Judge Kathleen O’Malley is finally expected to be confirmed today by the full Senate to a seat on the Federal Circuit. As part of a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), many judicial nominees that have been languishing will receive confirmation votes. Most will be confirmed without opposition in exchange for Democrats not bringing some of the most controversial nominations to the floor.
Judge O’Malley was nominated to the Federal Circuit in March and unanimously cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee in September. She will be the first judge on the court with previous experience as a district court judge. She also brings some experience with patents and other intellectual property matters to the court.
Judge O’Malley is expected to be confirmed by the lame duck Senate without opposition. She will bring the court’s active membership to 10 with two other nominations pending. Edward DuMont was nominated by President Obama in April and Jimmie Reyna in September. Neither has received a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. These nominations will expire with the end of the 111th Congress; neither nomination should be controversial and both are expected to be renominated for the new Congress next year.