WASHINGTON — The search to find a new federal judge for the Middle District of Louisiana in Baton Rouge is expected to pick up next week as Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office starts actively seeking names of people interested in the job.
Landrieu’s chief of staff, Don Cravins Jr., is helping facilitate the search. People interested in the job or those recommending others are asked to reach out to him.
The plan is to accept applications and nominations through Sept. 20, with a goal of Landrieu recommending one or more people to President Barack Obama as early as this fall, but at least by the end of the year.
U.S. District Judge James J. Brady, of Baton Rouge, notified the White House a month ago that he will assume senior status at the end of this year. Judges who take senior status are permitted to shoulder a reduced case load.
By taking senior status, Brady, 69, enables the president to nominate a third full-time judge to the U.S. District Court based in Baton Rouge. The other judges are Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson and U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick, who was sworn into office earlier this year.
Following the death of Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson in July 2011, Landrieu, D-La., recommended Dick for the federal bench.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., blocked her nomination for many months pending the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. Vitter relented and supported Dick after Obama won re-election.
Dick, the first woman to serve on the federal district bench in Baton Rouge, was not sworn in until May.
As the state’s senior senator in a Democratic administration, Landrieu recommends her choices for federal judge and U.S. attorney to the president.
The Senate must confirm the president’s nomination.
Landrieu has an unofficial committee of business, legal and law enforcement leaders who help interview and vet candidates.
The search for Brady’s replacement is expected to be somewhat expedited because the same committee already is helping with the search to replace Don Cazayoux, who stepped down as the U.S. attorney for the Middle District earlier this summer in order to join a private law firm in Baton Rouge.
Applications for the U.S. attorney position were accepted through Aug. 20 and the process is in the interviewing stage in order to develop a short list of candidates, according to Landrieu’s office. The initial pool included about 20 people, but Landrieu’s office is not releasing any names at this time.
The U.S. attorney nominee for the New Orleans-based Eastern District of Louisiana, Kenneth Polite Jr., is still awaiting his anticipated Senate confirmation before he takes office.