Anna Manasco – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama

An Alabama-based attorney who worked closely with Eleventh Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom before the former’s appointment to the federal bench, Anna Manasco has been tapped for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Background

An Alabama native, Anna Marie Manasco was born in Montgomery in 1980.  She was involved in public service from a young age, attending Girls Nation in Washington D.C. and having a chance to meet President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.[1]  Manasco received a B.A. summa cum laude from Emory University, a Masters of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford and a J.D. from Yale Law School.[2]  After graduating, Manasco clerked for Judge William Pryor on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

After her clerkship, Manasco joined the Birmingham office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, where she became a Partner in 2019.  She is currently with the firm.

History of the Seat

Manasco has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.  This seat will open on April 25, 2020, when Judge Karen Bowdre is scheduled to take senior status.  While this seat hasn’t opened yet, Judge Bowdre announced her departure months in advance and Manasco had been recommended to fill the seat back in July 2019.[3]  Manasco’s nomination was sent to the Senate in February 2020.

Legal Experience

Manasco has spent our entire legal career at the firm of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, where she practiced in trial and appellate litigation in state and federal court.  However, Manasco has never tried a case to a jury in either state or federal court.[4] 

Among her more notable cases, Manasco represented the drug company Wyeth in seeking to defend against lawsuits alleging a failure to warn of long term use risks for the drug Reglan.[5]  Manasco argued that plaintiffs could not seek damages against Wyeth where they had been injured from taking the generic version of Reglan made by a different manufacturer.  However, the Alabama Supreme Court disagreed in an 8-1 vote, finding that Alabama law could justify liability under such circumstances.[6]

In other cases, Manasco worked on a number of cases alongside then-Partner Kevin Newsom, who now serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Manasco also represented the travel website Priceline.com in seeking to defend against tax charges levied against them in New Hampshire.[7]

Overall Assessment

Despite her youth, Manasco has cut her teeth on some fairly complex cases.  This experience, combined with her support from Alabama’s senators and her relatively apolitical background, makes Manasco a fairly uncontroversial nominee.

Nonetheless, Manasco could face some criticism for her lack of trial experience, but given the fact that nominees with significantly less litigation experience have been approved, Manasco shouldn’t face too many issues.


[1] Pres. Clinton to Greet 96 Girls Nation Senators, U.S. Newswire, July 17, 1997.

[2] Sen. Comm. on the Judiciary, 116th Cong., Anna Manasco: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees 1.

[3] See id. at 42.

[4] See id. at 19.

[5] Wyeth Inc., et al. v. Weeks et al., No. 1101397 (Ala. Sup. 2013).

[6] See id.

[7] New Hampshire v. Priceline.com, Inc., 2016 A.3d 333 (N.H. 2019).

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