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Anti-Union Court Nominees

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While we can all be happy that the filibuster is finally dead, let’s also pay attention to just who Obama is nominating to these judgeships. Such as Patricia Millet, designer of Starbucks anti-union campaign:

“I find it troubling, because Ms. Millett and her firm Akin Gump went well beyond what I consider the bounds of decency and morality in the very aggressive anti-union campaign they really designed and helped Starbucks carry out,” Daniel Gross, a founding member of the Starbucks Workers Union, told Salon. “The campaign that Ms. Millett and her firm architected and really co-led, and continues to co-lead with Starbucks, involved all of the scorched earth tactics which are starting to come to light more and more.” The White House, the AFL-CIO and Starbucks did not provide comment on Millett’s Starbucks work in response to Thursday inquiries. Akin Gump declined to comment.

After 11 years as an assistant to the solicitor general at the federal Department of Justice, Millett joined the top-flight firm Akin Gump, whose website describes its “Labor Relations Strategic Advice and Counseling” practice as including “union avoidance” and “the defense of unfair labor practice charges …” Millett’s clients there included the coffee giant Starbucks, which faced a union campaign by the Starbucks Workers Union, an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, also known as the Wobblies).

You know, it shouldn’t be hard to find Democratic candidates for the federal judiciary who haven’t actually designed anti-union campaigns.

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  • wengler

    Even harder: Finding a justice who at any time of their life has been in a union.

  • This may be short-sighted. Generally one doesn’t blame an attorney for doing a good job for a client. And I suspect I’m not the only attorney whose experience representing my clients gives me a good view of where my clients could stand to be a tad more regulated.

    • Anon21

      Yeah, exactly. Erik, get exercised about this if you want—you’re very good at getting exercised—but this is literally no reason to think that Millet will be anything other than a doctrinaire Democratic appointee on labor issues.

      • Anon21

        Actually… getting in digs at LGM’s least useful contributor is fun, but an illustration will get the point across better. John Roberts: LGBT ally? His (successful) advocacy in favor of gay rights in Romer v. Evans might have suggested: yes! His opinion in Windsor revealed the utterly unsurprising truth: no. Lawyers are agents of their clients. Academic articles are often decent guides to a nominee’s real views, but a single matter handled by a lawyer in private practice virtually never is.

        • Bring the hate. I haven’t had enough of it lately.

          If “supporting the working class” is “least useful,” I hope to be as least useful as possible in the coming months.

          • Anon21

            If you stuck to your labor history stuff, that would be fine. Whenever you wade a few inches away from that, you immediately drown in ignorance and unearned snark.

            Also, college professors are not part of the working class. Just in case you thought your anti-MOOC stuff was somehow advancing leftist politics rather than your own self-interest.

            • Rigby Reardon

              Just in case you thought your anti-MOOC stuff was somehow advancing leftist politics rather than your own self-interest.

              Why do you think it has to be either/or? Because I see it as pretty clearly being both.

              • Anon21

                I see the motivation behind it as being on a par with doctors attempting to protect their incomes by keeping nurse practitioners from operating independently, or taxi drivers attempting to protect their incomes by restricting medallions or getting Uber banned. That is, there’s nothing noble about trying to protect one’s own income, and yet professors like Loomis yearn to pretend that they have only high-minded concerns about the quality of education in mind, and forget about the fact that fewer and fewer students can afford the wonderful education that Loomis and company are preserving for them.

                But their tactics are not as bad as doctors or cab drivers (i.e., they’re not trying to get MOOCs banned, as best I can tell), so all the anti-MOOC jeremiads are more amusing than revolting.

                • somethingblue

                  Comment needs more powdered sugar.

            • Marek

              Non-tenured professors absolutely are vulnerable to the same pressures that most “working class” people are.

              • Anon21

                Non-tenured professors typically have far better exit options than working class people, who almost uniformly advanced degrees. Not “CEO golden parachute” good, but typically better than “get trapped in a hopeless cycle of poverty for the rest of your fucking life.”

                • Anon21

                  “who almost uniformly lack advanced degrees,” I meant.

