A state court judge in Washington State and a law clerk to a federal judge in Rochester, New York, both nominated by President Joe Biden withdrew their names from further consideration to become federal court judges.
Spokane County, Va., Superior Court Judge Charnelle Bjelkengren and Colleen Holland of Rochester were two of five candidates whose nominations for lifetime positions on the bench expire at the end of 2023 and were not among the 18 candidates. White House It was brought back to the Senate for consideration on Monday.
While the fate of the other three is uncertain — Biden could still nominate them later — Bjelkengren and Holland confirmed to Reuters in separate emails that they had asked the White House not to resubmit their names to the Democratic-led Senate.
Bjelkengren, who was elected to serve in Washington’s Eastern District, drew Republican opposition in January 2023 after failing to answer questions during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Constitution of Louisiana Sen. John F. Kennedy.
“I asked the president not to run again because of the uncertainty of my confirmation and to advance the important work of the federal judiciary,” Bjelkengren said. “My hope is that the next candidate will be confirmed soon.”
Holland called his decision to withdraw from the discussion a “carefully considered personal decision.”
The Rochester native was nominated to fill a vacancy on the US District Court for the Western District of New York on the recommendation of two New York Democratic senators, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Holland was 39 when he was nominated, making him one of Biden’s youngest judicial nominees to serve on the bench for life.
A spokesman for Schumer said Tuesday that the senator respected Holland’s decision and would “move expeditiously with the administration to nominate an individual to this important judicial position.”
Holland has served on the district court since 2014, chiefly clerking for Chief Judge Elizabeth Wolford, appointed by former President Barack Obama, the first woman to serve on the court.
At the time of his candidacy, he served as a special adviser to the judge, and since 2018 has worked with him as a career lawyer.
Other candidates who were not renominated on Monday included Mississippi state attorney Scott Colom, whose nomination was blocked last year by fellow Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.
The other two candidates are District of Columbia Supreme Court Judge Todd Edelman, nominated for a federal judgeship in Washington, and San Diego Superior Court Judge Marian Gaston, nominated for the US District Court for the Southern District of California.
Kolom declined to comment. Other candidates could not be contacted.