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9th Circuit nominee Johnstone appears at Senate Judicial hearing

University of Montana law professor Anthony Johnstone, a nominee for a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, appeared at a sparsely attended Oct. 12 Senate hearing on his confirmation, held during a congressional recess.

Reuters reports that only two lawmakers attended the hearing in person, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill. The Senate was set to be in session when the hearing was originally scheduled before a campaign season recess was called. The hearing stayed on the schedule despite Republican opposition. 

President Biden on Sept. 2 nominated Johnstone, a professor at the University of Montana and former solicitor for the state of Montana, to succeed U.S. Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, for whom Johnstone clerked in 1999 and 2000. Judge Thomas, who was chief judge of the 9th Circuit from 2014 through 2021, continues to serve as an active judge but plans to take senior status.

Johnstone is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School.

Five U.S. District Court nominees also appeared at the Oct. 12 hearing.