Republican Senator Creates Fresh Opposition by Blocking Biden Court Pick

Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Gage Skidmore.

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson created fresh hurdles for President Biden when he signaled he will not support his pick to fill a district court vacancy in his home state. Sen. Johnson’s opposition likely dooms the nomination absent a shift by Democrats.

The Hill reports:

Johnson said that he would oppose William Pocan, who was nominated by Biden to be a district judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. It marks the first time during the Biden administration a senator has not returned a blue slip — a piece of paper that indicates if a home-state senator supports a nominee — for a district court nominee.

“Since Judge Pocan’s nomination, I have been hearing concerns from the Green Bay legal community that they needed a judge who is locally based and actively involved in their community. That is not the case with Judge Pocan,” Johnson said in a statement.

“In addition, the tragedy in Waukesha never should have happened. That it did, is the direct result of soft on crime low bail policies and court orders. I cannot support someone for a lifetime appointment that has granted low bail for someone charged with violent felonies. That is not in the best interest of Wisconsinites nor Americans. I look forward to working with President Biden on selecting a suitable nominee,” he added.

Johnson and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) previously recommended Pocan as a potential pick to fill the vacancy. Wisconsin uses a nominating commission that recommends four to six names to the senators, who then formally make recommendations to the president.

According to precedent, district court nominees who don’t get blue slips from both home-state senators don’t advance in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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