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Democrats were quick to pounce on the judicial nomination last week of Noel Hillman, the Justice Department public integrity chief supervising the Jack Abramoff probe. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) cited the departure in issuing calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case. But Hillman’s nomination to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey shouldn’t come as a surprise. He was recommended by a selection committee set up by New Jersey’s two Democratic senators long before the indictments of Abramoff and his associate Michael Scanlon. Hillman’s slot was one of a package of four Garden State judicial vacancies held up first by a geographical dispute between the White House and New Jersey’s two senators and then, according to the Star-Ledger, by questions over another nominee’s background. Replacing Hillman at public integrity is his predecessor, Andrew Lourie, who stepped down as section chief in 2002 to head the West Palm Beach office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. �, New Jersey Law Journal
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected]. Michael Booth is a reporter for the New Jersey Law Journal , a sister ALM publication.

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