Wyden and Merkley Divide on Oregonian Judge’s 9th Circuit Nomination

  Sen. Jeff Merkley has stated that he will not be supporting Washington County Judge Danielle Hunsaker for a vacant seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She was awarded the nomination in August by President Trump.  

Released November 1, the statement reads “I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Judge Hunsaker, and have received some positive references about her work. I believe, however, that a lifetime appointment to these critically important circuit court positions should be reserved for individuals with more extensive experience to draw upon. I appreciate Judge Hunsaker’s service on the state trial court bench in Washington County, but will not vote to confirm her at this time.” 

Merkley had at one time supported Hunsaker consideration for the 9th District seat., which was previously occupied by Dairmuid F. O’Scannlain, who Hunsaker had served under as a clerk.   

Regarding her nomination, O’Scannlain stated “I am delighted that the President has chosen Judge Hunsaker to fill the Oregon vacancy on this Court. I am gratified by her inclusion on the Wyden-Merkley list which should help ensure her quick confirmation by the United States Senate. It looks like the White House and the Oregon committee saw the same outstanding qualities that I saw in her when she clerked for me.”  

Both Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden opposed the previous nominee for the vacancy, federal prosecutor Ryan Bounds. Hunsaker was selected for consideration by a bipartisan committee alongside Bruce Campbell of Miller Nash Graham & Dunnand and Judges James Egan and Erin Lagesen of the Oregon Court of Appeals.   

Wyden stands by Hunsaker and has stated that he “believes Judge Hunsaker has displayed the judicial temperament needed for this position in the more than 3,500 cases the Judiciary Committee noted she has presided over.”  

The Senate is expected to vote on Hunsaker’s confirmation today.  

By Brandon Urey