President Joe Biden nominated a federal prosecutor to serve as a U.S. district judge in Kansas, but that candidate has already withdrew from consideration, citing the nearly two-year delay in the nomination’s progress.
The second judicial nominee Biden has withdrawn this month is Jabari Wamble. Last week, attorney Michael Delaney withdrew his name from nomination for the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, handing the Democratic president a rare legal setback. Delaney’s candidacy was not forwarded to the full Senate for confirmation because he did not receive enough support from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In a letter to Biden, Wamble stated that he was “humbled and honored by the faith you placed in me with this nomination,” but added that he was withdrawing from consideration for appointment to the Kansas U.S. District Court. “My path to this nomination began more than 18 months ago, and after careful thought and consideration I feel that it is best for me to continue my work at the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Kansas,” he wrote in a letter dated Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the White House declined to provide an explanation for Wamble’s resignation. The American Bar Association, which grades applicants for federal judgeships, is anticipated to give Wamble a “not qualified” label, according to an official familiar with his confirmation procedure. Wamble does not have a recognized rating from the ABA. The official discussed a private process under the condition of anonymity.
According to White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates, Wamble is “a deeply qualified attorney who has served with distinction as a prosecutor at the state and federal level in Kansas, who received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Kansas, and who has dedicated his life to serving the people of Kansas.” Wamble is one of the nominees that Biden is proud of. Earlier in the Biden administration, Wamble was initially nominated to fill a seat on the circuit court, but the nomination lapsed before he could be confirmed by the Senate. Later, he received a nomination for Kansas’ district court position.
Wamble’s withdrawal was first reported by Politico. Federal judicial expert Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, said he was “puzzled” by the withdrawal. With more than ten years of experience working as an assistant U.S. attorney—often a step on the way to becoming a federal judge—Wamble seems well equipped, according to Tobias. It is confusing to me that Wamble was appointed to the federal bench despite the fact that many others with comparable qualifications had served in Republican and Democratic administrations.
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