Former N.H. Attorney General is Biden's pick for federal judgeship

Jan. 18—WASHINGTON — Former New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney is President Biden's nominee to fill a judicial vacancy on the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Since 2013, Delaney has been a shareholder with the McLane Middleton law firm in Manchester after serving for four years as the state's top law enforcement officer.

Former Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, had nominated Delaney to be AG after Delaney had served as the governor's legal counsel.

"He's just such a terrific guy, probably one of the most ethical people I have ever known. He is honest, has candor and is forthright. I simply can't think of anyone more deserving of this position," Lynch said during a telephone interview Wednesday.

From 1999 to 2006, before becoming Lynch's lawyer, Delaney worked in the state Department of Justice in a variety of roles, including as chief homicide prosecutor and later as deputy AG to Kelly Ayotte, a Nashua Republican.

"He always had that ability to work well with everyone. He's well respected by law enforcement and by all on the Executive Council and the Legislature regardless of which party had the majority," Lynch recalled.

"Temperament is key when it comes to judges and Mike is so even keel, he's perfectly suited for this."

A prominent Biden for President supporter in 2020, Lynch said he endorsed Delaney and added the backing of Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan played a major role in his appointment.

"Mike Delaney is exceedingly qualified to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit," Hassan and Shaheen said in a joint statement.

"His long tenure in public service, coupled with his extensive litigation experience, make him well suited to serve in this role with distinction. Michael Delaney's service to New Hampshire has made a meaningful impact in our communities."

Both senators called for speedy confirmation of Delaney.

If approved, Delaney would replace Jeff Howard, a Salisbury Republican and former New Hampshire AG who retired as a full-time judge to take senior judicial status last March 31.

A pick of former President George W. Bush, Howard had been the only Republican on the six-person appellate court.

This latest pick is part of Biden's 29th round of nominations to the federal bench, bringing to 154 the number he's offered for confirmation during his first term.

The White House said Biden confirmed more judges to lower federal courts during his first year in office than any President since President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals takes up cases from district courts in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island.