                • DrDick

                  You obviously know nothing about the academic job market.

                • Random

                  What DrDick said. You very clearly have absolutely no freaking idea what the labor market is like for academics right now. You either get tenured or you get food stamps.

                • Lortablet

                  Most adjuncts knew quite well what the academic labor market was like before getting their Ph.D., and went in anyway.

                  It is a tournament system, and had they won, they mostly would have enjoyed their high income, flexible and easy hours, and enjoyable work environment for life, without once speaking out against jacking tuition up twice as fast as inflation.

                  It is an unjust system, but one they would have happily supported if they found a tenure-track job.

                • Lortablet

                  MOOCs and online education generally are a dreadful trend, but not because they have the potential to decrease the demand for the labor of professors by increasing efficiency, but rather because they are ineffective and a boondoggle for the growing for-profit education complex.

                • LoriK

                  What was that about someone drowning in ignorance and unearned snark?

                • Anon21

                  What was that about someone drowning in ignorance and unearned snark?

                  That is all of you idiots, LoriK, who are spouting a bunch of wild bullshit based on anecdotes rather than data. Seriously, come forward with any evidence, the slightest scrap of data, showing me how poverty is anything other than an extremely marginal phenomenon among people with masters degrees or higher. It’s the Internet, so take just as long as you need. And please, if you’re honest, do come back and admit it when you can’t find any such information to back your bullshit.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  Please, tell me about the better exit strategy I overlooked when I couldn’t find a tenure-track position. Asshole.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  high income

                  ?

                  easy hours

                  ?

              • Lee Rudolph

                You obviously know nothing about the academic job market.

                It may be that Anon21, when he writes “far better exit options than working class people”, believes (wrongly about most kinds of “advanced degrees” earned by non-tenure-track academics who find they haven’t gotten tenure) that there are “exit options” outside the academy. Or maybe not; it’s hard to know what Anon21 knows…

                • Anon21

                  So your position is that there are no exit options outside the academy for these poor souls? Because the unemployment rate for workers with a master’s is a robust 3.5%, and for those with a doctoral degree it’s 2.5%. And I doubt all of those unemployed are disappointed adjuncts who failed to get tenure.

                  This “tenure or food stamps” and “adjuncts are the new working class” crap is farcical. I realize you all identify strongly with people in your social class who are facing economic difficulties, but try to maintain a sense of perspective so you don’t look like complete assholes.

                • brad

                  And let’s just ignore how the unemployment rate is defined and how many unemployed academics are no longer included in it.
                  Take your own advice, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about on this and strongly evidence a biased perspective.

                • Anon21

                  It is hilarious how adept you are at pulling hypothetical reasons out of your ass why people with advanced degrees might be as badly off as the working class, and how incompetent you are at actually checking if those reasons obtain in reality.

                  Employment-population ratio, bachelor’s or higher, end of 2012: 72.7. No readily accessible figure for masters or doctorate, but yeah—it’s higher, probably significantly.

                  Maximum civilian employment-population ratio ever recorded (April 2000): 64.7.

                  So yeah, for people with a bachelor’s or better, it’s easier to find a job today than it was for the average worker to find a job in possibly the tightest American labor market in history. And yet these people are being forced en masse onto food stamps because it’s tenure or poverty for them. That’s a very plausible story you’re telling, brad.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  It took me several years to find full time work after deciding to quit the rat race of looking for a TT position for five years before that. And I already had corporate world experience from before I went back to school.

                  It is quite clear to me that you are a) biased for reasons that are your own, and b) ignorant about the systems you’re talking about. In my experience, having a Ph.D. actually makes you *less* employable in most cases, even when the degree is in a field with commercial applications.

                  In short, anon21, you’re an asshole and you really don’t know shit about what you’re talking about. But whatevs.

                • Anon21

                  Wonderful, an anecdote! An anecdote that apparently conflates “lack of full time work” with “poverty” or “subsisting on food stamps.” An anecdote that ignores that the social and economic privileges associated with obtaining an advanced degree make one vastly more employable than a worker without a bachelor’s even if one omits any mention of the degree from one’s CV. Render unto me 1.2 million such anecdotes and… well, you still won’t have succeeded in proving you have it as bad as working class people, but you’ll at least have some data.

