U.S. Senate Confirms Larsen to Federal Court

Joan Larsen testifies in her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 6th, 2017 (from a C-SPAN.org screenshot).

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen’s nomination to the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was confirmed with a 60-38 vote.

President Trump nominated Justice Larsen on May 8, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing on September 6.

The Sixth Circuit Court is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its jurisdiction includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Like all federal Circuit Courts, the Court can be overruled only by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Larsen’s appointment will leave a vacancy on the Michigan Supreme Court. Governor Rick Snyder will appoint a replacement, followed by an election in November, 2018, to complete Larsen’s term.

In August, I wrote about how Michigan U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters finally allowed Justice Larsen’s nomination to move forward. I predicted that they would end up following their party and vote against Larsen’s confirmation. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that our Democrat Senators joined all 52 Republicans and 6 other Democrats to vote for cloture of debate as well as Justice Larsen’s confirmation.

I still believe this vote was merely based on political expedience and not the actual views of Senators Stabenow and Peters. I think that our Senators read the tea leaves and realized the political cost of voting against a popular nominee from our state, but I am still glad they did so. I am confident that Justice Larsen (now Judge Larsen) will be a tremendous addition to the Sixth Circuit Court.


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