Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, October 24, 2003


Page 1


Nomination of Judge Dale Fischer to U.S. District Court Advances in Senate


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday unanimously approved President Bush’s nomination of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dale S. Fischer  to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Fischer, 51, cleared the committee on a voice vote, committee spokeswoman Margarita Tapia told the MetNews. If confirmed, she would fill a position created by last year’s Justice Department Appropriations Authorization Act and bring the local federal bench to full strength for the first time in many years.

Fischer said she was “honored and excited” by the committee’s action, but noted that she still has to be voted on by the full Senate. There is no timetable for floor action, although her nomination—like those of other candidates recommended by the bipartisan committee that screens district court nominees from California—has been uncontroversial from the beginning.

Nominees are recommended to the president by Gerald Parsky, an attorney and venture capitalist who chaired the president’s California campaign and now serves on Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger’s transition team.

In the judicial selection process, Parsky interviews finalists selected by majority vote of district subcommittees, each consisting of three members chosen by Parsky and two chosen by the state’s Democratic senators. The process has produced unanimous confirmations for six previous Central District nominees and for several judges from other districts as well.

Fischer is a New Jersey native who graduated from the University of South Florida and from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Women’s Law Journal. After graduation in 1980, she joined Kindel & Anderson and spent 17 years with the Los Angeles firm as a business litigator.

When that firm broke up, she joined the local office of Heller, Ehrmann, White & McAuliffe. But she was there only about two months when then-Gov. Pete Wilson appointed her to the old Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1997.

Following trial court unification in 2000, then-Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Victor Chavez gave Fischer a temporary assignment as a liaison between judges of the former municipal courts and their new Superior Court colleagues. She later was assigned to her present post, hearing felony cases at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center downtown.

One other judicial nominee, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary L. Sharpe of the Northern District of New York, cleared the committee yesterday, also on a voice vote. Sharpe, a magistrate judge since 1997, was nominated to become a district judge in the same court.

Not as fortunate were Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Henry Saad, nominated for the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Dora L. Irizarry, nominated for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Scheduled votes on their nominations were postponed.

Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, made no comment after delaying the vote on Saad for a fourth time. The president nominated Saad for one of four vacant seats on the Sixth Circuit.

Saad’s nomination process has been a rocky one. U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, attempted to block a hearing on Saad’s nomination over the summer. Hatch held the hearing despite their objections.

Levin and Stabenow were angered because former Michigan Sen. Spencer Abraham, a Republican, blocked hearings on two of President Clinton’s nominees, including one judge who waited more than four years for a hearing.

Hatch and Levin have said they are trying to work out a compromise, but neither has released any details.

Irizarry is one of a handful of Bush nominees to draw a “not qualified” rating from the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, whose chair questioned the jurist’s temperament.


Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company