WASHINGTON — Barring unexpected problems or delays, Nancy Torresen will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Monday as a new U.S. District Court judge for Maine.

That is when the Senate is scheduled to vote on Torresen’s nomination, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee approved Torresen’s nomination in May.

The pace of floor votes for judicial nominees is slow, and it is not unusual for a nominee to win committee approval but wait months for a Senate vote.

A Judiciary Committee spokeswoman said after Torresen’s nomination was cleared in May that Torresen and four other judicial nominees approved that day joined 14 nominees already awaiting Senate votes.

But with the unanimous committee approval and support from Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, Torresen’s nomination now is virtually certain to be confirmed, said Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond Law School and an expert on federal judicial nominations.

Tobias said Senate Republicans are not even asking for a separate roll call vote on her nomination. Instead, she will be packaged with other nominees and approved by a unanimous consent motion.

Torresen, an assistant U.S. attorney, was nominated by President Obama in early March to fill the seat being vacated by Judge D. Brock Hornby. Hornby, who was nominated in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush, went on senior status last year but has continued to handle a full caseload.

After learning Tuesday that Torresen’s nomination was scheduled for a vote, Collins said in a statement, “As Nancy ably proved during her hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, she is eminently qualified to be confirmed as U.S. District judge for Maine.”

Snowe said via email that in replacing Hornby, Torresen will take the seat of a judge “who has served our state with the highest distinction for more than 20 years.”

Maine’s legal community is awaiting a White House nomination for a U.S. Circuit Court opening. Democratic Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree recommended in May that Obama nominate a Maine Supreme Judicial Court justice or a Portland lawyer to fill Maine’s seat on the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Maine Democrats, who make judicial nomination recommendations to the Democratic administration because both senators are Republicans, forwarded the names of Justice Jon Levy of Portland and William Kayatta Jr. of Cape Elizabeth, a partner in the Pierce Atwood law firm in Portland, as candidates for the seat being vacated by Judge Kermit Lipez.

The president has not yet nominated anyone for the seat. Lipez will assume senior status by Dec. 31, or when his replacement is confirmed.


MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: j[email protected]

Twitter: Twitter.com/MaineTodayDC.