The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled confirmation hearings for four U.S. District Court nominees on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The next day, the committee votes on confirming nine District Court nominees and three nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals, including the controversial nomination of U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny to the Second Circuit. (The other appellate nominees scheduled for votes are Susan L. Carney, Second Circuit, and James E. Graves, Fifth Circuit.)
The usual legislative strategy at this point of a Senate's term is to get as many nominees out of committee as possible, working toward a session-closing compromise and confirmation by unanimous consent. The inclusion of Chatigny in any slate would likely kill that strategy. Nominated by President Obama in February, Chatigny has drawn vociferous opposition by conservative groups and Republicans largely over his leniency shown toward a serial killer, Michael Ross. Chatigny had suggested Ross's diagnosis of sexual sadism might be an extenuating factor that prevented the death penalty. (Washington Times editorial, "Obama nominee's sympathy for sexual sadists.")
And here's a surprise: the Alliance for Justice excoriating "unprecedented Republican tactics of procedural obstruction" in a Nov. 8 news release, "Broken Judicial Nominations Process Limps Into Lame-Duck Session."