Biden Administration to Nominate Federal Judge for Western District of Arkansas

The Biden-Harris Administration will soon nominate a federal district judge to fill a vacancy in Arkansas’ Western District.

U.S. District Judge Paul Holmes, III, of Fort Smith took Senior Status effective November 10, 2021.

Senior Status is a form of semiretirement for federal judges. It means the president will need to nominate a new judge to fill the position full time.

There are currently some 77 judicial vacancy in America and more than two dozens nominees pending before congress.

As of last week, President Biden has not nominated anyone to fill Judge Holmes’ position on the court.

U.S. District Court nominations rarely receive very much attention, but they are critical judicial positions.

When a state law is challenged in federal court, district judges are the first to hear the case. Right now many of the district judges in Arkansas — including U.S. District Judges Paul Holmes, James Moody, and Kristine Baker — are Obama appointees.

Because our district courts lean to the left, Arkansas often loses court cases over abortion and other social issues at the lower level, but we get better rulings from the more conservative judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It doesn’t look like those dynamics are going to change under President Biden. However, it will be interesting to see who he nominates to replace Judge Holmes in the coming weeks.

President Trump Names Sen. Tom Cotton, Others as Possible Supreme Court Nominees

On Wednesday President Trump released the names of 20 potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees he is adding to the short list he created in 2016.

Among those named as potential Supreme Court justices is U.S. Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas.

In response, Sen. Cotton released a statement, saying, “I’m honored that President Trump asked me to consider serving on the Supreme Court and I’m grateful for his confidence. I will always heed the call of service to our nation. The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom, and erodes the Second Amendment.”

In his remarks, President Trump said the 20 individuals he named would be jurists in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito.

The Trump Administration has made several judicial nominations that impact Arkansas — including Judges Lee Rudofsky, Steve Grasz, David Stras.

Judge Grasz was one of the three judges last month who unanimously decided to unblock four pro-life laws Arkansas passed in 2017. The laws currently are not being enforced pending a hearing before the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

At this point there’s nothing to suggest that President Trump will be making another U.S. Supreme Court nomination anytime soon, but it’s good to know which potential nominees his administration might consider.

You can find the names of all 20 additions to the president’s short list of possible judicial nominees here.