With congressional schedules backed up this week because of the memorial service for former President George H.W. Bush, the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday delayed confirmation votes for Ohio solicitor Eric Murphy and Justice Department official Chad Readler for seats on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
In a statement, a committee spokesman did not say when the hearing would be re-scheduled. The 6th Circuit includes Dayton and all of Ohio.
President Donald Trump’s decision this year to tap Murphy and Readler to fill two vacancies on the court provoked a sharp backlash from Senate Democrats such as Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
Testifying before the judiciary committee last month, Brown said that “rather than granting these nominees lifetime authority to threaten Americans’ voting rights and health care, we should start over with two different candidates who can earn consensus.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, plans to vote for both nominees.
As Ohio solicitor in 2015, Murphy urged the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Ohio’s controversial voter-purge law and argued that Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage did not violate the U.S. Constitution. By a 5-to-4 decision, the justices ruled that the Constitution protected the rights of same-sex couples wanting to marry.
Murphy is a former law clerk to retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and a graduate of the University of Chicago law school.
Readler, a former partner in the Columbus law office of Jones Day, has been principal deputy and acting assistant attorney general for the civil division at the Justice Department. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan law school.