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White House Said to Vet Two Women for Sixth Circuit Seat (1)

April 19, 2022, 8:45 AMUpdated: April 19, 2022, 1:07 PM

The White House has been vetting two women lawyers for a vacancy on the Ohio-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Rachel Bloomekatz, a public interest lawyer and former state counsel for the Biden-Harris campaign, and Alexandra Schimmer, Denison University vice president and general counsel who served as Ohio’s solicitor general, have been under consideration for the court, two sources with knowledge of the vetting told Bloomberg Law on the condition of anonymity.

The White House declined to provide a comment. Bloomekatz and Schimmer didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The selection process for the expected vacancy on the Sixth Circuit comes after a previous President Joe Biden nominee for the circuit ran into difficulty in the narrowly-divided Senate.

Biden’s first Sixth Circuit nominee, Andre Mathis, faced pushback from Tennessee’s two Republican senators, who complained they weren’t adequately consulted by the White House for the vacancy in their state.

Home-state senator support is no longer needed for appeals court nominees to move forward after Republicans did away with the practice under President Donald Trump, but it can make a nomination move more smoothly.

Another Biden nominee to a Michigan seat on the circuit, Stephanie Dawkins Davis, awaits action on the Senate floor.

Unlike Tennessee, which has two Republicans, Ohio is represented by one Democrat, Sherrod Brown, and one Republican, Rob Portman.

Ohio has a history of senators from different parties working together to make trial court recommendations to the White House and was the first split-delegation state to get district nominees under Biden.

If nominated, Bloomekatz or Schimmer would replace Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. on the court. Cole was nominated by Bill Clinton and has served on the Sixth Circuit since 1995.

The two candidates both have experience as appellate lawyers but would bring other work experience. Bloomekatz worked with Democrats and progressive interests, while Schimmer worked in the public sector and has represented universities.

In addition to her work for the Biden-Harris campaign, Bloomekatz has represented Everytown Law, which is the legal branch of Everytown for Gun Safety and was legal director for Brown’s 2012 reelection campaign, according to her biography on her practice’s website. Bloomekatz was also a principal at boutique appellate firm Gupta Wessler in Washington, an associate at Jones Day, and clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Before coming to Denison, a liberal arts college in Granville, Ohio, Schimmer served as deputy general counsel for the Ohio State University. She also currently serves on the board of directors for the National Association of College and University Attorneys, according to her Denison profile.

Schimmer was chief deputy solicitor general under Attorney General Richard Cordray, a Democrat, before she became solicitor general under Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican. She clerked for federal judges in New York and Ohio after law school before joining Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease in Columbus.

Everytown for Gun Safety advocates for universal background checks and other gun control measures. Bloomberg Law is operated by entities controlled by Michael Bloomberg, who serves as a member of Everytown for Gun Safety’s advisory board.

—With assistance from Courtney Rozen

(Updates with current status of Stephanie Dawkins Davis' nomination.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com