For the past month, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has been blocking the appointment of several of President Obama’s judicial nominees from Louisiana as part of “a two-year battle” with Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Vitter has said that he would stall the nominees until he was assured that U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s renomination was assured. The Times-Picayune reports that Vitter will sign the “blue slips” for several nominees now that Letten has been appointed to a key advisory panel in the Justice Department:
“This prestigious appointment makes it crystal clear that Jim isn’t going anywhere except on regular trips to Washington to personally advise the attorney general,” Vitter, R-La., said. “The attorney general and I superficially discussed this in our meeting last Thursday and I’m really excited to get it done.”
Vitter said he now plans to sign the blue slips for Obama’s criminal justice nominees. The slips are required from the senators in the home states of prosecutors, judges and U.S. marshals before the Senate Judiciary Committee will schedule confirmation hearings.
Letten is being appointed to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys. The panel, consisting of selected U.S. attorneys, provides advice and counsel to the attorney general on policy, management and operational issues impacting federal prosecutors. The panel was formed in 1973.
Nominees that were stalled by Vitter include “Genny May, a 31-year-officer with the Louisiana State Police, as U.S. marshal in New Orleans; Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Michael Bagneris to fill a federal judgeship in New Orleans; New Orleans attorney Brian Jackson as a federal judge in the Middle District in Baton Rouge; and Stephanie Finley as U.S. Attorney in Shreveport.” If Finley is confirmed, she would take over for acting U.S. Attorney William J. Flanagan, whose son Robert was recently arrested for entering Landrieu’s office under false pretenses in an alleged phone-tampering scheme.