DeMint’s Hold On Obama Nominee Putting D.C. Court In ‘Dire Situation’

Becky Hammel

D.C. Superior Court officials have warned that Sen. Jim DeMint’s hold on President Obama’s nominee for that bench could harm the court’s ability to hear cases in the nation’s capitol.

DeMint (R-SC) has said he is holding up Marisa Demeo’s nomination to serve on the D.C. Superior Court because she has a “history of very leftist activism,” the Legal Times (sub. req.) reported today.

“There are just a number of things that don’t look like a fair and balanced approach that you’d like in a judge,” DeMint told the Legal Times.DeMint’s criticism seems to be centered on Demeo’s work for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).

The Legal Times story says Demeo has been pending “longer than the wait for any other [Obama] judicial nominee.”

Demeo, who is openly gay, was nominated nearly one year ago and was approved by Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee in May 2009.

She has been a Magistrate Judge in the Criminal Division of the D.C. Superior Court since 2007.

That’s led to a delay for confirmation of another D.C. Superior Court nominee, Stuart Nash. One catch – Nash was nominated by former President George W. Bush before he left office.

The Legal Times reported that D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield wrote a letter to Senate leadership in October saying that if Demeo and Nash were delayed further, the number of active judges would drop to 57 and “such a scenario would certainly test our ability to administer justice for the people of the District of Columbia in a timely fashion.”

Obama nominated Demeo last March, saying she and another colleague have “dedicated their careers to serving the public good and they will be esteemed and eminent additions to the DC Superior Court.” (That colleague, Florence Pan, was confirmed by the Senate in May.)

DeMint’s office has not responded to our calls or emails.

Late Update: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle sent over a statement:

Republicans continue to hold her nomination. We have asked to pair her nomination with the Republican nominee (Stuart Nash) for the DC superior court and they still object. We have not been advised of their specific objections.