New Nebraska Judge Bob Rossiter Confirmed (Paperwork To Follow)
June 29, 2016 (Fault Lines) — I have written before at Fault Lines about what a wonderful federal district judge Bob Rossiter would be for the District of Nebraska. On Monday, June 27, 2016, at about 6:15 p.m. Eastern Time, Bob was confirmed 90 to 0 by the Senate.
It took the Senate only two hours and 16 minutes (snark intended) to do so. Most of the time was taken up by procedural stuff—quorum calls and a roll call vote. But Senator Deb Fisher (NE) (bless her heart) spoke in favor of Bob. Senator Leahy of the Judiciary Committee did not oppose Bob, but made it clear that he was mad as hell:
Senate Democrats have leapt on the Republican blockade as an opportunity to tie leadership to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the hopes of taking back the Senate in the fall elections, consistently repeating in speeches and press conferences some variation of the phrase “do your job.”
Before the Rossiter vote on Monday afternoon, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, took his turn blasting his Republican colleagues for leaving Obama’s nominees “languishing on the Senate floor.”
“These are men and women who are prepared to do their job if we give them a vote,” Leahy said on the floor. “What they can’t understand, the American people can’t understand, is why won’t the Senate Republican leadership let us do our job? After all, we’re paid for it.”
Courthouse News Service (Monday, June 27, 2016, Last Update: 3:44 PM PT)
Can you imagine watching CSPAN-2 for more than two hours while you’re life hangs in the balance? I can’t either, but if you decide to see a part of the spectacle, you can find it here
I wonder whether Bob has stopped vomiting from the anxiety. After all, he only had to wait more than a year to have his entirely non-controversial nomination voted upon by a roll call on the Senate floor. By that time, our court faced a “judicial emergency” because we were without one-third of our judge-power for over 18 months.
In fact, nearly three years have passed since Judge Joe Bataillon told the world he intended to take senior status. Still further, Bob had to wait for nearly two year before his floor vote, even though both Nebraska Senators had recommended Bob to President Obama in August of 2014.
Time passes slowly when you are in prison or considered for the position of a federal district judge. Note that such judges serve the equivalent of the TTT of the federal judiciary.
Anyway, I thought Fault Lines readers might be interested to know that much paperwork must follow and be completed after a favorable confirmation vote on the floor of the Senate. In other words, a floor vote does not make confirmation a done deal.
The first thing that must happen is that the Senate Secretary must formally inform the White House. Here’s what such formal notification looks like:
After the White House receives this formal notification, the Attorney General and the President must sign a Commission. Here is what a Commission looks like:
After the Commission is received, the prospective judge must take an oath. The oath, typically administered by the Chief Judge, reads something like this:
After the judge has taken the oath, he or she is officially a United States District Judge. But danger still lurks in required paperwork.
Although no one tells you, a new judge must also file a financial disclosure statement within 30 days of signing the oath. I failed to do so, and I got a snotty letter informing me of my failure and agreeing to waive the fine if I would immediately comply. That scared the crap out of me, fearing I would be the only district judge to be impeached within a couple of months after being sworn in. So, I sent the form to Washington, D.C. As of yet, I have not been impeached. It is worth noting that you have to file a financial disclosure statement within 5 days of being nominated, so this added requirement seems a bit odd, but what the hell do I know.
By the way, some of you may have attended a new federal judge’s “investiture.” Such things are entirely phony. I mean almost every judge has already been sworn in before such a ceremony takes place. So, go ahead and attend but when the new judge dons his or her robe on such an occasion, realize that he or she is likely to have been judging long before all the ceremonial hoopla. Such events are, however, good for those who love the new judge, the new judge’s colleagues and those who wish to suck up. So attend. Pomp and circumstance are harmless affectations.
In short, Bob will in the fullness of time become the Honorable Robert F. Rossiter, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Nebraska. That assumes, of course, that the paper work gets done.
Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)
* Title 28, sec. 456 United States Code as amended. [The asterisk with citation is included in the form.]