A candidate for the federal bench in Colorado nominated 19 months ago is among several nominees expected to get a Senate vote this week under a rules change aimed at speeding up confirmation of President Trump's picks for federal posts.
Daniel Desmond Domenico, nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court in Colorado, has been waiting for confirmation since September 2017.
The Denver attorney (managing partner at Kittredge LLC) and solicitor general of Colorado from 2006 to 2015, Domenico was nominated to succeed Judge Robert E. Blackburn, who moved to senior status in 2016.
Domenico, a 47-year-old Boulder native, also has served as an adjunct professor of natural resources and advanced constitutional law at the University of Denver's Sturm College of Law.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, in 2017 issued a statement supporting Domenico's nomination.
“Dan Domenico is an excellent choice to serve on Colorado’s U.S. District Court,” Gardner said then. “Dan’s dedication to the rule of law and time as Colorado’s Solicitor General make him an extremely qualified candidate that will make Colorado proud. I look forward to supporting Dan throughout his confirmation process.”
In April 2016, former President Barack Obama nominated Regina Rodriguez, a partner at Hogan Lovells, to replace Blackburn on the Denver bench, with backing from both Gardner and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado. But Senate Republicans took no action on Rodriguez, and the nomination expired when Obama left office in early 2017.
Domenico is one of six federal nominees slated to get Senate votes this week ahead of a recess.
The others are U.S. District Court nominees Patrick Wyrick, Holly Brady and David Steven Morales to serve in Oklahoma, Indiana and Texas respectively; Cheryl Marie Stanton as administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the U.S. Department of Labor; and retired U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
And additional votes may be scheduled this week.
Under a rule change carried out by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, last week, debate over district court nominees was cut from 30 hours to two hours after an initial procedural vote.
Democrats condemned the move to shorten debate time and said it would prevent them from thoroughly vetting Trump nominees, some of whom they believe have been ill-suited or unqualified for the jobs the president has assigned to them.
Democrats are particularly eager to block or delay Trump’s court picks, who they believe will skew the judicial system too far to the right.
"Underneath all the statistics, what Leader McConnell, President Trump, and Republicans in the Senate are trying to do is use the courts to adopt a far-right agenda that Republicans know they cannot enact through the legislative process," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
But Republicans point out they operated under the same shortened debate time when Democrats ran the chamber in 2013.
Mark Harden and Dan Njegomir of Colorado Politics and the Washington Examiner and The Associated Press contributed.