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SENATE HURDLE: Former Bay Cityan Myra Selby's Nomination Also Pending

"Take Confirmation Process Out of :Politics": - GOP Senator Says

February 14, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Myra Selby

The U.S. Senate has not yet acted on a confirmation vote on the nomination of former Bay Cityan Myra Selby to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.

As the focus of the nation turns to the Senate in the wake of the death of Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice, critics note that the political process regarding confirmation of Presidential appointees is slow and subject to political considerations up and down the line.

GOP Senator Dan Coats of Indiana aims to break such logjams by having an impartial judicial commission make the nominations, a suggestion sure to raise opposition in his own ranks as well as among Democrats. However, removing the President from the process would be an unprecedented move in violation of the U.S. Constitution. To change it would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures..

Article Two of the United States Constitution places the power of appointing Justices with the President of the United States, stating:

"he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law..."

On Jan. 12, 2016, President Obama nominated Justice Myra C. Selby and Donald K. Schott to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

"These individuals have displayed exceptional dedication to the legal profession through their work, and I am honored to nominate them to serve the American people as judges on the United States Court of Appeals," President Obama said. "They will be diligent, judicious and esteemed additions to the bench."

Noting that Winfield Ong of the U.S. attorney's office in Indianapolis also had been nominated for the federal appeals court, the Indiana Lawyer publication commented: "However, getting the Hoosiers confirmed this year might be an impossible task. Historically, the Senate halts the process during a president's last year in office, especially when the majority in the upper chamber is of a different party.

The rancor between the Senate and Obama is especially strong and nominations have been stalled since Republicans assumed power. Clogging the process even more is the question of whether Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats is going to support Selby.

Coats said the process of selecting a nominee for the 7th Circuit should be turned over to a commission because the appellate court has not been declared as having a judicial emergency.

"The citizens of Indiana will be best served by a nomination process that is taken completely out of politics," Coats said in a statement. "We still have time to establish an equitable process for the remainder of this Congress. Myra Selby's nomination should be considered by an Indiana Federal Nominating Commission."

A total of 19 appointments to the high court have been made and confirmed by the Senate in the last year of a Presidential term in the past century, notes Amy Howe in

Justice Myra C. Selby is a former associate justice of the Indiana Supreme Court and currently a partner at Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she practices commercial litigation with an emphasis on health care.

The daughter of Archie Selby and the late Ralph I. Selby, Justice Selby was graduated from Bay City Central High School in 1973 and received her B.A. in 1977 from Kalamazoo College and her J.D. in 1980 from the University of Michigan Law School. After graduating from law school, she practiced in the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP from 1980 to 1983.

In 1983, Justice Selby joined the Indianapolis law firm of Ice Miller Donadio & Ryan (now Ice Miller LLP), where she was an associate in the Health Care Group from 1983 to 1988 and partner from 1988 to 1993.

From 1993 to 1994, Justice Selby served as the Director of Health Care Policy for the State of Indiana under Governor Evan Bayh. As Director of Health Care Policy, she was responsible for policy development and the execution of state health care programs.

In 1995, Justice Selby was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court, where she served as both the first African-American and first woman appointed to the highest state court in Indiana. During her time on the court, she authored more than 100 majority opinions, including landmark decisions regarding tort law reform and medical malpractice claims. In 1999, she retired from the bench and returned to private practice as a partner at Ice Miller LLP.

Upon her departure from the bench in 1999, the Indiana Supreme Court asked Justice Selby to chair the newly formed Commission on Race and Gender Fairness. Justice Selby continues to chair the Commission, where she leads the Commission's efforts to study and make recommendations on increasing gender and racial fairness in the legal system.


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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