwin supported the nomination and both she and Sen. Johnson returned their home-state senator “blue slips” to allow Schott's May 18, 2016 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Editorials and commentary, and letters from 17 past Presidents of the State Bar of Wisconsin and from 48 Wisconsin law professors supported the need for a hearing without further delay.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls for Bipartisan Effort in Senate to Restore the United States Supreme Court and 7th Circuit Court to Full Strength (Democrat - Wisconsin) 03/04/16 
On the Supreme Court vacancy, Senator Baldwin said, “It's the constitutional duty of the President to select a Supreme Court nominee and the Senate has the responsibility to give that nominee fair consideration with a hearing and a vote. Our job is to fulfill our constitutional duties and Senate Republicans need to end their partisan obstruction and do their jobs on this high court vacancy.” Senator Baldwin also called for swift Senate action on the nomination of Donald Schott to represent Wisconsin on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. “This vacancy on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is now six years old and it is past time to put an end to the longest-standing federal court vacancy in the country,” Senator Baldwin said. “Just as the American people deserve a full and functioning Supreme Court – not an empty seat on our highest court – the people of Wisconsin deserve to be fully represented on the 7th Circuit.”

Bipartisan letter from 17 Past Presidents of the State Bar of Wisconsin to Sens. Chuck Grassley, Ron Johnson & Tammy Baldwin (01/30/16)
"The undersigned, past presidents of the State Bar of Wisconsin, urge your consideration of the most recently nominated judicial candidate for the 7th Circuit, Donald Schott. The vacancy for which Mr. Schott has been nominated was created when Judge Terence Evans took senior status in 2010. Judge Evans passed away in 2011.... This longstanding vacancy places higher demands on the remaining judges, results in Wisconsin based disputes being resolved without judges from Wisconsin serving on the panel, and slower times to resolution of disputes. We ask that you take up this nomination and give the candidate a vote as soon as possible. Delaying consideration of this nominee hurts the judicial system and the people of the State of Wisconsin."

Letter from 48 Marquette University Law School [WI] and University of Wisconsin Law School law professors to Sen. Ron Johnson (02/23/16)
"We write today to urge you to return your blue slip for Seventh Circuit nominee Donald K. Schott and seek prompt consideration of his nomination by the Senate Judiciary Committee and full Senate. President Obama nominated Mr. Schott on January 12 after the bipartisan Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, with commissioners appointed by both you and Senator Tammy Baldwin, found that he is qualified to fill this important and longstanding judicial vacancy. This vacancy is now the oldest on any court of appeals in the country, and we believe that further delay poses a serious risk to both the federal justice system in Wisconsin and the integrity of the judicial selection process.... With a well-qualified nominee who has the bipartisan support of your selection commission, there is no justification for further delay in filling this important seat."

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