Raul Arias-Marxuach – Nominee for the District of Puerto Rico

President Trump has received some criticism for the lack of diversity in his judicial candidates.  As of June 18, 2018, out of the 125 nominations made to the Article III courts, just four have been Hispanic.  One of those four is Raul Arias-Marxuach, who joins a federal bench composed entirely of Hispanic judges, serving a population where 95% of citizens speak Spanish as their first language.

Background

Raul Manuel Arias-Marxuach was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1967.  Arias-Marxuach received his B.S. cum laude from Boston College in 1989 and his J.D. from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law in 1992.[1]  After graduating, Arias-Marxuach clerked on the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico and then received an LLM from Harvard Law School.

After receiving his LLM, Arias-Marxuach joined the San Juan firm Fiddler Gonzalez & Rodriguez P.S.C. as a Litigation Associate.[2]  In 1995, Arias-Marxuach moved to McConnell Valdes LLC.  Arias-Marxuach became an Income Partner at the firm in 1999 and a Capital Partner in 2003.[3]  He continues to practice at the firm.[4]

History of the Seat

Arias-Marxuach has been nominated for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.  This seat opened when Judge Jose Fuste moved to senior status on June 1, 2016.  No nomination was made to this seat during the Obama Administration.

In March 2017, Arias-Marxuach was contacted by the White House after being recommended for a judgeship by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer Gonzalez.[5]  Arias-Marxuach was selected as the primary candidate for the vacancy in April 2017, but was not officially nominated for the next year, until April 10, 2018.

Political Activity

Arias-Marxuach has limited political experience, having worked as a volunteer attorney for the campaign of Governor Luis Fortuno in 2008 (Fortuno caucused with the GOP as a resident commissioner in Washington).[6]  He also served as a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association in 2003.[7]

Legal Experience

Arias-Marxuach has spent his almost entire legal career atMcConnell Valdes LLC,  working in a variety of subject areas including maritime law, product liability, and antitrust matters.[8]  During his career, Arias-Marxuach has tried three cases to verdict before the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.[9]

Among the most notable cases he handled, Arias-Marxuach represented the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) in seeking legal remedies against 21 student “strikers” who sought to maintain collective action against the University.[10]  The case went all the way to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, which found that students at the University do not have the right to strike.[11]

Overall Assessment

When nominated, Commissioner Gonzalez described Arias-Marxuach as “very professional…conservative, and his character is impeccable.”[12]  A review of his record mostly confirms her assessment.  Arias-Marxuach brings a long record with complex civil litigation to the bench, along with a generally non-controversial background.  While Arias-Marxuach may draw some questions based on his role in ending the UPR student strike, Democrats are unlikely to target his nomination, focusing on more conservative targets.


[1] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 115th Cong., Raul Arias-Marxuach: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[2] See id. at 2.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] NotiCel, New Federal Judge Candidate in PR Closely Linked to UPR Strike, NotiCel, June 12, 2017, http://www.noticel.com/ahora/new-federal-judge-candidate-in-pr-closely-linked-to-upr-strike-document/609378099.

[6] See id. at 8.

[7] See id. at 4.

[8] See id. at 1.

[9] See id. at 18.

[10] NotiCel, New Federal Judge Candidate in PR Closely Linked to UPR Strike, NotiCel, June 12, 2017, http://www.noticel.com/ahora/new-federal-judge-candidate-in-pr-closely-linked-to-upr-strike-document/609378099.

[11] See Univ. of Puerto Rico v. Labarde Torres, 180 D.P.R. 253 (P.R. 2010).

[12] See Noticel, Supra n. 10.

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