Senate Approves Controversial U.S. Attorney Nominees Recommended by Republicans
By Samuel Knight | September 27, 2011 10:24 am

The Senate confirmed six U.S. Attorney nominees last night–much to the chagrin of some Democrats.

While none of the nominees faced major opposition on the Senate  floor, five of the nominees were endorsed by Republicans, with the White House overlooking Democratic Party preferences.

The Senate confirmed

  • Robert Lee Pitman for the Western District of Texas;,
  • Sarah Ruth Saldaña for the Northern District of Texas;
  • John M. Bales for the Eastern District of Texas;
  • Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas;
  • David Barlow for the District of Utah; and
  • S. Amanda Marshall for the District of Oregon

All but Marshall were recommended to President Obama by Republican senators — much to the dismay of Democratic congressmen like Reps. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and  Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas).

Barlow was recommended by Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Barlow served as Lee’s lead counsel after Lee took office in January.

The four Texas U.S. Attorney nominations were recommended to the White House by Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. They were not on the list the Texas House Democrats, led by Doggett, sent to the president in October 2009.  And Doggett was not pleased when the nominations were announced.

A state’s senators traditionally recommend U.S. Attorney and federal judicial candidates to the White House for nomination. But if neither senator is a member of the president’s political party, the White House often defers to House members from the state who share his same political affiliation.

The Obama White House has shown a pattern of backing down when it gets push-back from Republican senators over Democratic choices for U.S. Attorney.

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