Obama TN judge nominees win Senate committee approval

Two Tennessee lawyers nominated by President Obama to U.S. District Court seat got favorable reviews Wednesday in a U.S. Senate committee hearing, where they had the support of Tennessee Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.

Nashville attorney Waverly Crenshaw Jr. is nominated for a Middle Tennessee judgeship left open by the retirement of William Joseph Haynes Jr. Travis McDonough, chief of staff for Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, would fill an East Tennessee seat vacated by Judge Curtis Collier.

From The Tennessean:

Crenshaw, who specialized in labor and employment law while in private practice, has been endorsed by Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, and Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Tennessee Republicans.

His support from both sides of the aisle is significant. The process of filling judicial vacancies elsewhere in the country has bogged down because home-state Republican senators and the White House have clashed over individual nominees.

“We worked very closely with them throughout the process,” Corker said of his discussions with the White House on Crenshaw. “I’m very appreciative of the caliber of people who have been nominated and I’m sure will be confirmed.”

Crenshaw originally applied for the judgeship through Cooper back in February 2014, according to his written statement to the Senate.

…”These are men of good character and good temperament,” Alexander said.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who watched Wednesday’s hearings, said he expects the Judiciary Committee will approve both Tennessee nominees, but it’s unclear when the full Senate would act.

“The nominees are both experienced courtroom advocates who answered the questions easily and well,” Tobias said. “I saw no red flags.”

Note: Corker’s news release on the nominees (and a video of his statement supporting them) is HERE.