This was a vote on confirming Michael H. Simon to be a U.S. District Court judge in Oregon. Under the constitution, the president has the authority to nominate individuals for federal judgeships, but a majority of the Senate must vote in favor of their nomination in order for them to be sworn into office.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) urged support for Simon’s nomination: “Quite simply, Michael Simon is a man of enormous integrity, intellectual breadth and depth, and good old-fashioned common sense and decency. Michael Simon has earned a reputation as a top lawyer in commercial litigation, appellate law, and constitutional law. He is respected nationally. He is eminently qualified for this seat. After graduating summa cum laude from UCLA, he attended Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude. He began his legal career in the Department of Justice's antitrust division, where he served as a trial attorney for 5 years. During this time, he also volunteered for and served as a special assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Mr. Simon is currently a partner at Perkins Coie in Portland, where he has worked since 1986 and earned a reputation as one of the Northwest's real legal stars. He has engaged in extensive pro bono work and has volunteered for many nonprofit organizations. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Lewis & Clark Law School, teaching antitrust law, drawing on his earlier life experience. He has also served as a pro tem judge on the Multnomah County Circuit Court. In the courts, Michael has made his name as a staunch defender of consumer protection, antitrust laws, and the first amendment. He has found the time to be deeply involved in his community, displaying a commitment to voluntarism, civic participation, and public service….In short, Michael Simon exemplifies the traits that every Federal district judge should possess--a brilliant legal mind and a heart dedicated to service, fairness, and community.”
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) opposed Simon’s nomination: “Throughout his career, Mr. Simon has advocated on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon as a pro bono attorney. But his involvement in the ACLU goes beyond mere representation of a client. Mr. Simon has been a member of the ACLU of Oregon since 1986. He is an active member of their Lawyers' Committee and served as a board member from 1997 to the year 2004, the vice president for legislation 1997 to 1998, and vice president for litigation from 2000 to 2004. I recognize that judicial nominees should not be evaluated solely on client lists or memberships, that would be very unfair. However, these are relevant bits of information about a nominee….The ACLU does hold very liberal views, and Mr. Simon has been the voice for those views. For example, Mr. Simon wrote a letter to the Tillamook County Courthouse in Oregon expressing the ACLU's concern with religious Christmas signs and decorations. The letter encouraged the county to repeal its resolution that deemed the county a `Merry Christmas County.' On issue after issue, Mr. Simon refused to disassociate himself from legal and policy positions held by the ACLU, that are far outside the mainstream. This includes the legalization of drugs, the unconstitutionality of the death penalty, the unconstitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance, the ACLU's opposition to tax exemptions for churches and extreme views regarding separation of church and state.”
The Senate confirmed Simon’s nomination by a vote of 64-35. All 53 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted “yea.” 35 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate confirmed Michael H. Simon to be a U.S. District Court judge in Oregon.