                  Dropping the earned snark for a moment, you seem to have missed the issue under discussion. Marek made the idiotic assertion that “Non-tenured professors absolutely are vulnerable to the same pressures that most ‘working class’ people are,” and now many have stepped forward with anecdotes or assertions which, if generalized, suggest that non-tenured professors (or those who have abandoned an academic career) may be economically disadvantaged compared to workers with professional degrees*, banksters, and rulers of oil-rich countries. Fine. That’s irrelevant to the assertion that non-tenured profs are “vulnerable to the same pressures” as working class people, or in Random’s even more hilariously overwrought formulation, “[y]ou either get tenured or you get food stamps.”

                  The fact that people are having so much trouble seeing the difference between the unavailability of their most-desired form of work and actual poverty is due to class privilege, pure and simple.

                  *PhDs are almost certainly better off than the average unemployed lawyer in terms of student debt burden, as Campos would be happy to point out.

          • Bartleby

            +1

            By all means, continue what you are doing, Erik. Fuck the haters.

            • Rigby Reardon

              Seconded.

              • DrDick

                Thirded.

                • Barry Freed

                  Now this I’ll endorse.

            • Tybalt

              Erik, you frustrate, annoy, and delight me in about equal proportions. But I sure as hell am not going to tell you what to write about. Keep working!

          • PDXTyler

            The only thing this thread confirms is the people who comment on liberal blogs by and large know jack shit about labor law and how unions work.

            • Anon21

              Tell me more about how this thread taught you that commenters don’t know jack shit about two subjects that haven’t even come up.

          • sparks

            Since you dissed the Ophuls, I’m all for smashing unions.

            I didn’t leave you, you left me!

            • I didn’t diss the Ophuls! I just need further education!

              • sparks

                You didn’t think I was serious, did you? I like La Ronde quite a lot, but there is better Ophuls available (of which you listed a couple, though I am not so enamored of any part of Le Plaisir).

    • Generally one doesn’t blame an attorney for doing a good job for a client.

      No – but you might get a hint from what type of firm said lawyer chooses to work with.

      JzB

      • My experience of sending out resumes was not exactly “choosing what firm to work for.”

      • big law Democrat

        We need to get paid

        • After 11 years as an assistant to the solicitor general at the federal Department of Justice, Millett joined the top-flight firm Akin Gump,

          Admittedly, I lean toward cynicism, but I suspect she might have had a few more options open to her, as compared to the typical person sending out a resume blast.

          Is this right or wrong?

          Given this history, don’t you think the choice is meaningful?

          Are there no top-flight firms with a better pro-labor track record?

          JzB

          • rea

            Vernon Jordan is their most prominent attorney, and he seems pretty respectable.

          • If it turns out that the things indicated about Millett’s relative non-involvement in the subject case are correct, then I am considerably relieved about her record.

    • Barry Freed

      Without endorsing anything Anon21 says in this thread, that is a relief to read you say that. Because I came here to say how completely unacceptable it is to have a judge with such views on the bench but I am obviously IANAL, so thanks.

      • I don’t know anything about the woman, she may be terrible.

        But recall all the times Republicans trotted out the “Nominee represented X client, therefore Nominee agrees 100% with X, therefore Nominee is a MONSTER!!!”

        I would like us to be smarter than that.

        • It’s not about character assassination. It’s about understanding that when you’re dealing with a particular person, past performance really is the best predictor of future performance.

          • Unless that person is a totally amoral chameleon, in which case all bets are off.

            • Lee Rudolph

              But, enough about Bill Clinton.

    • lawguy

      Generally speaking in labor law an attorney who starts out representing corporations against unions stays on that side and visa versa. So essentially what you got is an anti labor attorney who will now be a judge. Maybe she is another Black, or maybe not, but why take the chance?

