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Wendy Long, counsel for the Judicial Confirmation Network, labeled Judge Hamilton a “hard-left political activist,” noting his work with the Indiana ACLU and suggesting he had an affiliation with the community organizing group ACORN.

“After college as a young man, he served one month as a canvasser for ACORN, helping them raise money door to door.

Judge Hamilton had been a partner at a private Indianapolis firm and was counsel for Mr. Bayh, who was then governor.

“President Obama is right that Democrats and Republicans can work together to put highly qualified jurists on the federal bench,” Mr. Bayh said in a statement, adding the process has become too partisan in recent years.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs outlined Tuesday the president’s philosophy on choosing judges.

“A wide variety of past experience and having the ability to empathize and walk in someone’s shoes provides valuable perspective for somebody making important decisions from the bench,” he said.