Jordan Blum for Jan. 7, 2013

Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum
Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum

President Barack Obama wasted little time in renominating 33 people for federal judgeships last week, including Baton Rouge’s Shelly D. Dick.

The renominations are necessary because the 113th Congress began this past week and all the judicial nominees who were not confirmed by the Senate by the end of the year have to start over.

“Several have been awaiting a vote for more than six months, even though they all enjoy bipartisan support,” Obama said in a prepared statement. “I continue to be grateful for their willingness to serve and remain confident that they will apply the law with the utmost impartiality and integrity. I urge the Senate to consider and confirm these nominees without delay, so all Americans can have equal and timely access to justice.”

Dick’s eventual confirmation is considered just a matter of time after Sen. David Vitter, R-La., removed his opposition.

Vitter was blocking Dick from proceeding under the hope that Obama would lose his re-election bid and a Republican could be nominated instead. Once Obama won, Vitter fully backed her.

Dick successfully went through her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last month so she could potentially bypass that process again on the way to Senate confirmation early this year.

Dick was nominated by Obama in April to become the first woman judge in the federal Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge.

She is a founding partner in Forrester & Dick, a Baton Rouge law firm specializing in litigation.

A year ago, she was one of three possible nominees recommended to Obama by Landrieu to replace the late Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson.

Dick is a veteran defense attorney in civil litigation in federal court. And she has represented both government and nongovernment clients in matters of federal employment law.

Bipartisan bill on import duties

Reps. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, teamed up to again file a bipartisan bill Friday to help prevent foreign companies from evading import duties.

The goal of the Preventing Recurring Trade Evasion and Circumvention Act is largely to help level the playing field for Louisiana’s shrimpers and agricultural producers.

The bill seeks to increase communication between agencies within the federal government and give them new tools to combat the evasion of import duties.

“These industries currently face unfair competition from abroad and suffer from a distinct competitive disadvantage,” Boustany said in the announcement.

“This bipartisan legislation increases cooperation between government agencies to combat import duty evasion harming south Louisiana’s businesses and industries.”

Boustany argued the legislation will combat “trade evasion problems” stemming from illegal imports and fraudulent circumvention of anti-dumping duties by importers of foreign goods in southern Louisiana.

“I am pleased to join Rep. Boustany in reintroducing this important legislation to ensure that our shrimp industry is not harmed by unfair and illegal trade tactics from abroad,” Richmond added.

La. gets debris funding

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Richmond announced Louisiana is getting more than $20 million for debris removal costs associated with Hurricane Isaac from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program.

The funds include $13.7 million to Plaquemines Parish for 15,386 cubic yards of vegetative debris, $4.5 million to Jefferson Parish for 54,396 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris, and $2.3 million to St. Charles Parish for the hauling of debris from public roadways.

“These are important grants for the Louisiana residents and businesses whose lives were disrupted by the damage and destruction of this storm,” Landrieu stated.

Vitter open house in Lafayette

Vitter will host an open house Tuesday at his new Acadiana regional office in Lafayette.

The new Lafayette office opened last month at 2201 Kaliste Saloom Road, Suite 201. Vitter will be present from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. to meet with constituents, but his staff will maintain office hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

“I’m excited to introduce Louisianians to my new Lafayette office and let them know we are here to assist with federal agencies like the Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, getting your Medicare and Medicaid or even getting your passport.” Vitter said in a prepared statement.

Vitter’s Acadiana office is one of seven regional offices around Louisiana.

Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.com.