      • Steph

        Her firm profile doesn’t suggest she’s a labor lawyer at all, so while you are right when it comes to employment lawyers, I don’t see how that’s relevant to Millett. She seems to be an appellate lawyer, specializing in SC advocacy.

  • Davis X. Machina

    Another crack in the glass ceiling.

    You can’t have class and gender both guaranteed to break the right way in a single candidate.

  • Marek

    You don’t get into this business if you support workers’ rights. Find someone else.

    • Lortablet

      Lawyers can do quite well representing unions and employees. Obama nominated one long-time labor union lawyer to the Central District of California, Dolly Gee.

      No candidate is perfect, but “cashing in” for a few years representing big companies for $500,000 a year is common for top lawyers, even fairly liberal ones.

      It is a black mark in my estimation, but hardly disqualifying, and many former corporate lawyers have gone on to be progressive judges. And there is also the example of Honest Abe.

  • Sockie the Sock Puppet

    You know, it shouldn’t be hard to find Democratic candidates for the federal judiciary who haven’t actually designed anti-union campaigns.

    You’d think that — just like you’d think that it ought to be easy to find a Democratic president in the last 40 years who is a full-throated advocate of the working class — but it turns out not to be the case.

    • Yeah – my take on HBO is that he’s ideologically an Eisenhower Republican, and would be an actual Republican in a world in which the actual Republicans weren’t all either tools, fools, morons or bat-shit crazy.

      He might actually be to the right of Ike, who was a firm supporter of Social Security.

      JzB

      • Scott Lemieux

        He might actually be to the right of Ike

        Yeah, no. This is like saying that JFK is a conservative because he wanted to cut 90% top marginal rates to 70%.

        • That’s a pretty awful analogy.

          Has BHO said that SS cuts are on the table? Would would a grand bargain have been like?

          Would Ike have done that?

          Can you picture BHO warning us about the Dangers of the M-I-C?

          • Scott Lemieux

            Would Ike have done that?

            Very possibly!

            • Malaclypse

              It seems very unlikely that Eisenhower, who wrote “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few other Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”, would attempt to cut social security. Particularly since the retirement of the baby boom was then 60 years distant.

              • MAJeff

                So, Texas oilmen have always been evil.

              • JKTHs

                Well, he said abolish not cut. One could argue that his logic would extend to cut but who knows.

              • SamR

                First, the idea the simply because someone’s against abolishing something they’re against cutting it doesn’t necessarily hold true. I’d imagine that’s a lot of Dems on DOD.

                Second, like your comment noted, Social Security wasn’t as strained as its becoming now. There wasn’t any good argument for cuts. I’m against cuts now, and think we should solve future funding problems by removing the cap in income subject to FICA, but I recognize its a different situation now than in the 1950s.

              • DrS

                Where are we placing the hypothetical Ike? I assume that in order to make this little exercise make sense as a comp to Obama, we are moving him to present day.

                Cause, reading that famous quotation there, I don’t see anything that says that he’d be ideologically opposed. Nor any idea that he’d be for cuts. It reads to me as nothing more than an assessment of the politics of doing so.

            • rea

              Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this–in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything–even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.–Eisenhower

              • rea

                And Mal found the quote while I was still looking for it.

            • Would Ike have done that?

              Very possibly!

              But in reality very unlikely.

              • Scott Lemieux

                But in reality very unlikely.

                Why? We know that Eisenhower did not oppose Social Security, but then in fact neither does Obama oppose a significantly more generous version. Your assumption that Eisenhower would not support any reduction in benefits in the program as it exists in 2013 in exchange for anything is based on no evidence whatsoever.

        • UserGoogol

          To flesh out that analogy more explicitly, it’s worth keeping in mind that the pre-Eisenhower Social Security program was much weaker than the present day one.

    • MPAVictoria

      “You’d think that — just like you’d think that it ought to be easy to find a Democratic president in the last 40 years who is a full-throated advocate of the working class — but it turns out not to be the case.”

      And look at where we are now. Sigh. Even our allies aren’t are allies.

  • catclub

    “You know, it shouldn’t be hard to find Democratic candidates for the federal judiciary who haven’t actually designed anti-union campaigns.”

