President Barack Obama nominated U.S. Attorney David J. Hale and Bowling Green lawyer Greg Stivers, a close friend and supporter of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, to fill federal district judgeships in Kentucky.
Hale, a Democrat, was confirmed as U.S. attorney in 2010 by unanimous consent of the Senate, while Stivers was a registered Democrat until November 2009, when he switched to the Republican Party to support Paul as he was mounting his Senate campaign.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said: “Since these vacancies occurred, I have maintained in my consultations with the White House that they be filled with respected, mainstream Kentucky lawyers who understand that their proper role is to faithfully interpret the law, not re-write it or rule according to their personal preferences. Mr. Hale and Mr. Stivers meet these criteria and will serve our Commonwealth well. I am glad the Administration, Senator Paul, and I were able to work together to fill these important positions.”
Paul also praised Hale and Stivers in a statement: “Both of these nominees understand the role of a judge and will approach the job with the sense of justice expected by those who enter their courts. This announcement is an example of all sides — including Senator McConnell and the White House — coming together for the good of the Commonwealth and the country.”
Hale and Stiver would fill two of the four vacancies on the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky. It was reported in April that Courtney Baxter, the commonwealth’s attorney in Oldham, Henry and Trimble counties, was being vetted for a third vacancy in a seat that serves both the western and eastern districts.
The White House issued a statement Thursday saying that Obama was confident that Hale and Stivers will “serve the American people with integrity and a steadfast commitment to justice.”
Federal district judges are paid $199,100 a year and are appointed for life.
Paul and Stivers are neighbors, and Paul’s Bowling Green Senate office is in a building that also houses Stivers’ law firm. Stivers contributed $800 to Paul’s campaign, according to federal records.
Reporter Andrew Wolfson can be reached at (502) 582-7189