Senator Says Senate Will Move Ahead With Controversial Biden Judicial Nominee

Michael Delaney was in peril as parents of sexual assault victim spoke out

Biden circuit court nominee Michael Delaney / Senate Judiciary Committee
March 6, 2023

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) says the Senate will move ahead on President Joe Biden’s controversial judicial nominee Michael Delaney, who is under criticism for unmasking a sexual assault victim.

Shaheen, who introduced Delaney to the Senate Judiciary Committee with fellow New Hampshire senator Maggie Hassan (D.), said Monday that the Senate is "moving forward" with his nomination, according to Politico.

Delaney represented St. Paul's School in New Hampshire in a 2016 lawsuit filed by student Chessy Prout, who was sexually assaulted as a freshman at the school. Prout requested anonymity during the civil trial, but Delaney opposed the motion.

His conduct during that trial led to an outcry from victim’s rights organizations, Republicans, and the Prout family. Despite voicing support for Prout in the past, Shaheen and Hassan commended Delaney’s "commitment to justice" in a letter introducing him to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Shaheen said Monday Delaney would be an "excellent judge," according to Politico.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took a more close-lipped approach when asked Monday about Delaney’s status, telling reporters, "There have been some important issues raised."

"I think he needs to be treated fairly," Durbin said. "Let’s wait and see."

Democrats face a tough balancing act with judicial nominees given current Senate dynamics. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who raised concerns about Delaney, is hospitalized in her home state with a case of shingles. Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) is also missing after checking into Walter Reed Hospital for depression.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has no hearings scheduled for judicial nominees in March. Chessy Prout published an op-ed in the Boston Globe earlier this month entitled "I know Michael Delaney. After what he did, he doesn’t deserve to be a judge."

"Biden’s nomination as well as the nominee’s support from Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire show me and other survivors that they approve of what Delaney and St. Paul’s School put me and my family through, which is far from my initial impression of their values," Prout wrote.