Breaking a longstanding logjam, President Obama announced nominees for three vacant Texas federal court benches late Thursday.
If confirmed, U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman of San Antonio, Texarkana lawyer Robert Schroeder III, and Sherman Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant III will all get lifetime jobs as U.S. district court judges.
“Any nominations are critically important, as Texas desperately needs to have as many of its nine district and two circuit vacancies filled,” said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who tracks nominations. “The judges are overwhelmed by crushing case loads and too few judicial resources.”
Pitman’s appointment would be “historic,” Tobias added, because he would be the first openly gay federal judge in the state.
Pitman is used to breaking ground. He became Texas’ first openly gay U.S. attorney, and one of the first anywhere. Before his appointment in 2011 as the top federal prosecutor for the Western District of Texas, he served as a magistrate judge.
Pitman, nominated for a seat in San Antonio, earned his law degree from the University of Texas. If confirmed by the Senate, he will take the bench formerly filled by W. Royal Furgeson Jr., dean of the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law that is set to open this fall.
Furgeson, reached Thursday night, called him “an outstanding choice. His career covers a wide range of experience. At every juncture, he has performed brilliantly. He works hard. He is very balanced and has excellent temperament. And he is a very decent, honorable and humble person.”
To say the least, it has been a struggle to get judges – and for that matter, US Attorneys – nominated for Texas. President Obama got off to a slow start in making nominations overall, but the resistance he’s encountered has been a much bigger obstacle. I hope he can get this job finished before his term ends. In the meantime, congrats and best of luck with the confirmation process to all the nominees. PDiddie has more.