January 28, 2013

Portland lawyer reconsidered for federal bench

By Tom Bell tbell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday will consider the renomination of William Kayatta to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday.

click image to enlarge

Portland lawyer William Kayatta has been nominated by President Obama to fill a seat on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

2002 Staff File Photo

The committee is expected to vote on the nomination next week, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

Kayatta, a lawyer from Cape Elizabeth, was nominated nearly a year ago and received a bipartisan endorsement from the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his nomination has yet to be considered by the full Senate.

Republican leaders have invoked a rule – used by both parties over the years – in which one side blocks federal judicial nominations, typically before a presidential election.

With six full-time judges, the 1st Circuit is the smallest circuit court. Kayatta, a partner at the Pierce Atwood law firm in Portland, would replace Judge Kermit Lipez, also of Maine.

The nation’s 12 circuit courts, one step below the U.S. Supreme Court, are the final stop for most cases appealed from federal district courts because few cases reach the Supreme Court.

The 1st Circuit, based in Boston, is the court of last resort for most appeals from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island.

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