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Vitter To Hold Nominees Hostage Over New Orleans U.S. Attorney
Posted By Andrew Ramonas On January 11, 2010 @ 2:00 pm In News | Comments Disabled
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will hold up two nominees for the federal bench and U.S. Marshals in Louisiana until the Obama administration assures him the New Orleans U.S. Attorney will remain in place, The Times-Picayune reported  yesterday.
Although Vitter and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) both support retaining Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, the White House has declined to state categorically that it won’t seek to replace the Bush-era holdover.
Attorney General John Ashcroft appointed  the career prosecutor as the U. S. Attorney in April 2001. President George W. Bush later formally nominated Letten for the job, and the Senate confirmed him in July 2005. Because Letten has already been Senate-confirmed, he can continue in his job at the pleasure of President Barack Obama.
Landrieu told The Times-Picayune the White House has assured her that Letten will not lose his federal appointment.
But Vitter has not received those assurances, according to the newspaper. The Republican will only return his “blue slips” on Middle District of Louisiana judicial nominee Brian Jackson in Baton Rouge and Eastern District of Louisiana U.S. Marshal nominee Genevieve Lynn Mayand in New Orleans if the White House tells him Letten will not be replaced by an Obama nominee. By tradition, home state senators return “blue slips” on judicial and law enforcement nominees from their states to the Judiciary Committee before the panel considers the nominations.
“As Sen. Vitter expressed in his letter to Sen. Landrieu and the Obama administration last March, he is offering his good will and cooperation for the president’s nominees as long as Jim Letten retains this appointment and continues his vitally important work,” Vitter spokesperson Joel DiGrado told The Times-Picayune. “Since Sen. Landrieu has strongly recommended this also, it should not be a difficult issue.”
Landrieu criticized Vitter’s decision to hold up the two nominees.
“Sen. Vitter’s partisan antics will do nothing but hurt the people of Louisiana who need these positions filled,” the Democratic senator told the newspaper.
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