Dem Senator Delays Obama Judicial Pick

Some say Robert Menendez holding grudge

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 6, 2012 10:56 AM CST

(Newser) – President Obama is facing a battle over a judicial nominee—and his opponent is a fellow Democrat. New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez is delaying the confirmation of a judge to a federal Court of Appeals, and he hasn't given the New York Times a reason. But insiders think it may be a personal matter: Judge Patty Shwartz is in a long-term relationship with an official who investigated Menendez during an election year, and Menendez holds that the investigation was driven by politics.

"Every lawyer in the world will tell you that she’s extraordinarily qualified, a decent person and an excellent judge, and would be an asset to the circuit," says a New Jersey court official. "This was going to be words and music for her, then something happened." For a judge to be confirmed, New Jersey's senators—both Democrats—need to hand in a recommendation on the matter. It's been three months since Shwartz's nomination, and still Menendez hasn't offered the necessary paperwork; his fellow senator has applauded the nomination. Click through for details on Mendendez's possible grudge.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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