A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor confirms that the White House wants to start over on potential nominees for a vacant federal judgeship in Little Rock.
The White House has asked for a new list of candidates and the previous candidates have been notified of that decision. A new list will be forthcoming soon. Denise Hoggard, Amy Russell and Chris Heller were originally put forward by Pryor and then-Sen. Blanche Lincoln as potential nominees. Hoggard reached a White House interview and was initially believed the favorite of Lincoln, who was the state's senior senator. More recently, Russell, whose husband was once Pryor's chief of staff, was the subject of background checks. The judicial appointments here have carried an element of controversy from the first because of a push from some quarters for the Obama administration to appoint a black person to the bench.
The Obama administration has filled two judgeships in Arkansas so far, both white males (Price Marshall and P.K. Holmes), and has nominated a white woman, Judge Susan Hickey, to a third seat.
There will be no elaboration, I'm told, on the need for a new list. But I'm also led to understand by more than one person with knowledge of the process that some of those who expressed interest originally will be talked with again. ?!? And might this also mean people considered for an earlier slot, but not chosen, such as Miriam Hopkins and Chip Welch? I don't know.
I should add that selection, background checking, nominating and confirming a judicial appointee before the end of the president's first time becomes iffier with each passing day.