The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of a Biden nominee for the Virginia-based appeals court over some Republican concerns about decisions she made in criminal cases while a state court judge.
DeAndrea Benjamin’s nomination to the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was sent to the full Senate, 13-9. She received the support Thursday of all 11 Democrats and two Republicans, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the panel, led the chorus of no votes, saying that Benjamin didn’t have many decisions that addressed constitutional law or other complex legal issues. “That makes it hard to address judicial philosophy,” he said.
Republicans at Benjamin’s confirmation hearing in November questioned her closely over past criminal cases while a judge in South Carolina. For example, they focused on a murder case in which she initially denied bond for the defendant but granted it roughly two years later when he was asking for a speedy trial. At that time, she said the state violated the court’s order to try his case and there were issues with discovery.
The judiciary panel also approved the nominations of several district court picks, including Robert Ballou to the Western District of Virginia; Kymberly Evanson to the Western District of Washington; Myong Joun to the District of Massachusetts, and Colleen Lawless to the Central District of Illinois. Todd Edelman’s nomination to the District of DC was held over.
—With assistance from Madison Alder
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