July 28th, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, CLEAN UP

Ron Wyden Adds Marco Hernandez As The Sixth Name to Judges' List


Amid criticism from some lawyers in Oregon's legal community, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote the White House today to add a sixth name to the list of five candidates he's forwarding to the Obama administration to fill two federal judicial vacancies.

The sixth person is Washington County Circuit Court Judge Marco Hernandez, who was on an earlier, larger list of candidates under consideration for these two vacancies. Hernandez also had been up for a federal judgeship in the final year of the Bush administration.

The other five names already on the list, chosen by a 13-member local selection committee, are Oregon Supreme Court Justice Tom Balmer, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Henry Kantor, Lane County Circuit Judge Karsten Rasmussen, corporate lawyer Michael Simon and federal public defender Steven Wax.

"As the senior senator from my state, in addition to the five names recommended by the committee, I have chosen to add a sixth candidate to my list who I believe is very worthy of consideration: Judge Marco Hernandez," Wyden wrote (PDF) White House Counsel Greg Craig. "Judge Hernandez was not only highly-ranked during the most recent committee selection process, he also was nominated for a Federal District Court vacancy by President Bush during the 110th Congress after Senator Smith's bipartisan judicial selection committee recommended him for the vacancy. Although his nomination was made late in the session and was not acted upon before adjournment of the 110th Congress, I believe his previous nomination deserves deference and Judge Hernandez should be considered along with the other top candidates for the two current judicial vacancies."

Wyden had been under some pressure from women, gays and African Americans for forwarding the names of five straight white guys to fill Oregon's vacancies. One of Oregon's retiring judges, Ancer Haggerty, is African-American.

Wyden plans to interview all six candidates in August.
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