It appears that certain judges are viewed as lenient on crime, even according to President Biden. One of his picks for the Washington, DC US District Court is facing scrutiny from Senate Republicans. Despite Democrats having the necessary votes to confirm the nomination, President Biden has now distanced himself from it.
From 2010 onward, Judge Todd E Edelman has served as an associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 2016, the nomination made by former President Barack Obama for the US District Court for DC expired before confirmation. Subsequently, in July 2022, President Biden re-nominated him for the same court.
This became a contentious matter because, during the interim between the two nominations, Edelman presided over the trial of Christian Wingfield for the unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. This occurred in 2020, amid the pandemic, and Wingfield’s attorney requested the court to grant his client release.
Edelman consented and allowed Wingfield’s release with an ankle monitor. However, just a few days later, Wingfield, being part of a gang, was involved in the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy during a 4th of July celebration. While he didn’t personally discharge the firearm, he received a 9.5-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Due to his history of being lenient, Judge Edelman faced criticism from GOP senators. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) strongly criticized judges with radical and activist tendencies, including Judge Edelman, attributing them to the rise in violent crime nationwide and deeming his nomination as reckless.
During Edelman’s Senate hearing in November 2022, Blackburn pointed out that a week before he released Wingfield, another judge had denied a similar request, citing the individual as a danger to the community.
Her arguments convinced a sufficient number of senators, resulting in Edelman not garnering enough votes to advance to a full Senate confirmation. Given that the Senate Judiciary Committee had a Democratic majority, it indicates that at least one Democrat declined to support his nomination.
As a consequence, his nomination expired, and President Biden has not reinstated it. This probably marks the conclusion of Edelman’s aspirations to ascend to the District Court. While the White House has refrained from providing comments on the lapsed nomination, Senator Blackburn expressed satisfaction, stating that she is pleased Biden has now reconsidered.