Judge Hudson’s vacancy must be filled quickly
E DITOR, TIMES-DISPATCH:
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.
CARL TOBIAS. RICHMOND.