Senate hearing on Maine judge’s appointment to federal bench takes place Thursday

Jon D. Levy
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Posted Dec. 19, 2013, at 11:05 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 19, 2013, at 1:25 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A hearing on a Maine judge’s appointment to U.S. District Court that was initially blocked by Senate Republicans was held Thursday.

Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Jon David Levy of Portland is among five judges who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for appointment to the U.S. District Court bench.

On Wednesday, just hours before the hearing was to begin, Republicans on the Senate floor invoked a so-called “two-hour rule,” which requires Senate committees to gain approval to meet two hours after the full Senate convenes on any given day. The approval is usually a routine matter that happens almost daily on Capitol Hill. The approval was denied and the hearing was rescheduled for the next day.

After the hearing got underway Thursday, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, invited U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, to nominate Levy to the federal bench.

“He’s a judge’s judge, incredibly smart and analytical,” King said in nominating Levy at approximately 10:40 a.m. Thursday.

Collins followed King speaking to committee members and praised Levy for his work in family law, juvenile justice and with the Maine Bar Association.

“Justice Levy’s extensive experience as a state judge and in private practice make him extremely well qualified” for the U.S. District Court bench, Collins said.

The hearing lasted approximately 90 minutes before being adjourned.

The Judicial Committee will make a recommendation and the full Senate will vote on whether to approve Levy and the other nominees. The timetable for the process was not immediately available.

Levy, who has been an associate justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court since 2002, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the U.S. District Court, District of Maine seat in September. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Levy would replace U.S. District Judge George Singal of Portland, who announced last year he would take senior status in July of this year but continue to handle cases. Singal, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton, has served on the federal bench since 2000.

Levy would join Nancy Torresen and John Woodcock as active-status federal judges in Maine.

Levy, who earned his undergraduate degree in 1976 and his law degree in 1979 from the West Virginia University College of Law, previously served as a Maine District Court judge from 1995 to 2002. Before he was appointed to the bench, Levy worked in private practice in York from 1983 to 1995.

He began his legal career by clerking for U.S. District Court Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. of West Virginia.

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