Biden nominee Michael Delaney withdraws from consideration as appeals court judge

WASHINGTON — In a rare defeat for President Joe Biden on judicial nominations, Michael Delaney has formally withdrawn from consideration to be a 1st Circuit Court of Appeals judge.

“I am most respectful of the Senate’s constitutional role in considering my nomination. At this time, I believe it is appropriate for me to withdraw my name from consideration for this position to advance the important work of the federal judiciary,” Delaney wrote Thursday in a letter to Biden, which was obtained by NBC News.

Delaney’s withdrawal comes as he lacks the votes in the Democratic-led Senate to be confirmed, facing criticism about his handling of a years-old legal case involving a New Hampshire school that was sued by the family of a girl who said she was sexually assaulted.

New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both Democrats, said in a joint statement: “We strongly supported Michael Delaney’s nomination to serve as a First Circuit judge. We know personally his strong character and commitment to justice, and he earned the support of New Hampshire and national leaders, from the former Director of the Office on Violence Against Women under President Obama to New Hampshire Supreme Court justices appointed by members of both parties. We disagree with the criticism that has been leveled against him, and we are disappointed that it got in the way of confirming a highly qualified individual.”

NBC News reported on the concerns about Delaney’s nomination in early March. His nomination had been held up for months due, in part, to the medical absence of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who recently returned to Washington.

Biden has had a near-perfect record when it comes to securing approval for his judicial nominees, which require 50 senators to be confirmed. He has inked 129 federal judges so far: 94 for district courts, 34 for circuit court and one to the Supreme Court.

“President Biden put forward a deeply qualified nominee, with a long and distinguished career in public service. The White House will consult with New Hampshire’s Senators to identify a new nominee,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “The President looks forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to build on his historic record of nominating and confirming men and women who are dedicated to the rule of law and who continue to break barriers by representing the diversity of our country.”

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