Monday, October 15, 2012

"The result is that we will end up with a bench populated only by former state court judges and lawyers from government or academia."

That's David Mandel in this article by John Pacenti about the Federal JNC and the process of picking federal judges.  He makes a point.  None of the the last three judges appointed (or the current one being vetted) come from private practice.  Do you think this is a problem?

Is it a problem that private practitioners are not applying to the federal bench? free polls 

Here's the intro from the article:

What do Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Chief U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno and former U.S. Attorney Roberto Martinez have in common? They were all political footballs when their nominations were caught between the administrations of President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. The nominations of Roberts to U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Moreno to the Eleventh Circuit expired, and Martinez found himself out of a job at the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami. The lapsed nominations were far from career killers. Roberts is now, of course, the head of the U.S. Supreme Court, Moreno runs federal courts in the Southern District of Florida, and Martinez went into private practice where he has built a reputation as one of the most respected legal minds in South Florida. But becoming a federal judge, U.S. attorney or federal marshal can be tricky and political. And it all starts with the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. Martinez was joined by fellow former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey and Tew Cardenas partner Thomas Schultz, a former JNC chairman, for a panel discussion titled “Narrowing the Field” on the commission at a meeting of the South Florida chapter of the Federal Bar Association. They said politics plays a big role in the nominating process but not at the commission level. Martinez, Schultz and Coffey have held leadership positions on the commission at one time or another. Coffey currently chairs the 21-member Southern District Conference. The panel’s consensus was that Florida led the way nationally in trying to take politics out of the task of narrowing the field of applicants for Florida’s senators to consider. Each conference recommends up to four applicants to the senators, who make a recommendation to the White House.


Anonymous said...

Please - the JNC is not political? Right, that is why it is chaired by a former US Atty who in turn had to go through the political process himself. I am sure that KC has no connection whatsoever to Senator Nelson, or for that matter, any of the other folks on the JNC.

Sure, Justin Sayfie is on there because he is such a trial machine, and not because he is a powerful Republican who has the confidence of our Republican Senator.

Oh, and yeah, the fact that Chesterfield Smith, who had been the ABA President and close confidant of the Florida Senators who used to nominate on their own, was the first chair of the JNC down here, had nothing at all to do with politics.

Please do not call bullshit on the process and then say your portion is free from politics. It is a lie and somebody should have called you on it.

If these guys are complaining (Mandel included) it is only because they are involved and are concerned about having less influence, or are not involved and are pissed because they have been shut out of the process and the judge wannabes are not asking them to lunch when nominations open up.

Anonymous said...

Private lawyers don't apply because of the pay cut involved plain and simple. Notwithstanding, there are judges on the federal bench who came from or had significant private practices - Huck, Middlebrooks, Martinez, Seitz, etc.

Also, because of the politicized nature of the process, state court judges and governemnt lawyers are seen as "safer" picks because of a known track record.

Rumpole said...

Ask Moreno if he has a problem with state court judges becoming feds. But the article is wrong. Cooke, Matthewman, Goodman, Huck, Jordan, Dube, Ted Klein -rest in peace- Seitz, all came from private Practice. The federal bench is far from over populated with former state court judges.

miami said...

chapter of the Federal Bar Association is good!
Miam Jeep

Anonymous said...

How about an option to vote for the first 3?