Judge 0. Rogeriee Thompson's appointment to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit was an historic moment, as she became the tribunal's first African American member. The Senate confirmed her in five months on a 98-0 vote, more expeditiously than any of President Barack Obama's other appellate nominees. Indeed, Fourth Circuit nominee Judge Albert Diaz waited thirteen months for approval. The slow pace of judicial confirmation demonstrates that the charges and recriminations, the partisanship and the serial paybacks, which have infused appointments for two decades, remain. Judge Thompson's confirmation, accordingly, deserves celebration and recounting. It both illuminates the contemporary process and helps provide suggestions for improvements.
Part I of this Essay descriptively reviews judicial selection under the Obama Administration and Judge Thompson's appointment specifically. Part II critically evaluates the process that led to the confirmation of Judge Thompson. Part III then offers suggestions, derived in part from Judge Thompson's experience, to improve the process for the future.
Carl Tobias, Essay, Judge Thompson and the Appellate Court Confirmation Process, 91 B.U.L. Rev. 243 (2011)