Edward C. DuMont, a partner at a prominent Washington law firm, was nominated by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the first openly LGBT person to be nominated to serve on a Federal appellate court. That was 18 months ago. At the end of the last session, the nomination was returned to the White House as all pending nominations are at the end of a Congressional session, but Obama nominated DuMont again for the seat on the court earlier this year. In those 18 months, the Senate has taken no action on the nomination, not even granting Mr. Dumont so much as a Judiciary Committee hearing. In light of this continuing lack of action, DuMont wrote to the President last week asking that his nomination be withdrawn so that another nominee that can more easily be confirmed can be put forth so the work of the court is not impaired by the already long standing vacancy.
The American Bar Association rates judicial nominees on their qualifications and the ABA rated DuMont not just well qualified, but unanimously well qualified. He has an A.B. from Yale and earned his J.D. at Stanford Law. After law school, he clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. He went on to be an Associate Deputy Attorney General for the U.S. in the Solicitor General's office with a focus on computer crimes, e-commerce and privacy under Seth Waxman. In that role, he argued 18 cases before the justices of the Supreme Court. Had he been confirmed, he would have sit on the specialty Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that hears appeals for cases dealing with copyrights, patents, trademarks, and other cases from the Court of Federal Claims. It was reported when he was nominated that his confirmation was expected to be uncontroversial because the Court on which he would sit has very limited jurisdiction compared to other Federal appellate courts.
Spokesmen for the Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee say that Republicans are holding up the nomination, but the Republicans counter that Chairman Leahy can call for a hearing at any time. Earlier this summer, a committee spokeswoman said, "Chairman Leahy has been prepared to move forward with this nomination for months, but has been trying to accommodate committee Republicans, who continue to not want to move forward with the nomination;" however, a spokeswoman for Senator Chuck Grassley, the committee's ranking Republican, asserts, "There are questions in Mr. DuMont's background investigation that have to be resolved."