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First Obama Judicial Appointment?

March 17, 2009

Sentencing.typepad.com : Here comes the Obama judges.

According to this New York Times article, “President Obama is expected to name his first candidate to an appeals court seat this week.” Interestingly, the headline for this Times report is “Moderate Is Said to Be Pick for Court,” and here are a few more particulars:

President Obama is expected to name … David F. Hamilton, a highly regarded federal trial court judge from Indiana, for the appeals court in Chicago….Judge Hamilton, who is said by lawyers to represent some of his state’s traditionally moderate strain, served as counsel to Senator Evan Bayh when Mr. Bayh was the state’s governor; he is also a nephew of former Representative Lee H. Hamilton of Indiana. A senior administration official said Judge Hamilton would have the support of both Mr. Bayh, a Democrat, and the state’s other senator, Richard G. Lugar, a Republican.

The Times article notes a recent sex offender sentencing ruling by Judge Hamilton that likely will get (too much?) attention given the modern affinity for partisan judicial confirmation battles:

In 2008, Judge Hamilton struck down as unconstitutional an amendment to the state law requiring convicted sex offenders to provide the authorities with personal information, including any e-mail addresses or user names. The amendment would also have required the offenders to agree to allow their home computers to be searched at any time and to pay for a program to allow monitoring of their Internet use.

The judge said the amendment cut into the heart of a person’s right to privacy in his home. “The ability of the individual to retreat into his home and therefore to be free from unreasonable intrusion by the government stands at the very core” of constitutional protections against unreasonable searches, he said.

I reported and linked to this ruling by Judge Hamilton in this post, where I speculated that this 52-page(!) ruling “might make its way to the Seventh Circuit and perhaps further.” I do not know if Judge Hamilton’s ruling has been appealed, though I suspect we will hear a lot more about this case if Judge Hamilton is soon tapped to move up to the Seventh Circuit.

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