Christen confirmed to 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

By December 15, 2011Crime & Courts

Judge Morgan Christen. (Photo courtesy Alaska Supreme Court)

The U-S Senate voted overwhelmingly 95-3 to confirm Judge Morgan Christen to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today (Thursday).

Alaska’s Senators sung her praises on the Senate floor before the vote. Republican Lisa Murkowski noted the ground-breaking significance Christen’s seating on the court.

“This is really, Mr. President an historic nomination,” said Murkowski. “Only two Alaskans have had an opportunity to serve on the 9th Circuit. And both those judges were somewhat predictably men.”

Christen had been a justice on the Alaska Supreme Court since 2009. She was appointed by former Republican Governor Sarah Palin. Earlier in her career, Christen was appointed to the state Superior Court bench by Democratic Governor Tony Knowles.

Democratic Senator Mark Begich – who recommended Christen to President Obama – spoke of her volunteer work and philanthropy in Alaska.

“I’ve known Morgan for years and am continually impressed by her keen legal mind, her outstanding record of public service and her ability to carve plenty of time out of her schedule for extensive volunteer work,” Begich said.

The seat on the 9th Circuit has been vacant for 18 months since Judge Andrew Kleinfeld took senior status. The court has jurisdiction over much of the west, including Alaska, California, Washington and Montana. It’s headquartered in San Francisco and is the largest of the nation’s 13 courts of appeals.

Judicial confirmations have been happening slowly in the Senate because they’ve become political cannon fodder. A handful of Republicans have intentionally held up votes, even when the judges’ actual nominations aren’t controversial.

The “no” votes for Christen came from conservative Republican Senators Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky and David Vitter of Louisiana.

Recent headlines

  • Police form a line near Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, amid Unite the Right protesters and counterprotesters on Aug. 12, 2017.

    Can police prevent the next Charlottesville?

    "We saw it coming,” said a Virginia officer, but they couldn’t stop it. Still, law enforcement experts say measures can be taken — even when protesters are armed.
  • An Alaska Airlines plane at Juneau International Airport.

    Alaska Airlines pilots plan picket over lack of compensation

    Alaska Airlines pilots have reached a breaking point in negotiations with the company, and now have plans to picket outside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The pilots plan to picket starting at 1 p.m. Monday outside the airport in Anchorage.
  • Obadiah Jenkins tries to help Daniel Hartung pull himself from Six-Mile Creek in Hope. (Photo courtesy James Bennett)

    Homer resident saves kayaker’s life on Six-Mile Creek

    Jenkins was taking a practice run through the class four rapids when a bystander filming the event, noticed another participant, Daniel Hartung, 64, of Indian Valley, flipped out of his kayak and became pinned under a log.
  • Vigor Alaska Shipyard Development director Doug Ward talks with Marine Transportation advisory board member Greg Wakefield inside the not-quite-finished Alaska Class ferry Tazlina. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)

    Alaska class ferry Tazlina on track at Ketchikan shipyard

    The Tazlina is the first of two new Alaska Class ferries that the Ketchikan Vigor Alaska shipyard is building for the state. Its two halves are complete and welded together, and shipyard workers are busy getting interior spaces done.
X