    Next thing you’ll start saying Lanny Davis should not get Democratic campaign gigs. And where would it end? Dogs and cats living together?

    • Anonymous

      No pleasing some people. Next you’ll want a Democratic mayor of Chicago who doesn’t want to destroy teacher’s unions.

  • catclub

    of course, Millet was nominated when the filibuster was still there.
    Wasn’t part of the outrage over the GOP filibuster of her that she was a former Bush Justice Department lawyer? How could they reasonably filibuster one of their own? We can hope that future appointees will not be so ‘centrist’.

    • rd

      She wasn’t a “Bush Justice Department lawyer,” she was a long-term career DOJ lawyer, starting in the Clinton administration and continuing through much of the Bush administration.

  • rea

    Millett was head of the appellate practice section at Akin Gump, which is not a labor law boutique, but a very large (800+ lawyers)general corporate practice firm. She hasn’t focused on labor law at all in her career that I can see. I doubt very much the firm turned to the head of their appellate practice section to design an anti-union campaign for Starbucks–they have plenty of labor law specialists. I have not been able to find any support for that claim outside the linked Salon article. She was called upon at a later date to handle an appeal arising out of litigation which in turn arose from the campaign.

    There is, to my mind, an ethical distinction betwee lawyer-as-planner and lawyer-as-litigator. I have no problem defending a murderer–I’ve done it–but I would never help a client plan to kill someone and get away with it.

    • Anon21

      Oh wow, really? She handled the appeal, and they’re trying to tag her with designing the campaign? If that’s right, it’s a truly hilarious level of dishonesty and/or utter ignorance of how the legal profession works.

      • dl

        Are Anon20 or Anon22 any better? Can we try to hear from them?

        • Anon21

          Nope!

      • Ewww, exactly. If true, that’s really bad, and Loomis should apologize.

        And, good god, we’re relying on Salon here?

        • … Yeah, it really is that bad:

          After the National Labor Relations Board sided with the Wobblies on a battery of charges – including finding the company illegally fired Gross – Millett argued successfully for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to override moves by the NLRB.

        • Anon21

          Loomis should apologize.

          I wouldn’t hold your breath. His lazy intellectual dishonesty forbids him from retracting in the face of an obvious error. Way more likely that he’ll bluster into this thread to snarkily imply-without-saying that of course handling the appeal is the same as designing the campaign is the same as going out to the picket lines to personally crack a few skulls.

          • Random

            Ah, I think I see what’s going on here….

            Look, what happened between Loomis and your mother is a natural thing that adults do when they like each other. It’s normal, it’s healthy, and it’s not something to hold a grudge about.

          • Are we back in the fall of 2011 when every comment thread on my posts consisted of people debating whether I deserved to blog here?

            In any case, the comedy level you provided here is hi-larious.

            • Anon21

              Outside some of your labor-specific stuff (and maybe your environmental posts, I rarely read them), you’re a replacement-level blogger. It’s not a mortal sin, but garbage like this very post is why I don’t respect you.

              • Do you think I actually care what you think? Just stop reading then. No one is making you read this blog or my posts. If you continue in these personal attacks, I will simply delete your comments on my posts.

        • Linnaeus

          And, good god, we’re relying on Salon here?

          Josh Eidelson is a pretty good labor journalist. He may have messed up here, but that’s due to the article itself, not the fact that Salon published it.

          • Bruce Vail

            Eidelson is a good journalist. He didn’t mess up by pointing out that Millet helped Starbucks squash the Wobbly effort, which she undeniably did.

            Seems that some of the lawyers here are zeroing in on the use of the word ‘designer’ to describe her relationship of the union busting effort. Fair enough, the story doesn’t provide any evidence that she was the designer of anything — nor does Eidelson make that accusation. His article just did good job pointing out that Millett is another corporate gun-for-hire, and that she has no compunction about bringing big corporate money to bear to squash some piss ant baristas.

        • Ad journalinum?

    • rea

      (1) I want to disassociate myself from the Loomis-bashing going on here–I don’t always agree with him, but I always find him interesting and honest.

