President Barack Obama snubbed Texas Democrats on Tuesday and nominated Republican picks for leaders of all four U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Texas.
Obama tapped John Malcom Bales for the Eastern District of Texas, Kenneth Magidson for Southern District of Texas, Robert Pitman for the Western District of Texas and Sarah Saldana for the Northern District of Texas. Texas Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison recommended the nominees to Obama in October 2009.
But the nominees were not on the list the Texas House Democrats led by Rep. Lloyd Doggett sent to the president in October 2009. And Doggett is not pleased. “While there are some able individuals among those being named today to serve as a US Attorney, the Administration has disregarded its previous agreement and our hope for more change in the Texas justice system after decades of total Republican domination,” Doggett said in a statement. A spokeswoman for the congressman didn’t have an immediate comment for Main Justice on who the “able individuals” are.
Home-state senators traditionally recommend candidates to the White House — unless both of the state’s senators are of different parties than the president. In cases in which senators are of a different party than the president, the White House often relies on House members who are members of the president’s political party.
A White House spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Cornyn didn’t have an immediate comment for this story.
Bales has been the interim U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas since 2009. He would be the first Senate-confirmed U.S. Attorney since Rebecca Gregory stepped down in April 2009. Obama initially nominated John B. Stevens Jr. last year for the post. But he withdrew his name from consideration after the Senate Judiciary Committee stalled on his confirmation.
Magidson has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Texas since 1983, serving as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Regional Coordinator for the last 24 years. He would replace Jose Angel Moreno, who has led the Southern District U.S. Attorney’s Office since February 2010. The office hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed leader since Don DeGabrielle resigned in November 2008.
Pitman has been a magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas since 2003. He would be the first openly gay U.S. Attorney in Texas. Pitman would replace John Murphy, who has led the Western District U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2009. Johnny Sutton, who resigned as U.S. Attorney in 2009, was the last Senate-confirmed head of the office.
Saldana has been an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas since 2004. She would replace James Jacks, who has headed the Northern District U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2009. The office hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed leader since Richard Roper stepped down in December 2008.
During this Congress, Obama has now made nine U.S. Attorney nominations now waiting for Senate confirmation.
The Senate has confirmed 76 of Obama’s U.S. Attorneys thus far. There are 93 U.S. Attorney posts across the nation.
Bravo President Obama!!!
I am so proud of this President for changing the political climate & having the courage to vet & nominate candidates based on qualifications & merit & not on partisan politics. This way, the American public can be assurred that the best & the brightest are serving in these important positions. This should also serve as a lesson to Congress on both sides, now & in the future, that they should not be selecting candidates based on partisan politics alone.