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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.


William Kayatta, Jr.

First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
Confirmed February 13, 2013

On Feb. 13, 2013, the Senate finally, overwhelmingly voted 88-12  to confirm William Kayatta of Maine, who was first nominated on Jan. 23, 2012, to the six-seat First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  No senator spoke in opposition.

President Obama renominated Kayatta on Jan. 3, 2013 with the strong support of Kayatta’s home-state U.S. Senators: Republican Susan Collins and newly-elected Independent Angus King.  (Previously, Kayatta was also strongly supported by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)). On Feb. 7, Kayatta was again approved on a Committee voice vote, with one senator voting No.

After the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Kayatta’s nomination on an April 19, 2012 voice vote, Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) repeatedly stated that Republicans were delaying Floor votes on Kayatta and other judicial nominees.

On June 11, 2012, Sens. Snowe and Collins provided the votes that Arizona Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain needed for a 60-31 cloture vote (60 senators must vote Yes) to end a filibuster of their home-state nominee Andrew Hurwitz, who had their wholehearted support.”  The Senate confirmed Hurwitz on June 12th.


On June 13th, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) made an unprecedented decision to try to block Floor votes on consensus circuit court nominee until after the election.  “I think it’s stupid,” GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma said in an interview, adding that the goal should be to confirm good judges.


Both Maine senators announced on June 18th that they would support a cloture motion to end any filibuster of Kayatta’s nomination.  Their position is supported by Maine and other Editorials and commentaries.


On July 20, the Massachusetts Lawyers' Weekly reported that: "Attorneys preparing to go before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can expect to face additional prep work, delays and restricted access to en banc review due to the stalled nomination of Maine trial attorney William J. Kayatta Jr. ... Because the 1st Circuit is the nation's smallest federal appeals court, with only six members, a single vacancy has a greater impact that it might in other circuits, said Susan J. Goldberg, deputy chief executive for the 1st Circuit.  That's particularly true because the 1st Circuit's caseload has increased by about 6.5 percent during the 12-month period ending March 31, 2012."

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