Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo says the Senate is unlikely to vote on Idaho’s pending federal judge nominee, state Judge David Nye of Pocatello, before the November election, but a vote could come before the end of the year. “We have been working, Sen. Risch and I have been working our hardest to get that vote,” Crapo said in an interview Tuesday. “The nomination is now out of committee and waiting for floor time. I don’t believe there’s much likelihood that will happen before the election, but I do believe we will have a lame-duck session, and I believe we have a very strong potential of getting a vote on it in the lame-duck session.”
A “lame-duck” session is a session of Congress that occurs after the general election, when a new Congress has been elected, but hasn’t yet taken office. In a March article, the Washington Post described it this way: “It’s basically a month of deal-making lubricated by lawmakers who are either retiring or just lost their election and, accordingly, aren’t worried about political damage.” The Post reports that House Freedom Caucus members have been railing against holding the lame-duck session this year – they’ve been held every two years since 1994, often due to unfinished business on basic appropriations. Wrote the Post: “They’d rather get nothing done than something that they don’t agree with.”
Idaho has been down to just one active federal U.S. district judge since July of 2015, when longtime District Judge Edward Lodge took senior status, a move he’d first announced in September of 2014. The federal court system has declared a judicial emergency in Idaho due to the shortage of judges, and Idaho has been tapping out-of-state judges to hear Idaho cases. In addition, Lodge, 82, who intended to reduce his caseload, still is hearing cases.