Senate confirmation vote on Middle Georgia judge, U.S. attorney likely weeks away

Judge Tripp Self
Judge Tripp Self

Although President Donald Trump has submitted his nominations, it’ll likely be well into fall before the Senate votes on a new federal judge and U.S. attorney for Middle Georgia.

Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson already have returned “blue slips” expressing support for Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Tripp Self’s nomination. Self would fill a U.S. District Court judgeship vacancy created by Judge Ashley Royal’s taking senior status, a form of semiretirement for federal judges, last year.

Self must be interviewed during a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and be voted on by the group in a separate proceeding before his nomination reaches the Senate floor.

George Hartmann, a spokesman for the committee, estimated that Self’s hearing might be held in early to mid-September.

Self, a Macon native, served as the Macon Judicial Circuit’s chief Superior Court judge until Gov. Nathan Deal appointed him to fill a vacancy on the Court of Appeals late last year.

If the Senate confirms his nomination, Self will receive a lifetime appointment to the federal court, which handles midstate cases in a geographic swath that stretches from Georgia’s southwestern corner though Albany, Macon and Athens to the South Carolina border.

U.S. Attorney nominee Charles Peeler also must receive a favorable vote from the Senate Judiciary Committee before his nomination reaches the Senate floor. Nominated July 21, about a week after Self, it’s unclear when Peeler’s nomination will come up for a vote.

Unlike candidates for judgeships, Peeler won’t have to be interviewed at a hearing. His nomination will be considered solely on documents provided to the committee, Hartmann said.

Peeler is a founding partner of Albany’s Flynn Peeler & Phillips law firm, where he focuses on complex civil litigation and federal criminal cases.

If confirmed, Peeler will become the midstate’s top federal prosecutor.

Self and Peeler declined comment for this article.

The president hasn’t yet submitted a nomination for U.S. marshal for the Middle District of Georgia. Once a candidate has been nominated, the candidate will go through a similar process to Peeler’s, Hartman said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is made up of 20 senators with representatives from both major political parties.

Amy Leigh Womack: 478-744-4398, @awomackmacon