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Gay fed appeals nominee withdraws
News posted Nov. 12, 2011
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service
2011-11-16

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The White House sent out notice Thursday night that it was withdrawing the nomination of openly gay attorney Edward DuMont to serve on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee blocked DuMont's nomination from the start, when President Obama nominated him in April 2010.

In DuMont's place, President Obama has nominated an attorney with strong Republican ties.

In a separate announcement Thursday evening, the White House announced that President Obama is nominating attorney Richard Taranto, a former law clerk for failed Supreme Court nominee and right-wing conservative Robert Bork, as well as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Taranto also served three years as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Office of the Solicitor General of the United States Department of Justice.

DuMont was out of the country and could not be reached immediately for comment. But the National Law Journal published a November 4 letter DuMont sent to President Obama, saying he understood his nomination was being held up by "one or more" Republicans on the Judiciary Committee.

"Under the circumstances," wrote DuMont, "drawing the process out further does not seem either sensible for me or fair to the Federal Circuit…."

DuMont was the first openly gay person to be nominated to a federal appeals court. In his responses to the Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, DuMont had something to please senators on both sides of the aisle, and he was very forthcoming about his involvement in and support for gay legal groups. He indicated that he is a member of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Attorneys of Washington ( GAYLAW ) and a former member of the National LGBT Bar Association. He worked for the Department of Justice under President Clinton and was a member of DOJ Pride, the GLBT employee organization, serving as its vice president between 1994 and 1996. He is also a member of Yale GALA.

But DuMont's responses to the Committee's questionnaire also indicated that he signed onto a letter of support for one of President George W. Bush's controversial conservative appeals court nominee, Miguel Estrada, and clerked for an appointee of President Reagan, 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner.

DuMont earned the highest rating from the American Bar Association—unanimously well qualified.

The full Senate has approved the confirmations of two openly gay nominees to federal district court seats — Alison Nathan and Paul Oetken, both to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. But Nathan's confirmation was contested by Republicans and was approved by a 48 to 44 vote, along strict party lines. A third nominee was reported out of committee on a voice vote November 3.

� 2011 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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