      (2) Here’s a link to the appellate opinion:

      http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8120884029963301106&hl=en&as_sdt=6&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

      You will note that the case was not a defense of the Starbuck’s antiunion program in general. On the contrary, Ms. Millett seems explicitly to have conceded that program was illegal. The issues were instead whether (1) a Starbuck’s rule limiting employees to wearing one pro-union button and not multiple pro-union buttons violated the law, and (2) whether two employees had been guilty of sufficient misconduct unrelated to the unionization campaign to justify firing them. You will note that Daniel Goss, the employee quoted in the Salon story, was found by the court to have worked fewer hours, by his own choice, than any other Starbuck’s employee in the country, and at least formally, his discharge was based on poor performance. The other discharged employee had dropped an f-bomb on his supervisor in front of customers.

      In other words, the case was not clearly an example of union busting.

      • Second Rea on (1) and (2).

        Not only is the woman an appellate lawyer, but a federal appeals court held that her client was in the right … on some rather unattractive facts, at that.

        Or should Obama tap the opposing counsel who lost the case?

        • Karate Bearfighter

          Thirded.

        • Lortablet

          “Or should Obama tap the opposing counsel who lost the case?”

          Yes, s/he probably would be a better choice.

          A long-time DOJ lawyer like her could have worked at Akin and refused to take anti-union cases. They’d make less money there, but within large firms you’re usually given some discretion on what you work on.

          I don’t blame Obama though, a probable corporate conserva-dem like her was chosen in part to provoke a the filibuster fight by showing the centrist democratic senators how necessary filibuster reform was. Nominating a Gordon Liu would not have had the same effect, and now Obama is free to start appointing them.

          • Might want to let up a bit on your namesakes.

          • Hogan

            Yes, s/he probably would be a better choice.

            Jeffrey Burritt. Licensed in DC since 2007, staff attorney at the NLRB since then.

            • Thanks, Hogan. We may take it as read that Obama is making some effort to find female nominees.

      • dl

        “In other words, the case was not clearly an example of union busting.”

        Although NLRB held to the contrary.

        • rea

          Read the darn opinon. Any functioning system of labor (or any other type of) law is going to have legal and factual issues at the margins that are legitimately debateable.

          • Lortablet

            Social and economic progress via the legal system is about pushing the “debatable margin” one way or another. Getting a NLRB decision protecting union activists from being fired is pushing society in a regressive direction “at the margins.”

      • Joe

        It is not that he isn’t “honest” — he misses the point at times and knee-jerks. True, let’s be annoyed at him for the right reasons. Still, at some point, if these replies to his OP is correct, dishonest or not, there is little “truth” in them, right?

        • rea

          he misses the point at times and knee-jerks.

          E. g., he’s a human being.

    • Karate Bearfighter

      I’d like to point out here that Millett also represented the petitioner in Gonzalez v. Thaler, (where she unsuccessfully challenged a lower court’s interpretation of AEDPA’s time limit on habeas appeals,) and the respondents in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, (where she successfully got Arizona’s “proof of citizenship for voter registration” law overturned.)

      • Thanks, K.B.! Good to know. The latter, surely, was sufficient reason for the GOP to oppose her, on the client = lawyer theory.

    • Alex

      It’s not even a given that Akin Gump was involved in planning of the anti-union campaign, let alone Millet.

      All that we know is that Millet worked on an appeal which was found to be meritorious.

  • Hogan

    Daniel Gross . . . where have I heard that name?

    • rea

      Well, yeah–it was the IWW that was trying to organize Starbucks

  • Random

    You know, it shouldn’t be hard to find Democratic candidates for the federal judiciary who haven’t actually designed anti-union campaigns.

    But it is hard to find ones that you think have a chance of getting passed a blockade of screaming monkeys. Not having to worry anymore what the GOP thinks of your judicial picks is another advantage to nuking the filibuster.

  • Josh G.

    Is there a “wish list” of potential progressive judges that could be used as a rallying point? If there is to be an effort to lobby the White House for better nominees, it would be helpful to have a place to start looking.

