Thursday, January 4, 2001
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Posted on: Thursday, January 4, 2001

Clinton again nominates Duffy to U.S. appeals court

Advertiser Staff and News Services

In his waning days as president, Bill Clinton yesterday renominated Honolulu attorney James Duffy for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Duffy was among eight people renominated by Clinton yesterday to federal appeals court positions. The Senate Judiciary Committee last session refused to vote on the nominations.

Duffy, 58, was first nominated in June to the 9th Circuit seat, and his appointment would have ended a 15-year drought during which none of the judges on the 28-seat court was from Hawaii. The court handles cases from Hawaii, eight other western states, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, submitted Duffy’s name to Clinton for consideration.

"I am very grateful to Sen. Inouye for his continued support," Duffy said yesterday. "If confirmed, I will do my best to make Hawaii proud."

Duffy declined to comment on his chances of being confirmed. The former president of the Hawaii Bar Association closed his former law firm, Fujiyama, Duffy and Fujiyama, when he was first nominated and now runs his own firm.

But Inouye spokeswoman Jennifer Sabas acknowledged that it was "quite unlikely" that any action will be taken before Clinton leaves office Jan. 20.

"Realistically, during the small, little window, we really don’t expect any kind of action on his nomination, but the senator continues to stand by him 100 percent as the best candidate for the job," Sabas said. She added that Inouye is "going to continue to lobby his colleagues to give (Duffy) an opportunity to be heard."

Clinton yesterday also renominated Roger Gregory to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and sought to make the Virginia lawyer’s appointment permanent instead of temporary.

On Dec. 27, Clinton put Gregory on the bench with a recess appointment, a constitutionally approved way for the president to appoint someone when Congress is not in session. The appointment, however, only lasts until the end of the year.

Although Democrats now control the Senate — with Vice President Al Gore the Democrats control the chamber 51-50 until Inauguration Day, when Vice President-elect Cheney will give the Republicans the 51-50 advantage — Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, doesn’t plan to push for nomination hearings immediately.

"He wants to work with (Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch) and members of both parties on Gregory’s nomination, and these other judicial emergency nominations," Leahy spokesman David Carle said.

Along with Gregory, Clinton also renominated seven other judges for the appeals court who did not make it through the Judiciary Committee last year: former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell, who wanted a position on the 8th Circuit; lawyer Enrique Moreno of El Paso, Texas, to the 5th Circuit; Kathleen McCree-Lewis, who would be the first black woman on the 6th Circuit if approved; Duffy for the 9th Circuit; North Carolina State Appeals Judge James A. Wynn for the 4th Circuit; Helene White, nominated more than three years ago for the 6th Circuit; and Barry P. Goode of Richmond, Calif., for the 9th Circuit.

Only Gregory received a recess appointment.

No nomination hearings have been scheduled, Carle said. "He is looking for the long-term solution of getting these nominations cleared through the Senate, not for a short-term solution of trying to rush these though," he said.

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