The Biden administration is expected to withdraw the appellate court nomination of Michael Delaney, according to a person familiar with the matter — a rare failure of a judicial nominee with Democrats controlling the Senate and White House.
Several Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were resisting supporting Delaney to serve on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, in part because of of his past work defending a school in a civil lawsuit over sexual assault. While it had become evident in recent weeks that Delaney did not have strong support to win confirmation, New Hampshire Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen continued pushing for his confirmation.
Delaney’s been stalled for weeks, but it became crystal-clear his nomination was near its demise after he was not called up for a vote on Thursday in the judiciary panel, which now has a working majority after the return of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Democrats can confirm Delaney unilaterally with their 51-49 majority, but that requires unanimous support at the committee level.
That never came to be, as Delaney faced an intense campaign against him. Delaney’s problems began because of his work defending St. Paul’s school in his home state during a civil suit brought by a student who alleged a sexual assault by another student.
And things spiraled from there: Delaney also was under scrutiny for his abortion positions, as well as his service on the board of a group that took strong deregulatory positions. The New Hampshire senators and the White House stuck with him amid those knocks, even as Democratic senators’ views curdled.
Summing up the knocks on Delaney, a coalition of progressive groups on Thursday called for his rejection due to his “hostility to victims’ rights, reproductive rights, employee rights, and government regulation that is unsuitable for the lifetime appointment for which he is being considered.”
Not long after that, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) passed over Delaney once again in committee.
The White House declined to comment. Hassan and Shaheen’s offices did not immediately comment.
NBC first reported Delaney’s expected withdrawal.