Tuesday, November 12, 2013

D.C Circuit

Below I'm re-posting the biographies of President Obama's three stellar nominations to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, that I previously posted back in June when they were announced.

Today 41 Senators voted to refuse to allow the nomination of Nina Pillard to come up for a vote. That means she cannot yet be confirmed, despite support from a solid majority. In October the Millett nomination was blocked by a similar-sized minority, and the nomination of Robert Wilkins is also looking doubtful.

It's almost as if the Senate Republicans were begging the majority in the Senate to change the rules. But watch them act surprised and outraged when it finally happens.

Nina Pillard (from the Georgetown Law School website):
Professor Cornelia T.L. ("Nina") Pillard joined the Georgetown Law faculty after a decade as an accomplished litigator. Pillard's Supreme Court work includes more than twenty-five cases that she has briefed and nine that she has argued before the Court. Litigation highlights include United States v. Virginia (1996), which opened the Virginia Military Institute to women, and Nevada Dept. of Social Svcs. v. Hibbs (2003), sustaining Family and Medical Leave Act rights against constitutional challenge. Pillard is Faculty Co-Director of the Supreme Court Institute, which assists lawyers from around the country in preparing for Supreme Court arguments, without regard to issue or position.
Pillard served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel (1998-2000); and Assistant to the Solicitor General (1994-1997). She also represented Georgetown as inaugural Academic Co-Director and Professor at the Center for Transnational Legal Studies (CTLS) (2008-2009). CTLS is a London-based semester academic program for law students from the U.S. and around the world.
A magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Pillard began her legal career in a federal clerkship with the Honorable Louis H. Pollak (1987-1988), held the Marvin M. Karpatkin fellowship at the ACLU (1988-89), and litigated individual and class-action racial discrimination cases and appeals at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc (1989-1994). Professor Pillard teaches Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and a new seminar on corporate and multi-stakeholder efforts to assure that jobs in global value chains are abundant, fair and safe.

Hon. Robert L. Wilkins (from the D.C.District Court website):

Judge Wilkins was appointed United States District Court for the District of Columbia on December 27, 2010. A native of Muncie Indiana, he obtained his B.S. cum laude in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Following graduation, Judge Wilkins clerked for the Honorable Earl B. Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. He later served as a staff attorney and as head of Special Litigation for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and he also practiced as a partner with Venable LLP, specializing in white collar defense, intellectual property and complex civil litigation.
During his tenure with the Public Defender Service and in private practice, Judge Wilkins served as the lead plaintiff inWilkins, et al. v. State of Maryland, a civil rights lawsuit against the Maryland State Police. This lawsuit resulted in two landmark settlements that were the first to require systematic compilation and publication by a police agency of data for all highway drug and weapons searches, including data regarding the race of the motorist involved, the justification for the search and the outcome of the search. These settlements inspired a June 1999 Executive Order by President Clinton, Congressional hearings and legislation that has been enacted in over half of the fifty states.
Judge Wilkins also played a key role in the passage of Public Law No. 107-106, establishing the National Museum of African American History and Culture Plan for Action Presidential Commission, and he served as the Chairman of the Site and Building Committee of that Presidential Commission. The work of the Presidential Commission led to the passage of Public Law No. 108-184, which authorized the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This museum will be the newest addition to the Smithsonian, and it is scheduled to open in 2015 between the National Museum of American History and the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
Judge Wilkins has received numerous honors and awards, including being named one of the “40 under 40 most successful young litigators in America” by the National Law Journal in 2002 and one of the “90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 years” by the Legal Times in 2008.

Patricia Millett (from Akin Gump's website):

Patricia A. Millett heads Akin Gump’s Supreme Court practice and co-heads the firm’s national appellate practice. She has argued a total of 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and approximately 36 in the courts of appeals. She has briefed scores of cases in the Supreme Court and appellate courts across the nation.

From August 1996 to September 2007, Ms. Millett served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Office of the Solicitor General at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. During that time, she was awarded the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for representing the interests of the United States Government before the Supreme Court in July 2004, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Division, Special Commendation for Assistance and Support in the Activities of the Division, in September 2005.
Prior to her employment with the Office of the Solicitor General, Ms. Millett worked for four years in the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Appellate Staff, where she briefed and argued more than 20 cases before the federal courts of appeals and, occasionally, state appellate courts. Before that, she clerked for two years for the late Judge Thomas Tang, on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. She also worked for two years in the litigation department of a Washington, D.C. law firm.

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