Judge Hud­son’s va­cancy must be filled quickly

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - EDITORIAL PAGE -


On June 1, Eastern District of Vir­ginia Judge Henry Hud­son left ac­tive sta­tus after 15 years of de­voted ser­vice on the court, which has earned the moniker “Rocket Docket” for promptly re­solv­ing civil lit­i­ga­tion. Vir­ginia’s Demo­cratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine should co­op­er­ate with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to ex­pe­di­tiously seat Hud­son’s re­place­ment.

Months ago, the ju­rist an­nounced he would as­sume se­nior sta­tus. Many se­nior judges carry a de­creased caseload, of­ten half, but Hud­son in­tends to have a com­plete caseload in­def­i­nitely, thus help­ing the district to re­main the Rocket Docket. The ju­rist’s de­par­ture from ac­tive sta­tus re­quires the pres­i­dent to nom­i­nate, and the Se­nate con­firm, an­other ac­tive judge.

Hud­son has re­solved thou­sands

of cases, many high-pro­file. He re­cently over­saw the trial of Irek Hamidulin, the “Rus­sian Tal­iban,” who sur­ren­dered on an Afghan bat­tle­field and was con­victed in Rich­mond. Hud­son also han­dled the fed­eral govern­ment’s case that ac­cused Michael Vick of en­gag­ing in dog fight­ing.

In late April, Warner and Kaine sought ap­pli­ca­tions. The sen­a­tors asked an in­de­pen­dent at­tor­ney com­mit­tee to an­a­lyze the ap­pli­ca­tions, interview prospects, and make rec­om­men­da­tions along with bar groups and ex­perts for the leg­is­la­tors’ re­view, so they could pro­pose highly qual­i­fied peo­ple. The sen­a­tors must rec­om­mend a few in­di­vid­u­als with rea­sons for their sug­ges­tions to Trump, so he will have flex­i­bil­ity to nom­i­nate the finest can­di­date.

When the White House re­ceives this in­put, it should care­fully as­sess the names and con­sult the sen­a­tors to reach con­sen­sus on the best per­son. The sen­a­tors should in­tro­duce the nom­i­nee to their col­leagues and sup­port an ex­pe­di­tious, fair con­fir­ma­tion process with a swift Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee analysis, hear­ing, and vote and a prompt floor de­bate and bal­lot.

May 31 was Judge Hud­son’s fi­nal day in ac­tive sta­tus, but he will re­main very ac­tive as a se­nior ju­rist. The Se­nate must quickly fill his va­cancy with some­one just as ded­i­cated to the law.


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