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Obama nominates Judge Landya McCafferty to fill vacancy at Concord’s U.S. District Court

President Obama has nominated Judge Landya McCafferty to fill the judicial vacancy at Concord’s U.S. District Court. If confirmed, she would become the first woman to serve in the position.

McCafferty is a magistrate judge at the court where she has now been nominated to serve in a higher role. She would fill the spot left open in April when Judge Stephen McAuliffe took “senior status,” a form of semi-retirement.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who recommended three possible nominees to the president in March, as well as Sen. Kelly Ayotte applauded the nomination yesterday.

“Judge Landya McCafferty is an incredibly qualified and accomplished individual with extensive federal court experience,” they said in a joint press release. “Her nomination is a testament to her impeccable credentials and we are confident that she will serve the federal bench well. We look forward to supporting her historic nomination and urge the Senate to conduct a swift confirmation.”

The process, though, is likely to be drawn out due to a compounding backlog of federal judicial vacancies spurred by Republicans in the U.S. Senate who have blocked nominations. Many nominees have waited a year or more for confirmation.

McAuliffe, who took senior status after being appointed to the bench in 1992, has agreed to keep his full caseload until a replacement is confirmed, according to the court’s chief clerk.

McCafferty has a long history in New Hampshire and started her political career as a clerk for Judge Norman Stahl in the court where she now works. She later worked for Stahl at the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. McCafferty was an attorney for the New Hampshire Public Defender from 1995 to 2003 and worked as counsel for the state’s attorney discipline office from 2003 to 2010.

She was nominated as a magistrate judge in 2010. Shaheen and Ayotte said in that position McCafferty has become a national leader in using technology to achieve a more effective and paperless workflow.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

McCafferty should withdraw. The fact that she allowed the Attorney Discipline Office to purposefully cover-up for state prosecutors, including Ayotte, during her tenure as counsel, raises many questions as to her ethical judgment and commitment to the rule of law. AG Eric Holder made a special trip to New Hampshire last May to discuss, among other things, the goings on at the ADO with US Attorney Kacavas, but chose to take no action. This also questions Senator Shaheen's judgment for she initiated an investigation of Ayotte and the ADO after reviewing extensive documentation as to the ADO's handling of complaints. Info: Google: Did AG Eric Holder Shutdown the Investigation of Senator Ayottte?

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