"Senate confirms White as federal judge in Missouri," is the AP report, via the Columbia Daily Tribune.
A former Missouri Supreme Court judge whose two previous nominations to the federal bench were blocked in Washington was confirmed a U.S. District Court judge yesterday.
The U.S. Senate voted 53-44 in support of Ronnie White’s nomination by President Barack Obama. White, 61, was previously nominated to the post by President Bill Clinton in 1997 and again in 1999. The St. Louis native and former state lawmaker was the first black judge on the state Supreme Court, serving there from 1995 to 2007, including two years as chief justice.
White now is a lawyer in private practice in St. Louis.
Former Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri, a Republican member of the influential Senate Judiciary Committee, helped derail White’s second nomination. The former Missouri governor said White, a Democrat, was “pro-criminal” and an activist judge who was soft on the death penalty and drug law enforcement. White’s first nomination expired when it wasn’t voted upon.
The National Law Journal posts, "Denied the Bench Under Clinton, Ronnie White is Confirmed," by Marcia Coyle.
Second chances are rare in the U.S. Senate's judicial-confirmation process. On Wednesday, Ronnie White, the first African-American judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, beat the odds by winning confirmation to a federal district court seat the Senate denied him 15 years ago.
In 1997, President Bill Clinton nominated White, then a state Supreme Court justice, to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The Senate rejected the nomination two years later after an aggressive attack led by then Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo.
Ashcroft accused White of being pro-criminal, particularly in his death penalty rulings. He bolstered the attack with opposition from local police groups. White's supporters countered that the opposition was based on race. Ashcroft subsequently convinced Republican senators to vote as a block, which doomed White's nomination.
When Ashcroft was later nominated as U.S. attorney general, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said during the confirmation hearings that Ashcroft's role in defeating White's nomination was "the ugliest thing that has happened to any nominee in all my years in the U.S. Senate."
Earlier, unrelated, news from Missouri is also available.