    Can someone be nominated to the federal courts even if their career experience is not primarily in the law? Earl Warren was a governor, not a judge, prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court, and he proved to be the best Chief Justice in U.S. history. Maybe we need a wider diversity of perspectives on the courts, rather than the same old coterie from Harvard and Yale. Are there enough clerks assigned at the federal level for a judge without a law degree to rely upon to handle the technical aspects of drafting opinions?

    • efgoldman

      Can someone be nominated to the federal courts even if their career experience is not primarily in the law?

      There is no requirement or qualification anywhere for appointment to SCOTUS. As you said, Warren was a governor. Brennan was a state judge in NJ. Douglas had been on the SEC. Black was a sitting senator.
      Having judges “climb the ladder” on the federal bench is a fairly recent phenomenon, in part because appeals court judges have already been vetted, and approved by the Senate once or twice, and so the politics are seen as easier.
      In my fantasy SCOTUS I’d have loved to see Margaret Marshall, who wrote the same sex marriage decision for the MA Supreme Judicial Court, go to SCOTUS. Alas, she’s retired now. But wouldn’t it havebeen awesome watching TeaHadi heads explode all over the country.

    • Hogan

      Earl Warren was also a DA (Alameda County) and an AG.

  • NewishLawyer

    Serious Question: How often do plaintiff lawyer’s get nominated for judgships?

    IIRC Obama did nominate one for the the District Court level in Rhode Island and the guy was confirmed despite a stink from the Chamber of Commerce. This was in the long ago days of first term though. Pre Tea Party potentially.

    For all the jokes about ambulance chasing, I find that plaintiff’s lawyers really do care about advocating for their clients and representing those who usually don’t get it. The AAJ is also a fairly strong fundraiser for the Democratic Party.

    However, I suspect that plaintiff’s lawyers are not seen as having the right academic credentials for the federal bench. I have no way of proving this though.

    Disclosure: I’ve only worked on the plaintiff’s side of things and went to law school wanting to be a plaintiff’s lawyer.

    • Lortablet

      “How often do plaintiff lawyer’s get nominated for judgships?”

      Almost never by Republicans. Obama nominated one to the First Circuit, who was delayed for a couple years before taking office, and one to the Central District of California. I hope he will a lot more often now.

  • Paul Klos

    I not sure I can agree with this post. Loomis certainly does not like having Scalia on SCOTUS is that really how we want judges appointed just the most pure hard core left and right?

    Sometimes you do your job – it easy to back seat judge but life is what it is. And also you can tell what will happen on the bench solid candidates jump different ways people are odd look at the Suter example.

    Also person in question was obviously picked before the ‘N-option’. That is the picked to hopefully politically possible and you can’t really just well now I tossing you aside that not very good politics. Give the man a break he got what 90-ish more seats to fill.

    • Paul Klos

      Good god it is just not fair there is no edit here I can’t manage proper grammar and spelling on just my first cup of coffee

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  • Well, as someone who has practiced representing unions for nearly thirty years, I can assure you that the union side bar views Akin Gump as union busting pigs. Sadly, so are several other “Democratic” law firms.

    She may turn out to be a perfectly fine judge — most of these folks are high priced escorts, not ideologically committed to busting unions. It’s just part of getting that big pay check. (There are also some lawyers who are genuine union haters — sincerity is not always a virtue.)

    McMurtry is extraordinary. I’ve seen him a couple of times, but the most enjoyable was at the Continental Club in Austin, his regular Wednesday night gig I believe when he is home. The quality of the song writing is almost without peer.

  • So, Loomis claims that Millett “designs” anti- union campaigns. It turns out there is no evidence for this. And instead of a correction, he just brags on another post.

    Is that LGM now? A blog where readers pretty much better take anything posted here as likely to be false?

    Anyone can relay a story and then find out it wasn’t accurate. But then you make a correction. Right?

    • Manny Kant

      It’s a blog where readers should take everything Loomis posts with a grain of salt. Beyond stuff like this, I can remember two or three instances where he passed along internet hoaxes.

      • Unfortunately, you’ve summed it up well.

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