Let’s make a deal: White, Murphy nominated to federal bench

In a deal designed to break an 11-year impasse of federal bench appointments involving Michigan nominees, President Bush has nominated Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Helene White to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

White was originally nominated by President Clinton in January 1997, but then-Senator Spencer Abraham (R-Mich) bottled things up and a confirmation hearing never took place before President Bush was first elected in 2000. Bush refused to re-nominate White.

Abraham lost his 2000 re-election bid to Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Long-serving Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich), and the newly elected Stabenow, put up a steady barrage of opposition to Bush’s federal judicial picks from Michigan, including the 2006 nominations of Detroit U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Murphy (pictured right) and Troy attorney Raymond Kethledge (pictured left) to the Sixth Circuit.

The bottleneck was cleared yesterday when Bush agreed to withdraw Murphy’s Sixth Circuit nomination and nominate White to the federal appeals bench instead. Murphy was then nominated for a seat on the Eastern District of Michigan’s bench. To sweeten the deal, there is an apparent agreement to confirm Kethledge’s Sixth Circuit nomination.

The Associated Press, The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News have more details.

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