Senate set to vote this week on Larsen nomination

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The U.S. Senate could confirm Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen to serve on a federal appellate court as early as Wednesday, after she cleared a Tuesday afternoon procedural vote.

Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township voted to proceed with debate on Larsen’s selection for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The vote was 60-38.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has said Larsen will be one of four appeals court nominees this week that will have confirmation votes.

President Donald Trump nominated Larsen on May 8 for the 6th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over district courts in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Larsen has served on the Michigan Supreme Court for two years. She previously taught at the University of Michigan Law School for more than 10 years.

Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Larsen’s nomination by a party line vote of 11-9.

Some Democrats raised concerns about her views on executive power and her inclusion on candidate Trump’s list of possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

Trump said those on the nominee list would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, though Larsen told the Judiciary Committee she had no idea how she got on Trump’s list and was not contacted about it or her views ahead of time.

Larsen, 48, grew up in Iowa and graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law before clerking for Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

She served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel from January 2002 to May 2003 under President George W. Bush, advising the White House and attorney general on constitutional and statutory law.

Her teaching career at UM included running the school’s judicial clerkship program and the moot court program.

Tuesday’s cloture vote followed the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor from the University of Notre Dame, to serve on the 7th Circuit. The vote was 55-43.

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