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District Judge Nominees Confirmed After Weekend Work Threat (1)

April 13, 2018, 3:06 PMUpdated: April 13, 2018, 7:24 PM

The Senate confirmed two of President Donald Trump’s district judge nominees April 12.

Both John W. Broomes, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, and Rebecca Grady Jennings, nominated to the Western District of Kentucky, were confirmed unanimously.

The confirmations followed a threat by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) to keep the Senate in session over the weekend if a slate of nominees weren’t confirmed by then.

Democrats have been requiring 30 hours of debate for judicial nominees, but made an exception last year when McConnell similarly threatened weekend work.

Going forward, “I think that Democrats are not going to demand 30 hours of debate and roll call votes when they believe that nominees are well qualified and uncontroversial,” especially when McConnell “threatens weekend work to allow the 30 hours that would seem to be a waste of Senate time,” Carl W. Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va., who focuses on judicial nominations, told Bloomberg Law by email April 13.

It’s also possible “that Democrats realize that the 142 vacancies, 72 of which are emergencies, need to be expeditiously filled for the good of litigants, courts, the President and the Senate,” Tobias said.

Republicans face many pending nominations but have limited time to act before midterm elections in November, when Democrats have a slight chance of taking control of the Senate.

“Over and over again, we’ve had to file cloture and exhaust floor time on amply qualified nominees who then soar through their confirmation votes by lopsided margins,” McConnell said April 11.

Submarine Officer, Firm Director

Broomes formerly worked as a submarine officer and petroleum engineer before becoming a member at Hinkle Law Firm LLC, Wichita, Kan.

His practice focuses on oil and gas law.

Broomes clerked for District Judge Monti Belot and former Magistrate Judge Donald Bostwick, both of the District of Kansas.

Jennings is the director and litigation practice chair of Middleton Reutlinger, Louisville, Ky.

She clerked for former District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. of the Middle District of Tennessee.

((Updated with additional Tobias comments in sixth paragraph.))

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at