Thompson Dietz – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) is currently severely hampered by vacancies.  The CFC is intended to have sixteen judgeships but is down six vacancies with two more scheduled to open in the coming months.  There are multiple reasons behind the high number of vacancies, primary among which are the obstruction of nominees under President Obama.  Furthermore, the Trump Administration has been slow to nominate judges to the CFC, with three of the nominees withdrawing before confirmation.  The latest nominee is New Jersey lawyer Thompson Dietz.

Background

The 40-year-old Thompson Michael Dietz graduated from Clemson University in 2001 and received a J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 2005.[1] 

After graduating law school, Dietz worked as a Senior Contracts Representative at the aerospace and defense company General Dynamics.[2] In 2011, Dietz joined CohnReznick LLP as Associate Counsel, where he has worked ever since.  

History of the Seat

Dietz has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC), an Article I court that hears monetary claims against the federal government.  Judges to the CFC are appointed for 15-year terms, and can be reappointed.  The seat Dietz was nominated for opened up on July 13, 2018, with the retirement of Judge Victor Wolski.

Legal Experience

Dietz’s specialty is government contracts law.  He started his career at the defense contracting company General Dynamics, where he worked on negotiating and managing government contracts.[3] 

Since 2011, Dietz has worked at CohnReznick LLP, an accounting, tax, and advisory firm, serving as lead counsel in the firm’s government and public sector group.[4]  Dietz also worked on data privacy issues with the law.[5]  Dietz’s career at the firm seems to have focused on regulatory and compliance issues, rather than litigation.

Overall Assessment

Dietz does not have a paper trail of controversial issues, and his government contracts practice is well within the wheelhouse of the Court of Federal Claims.  While he may face questions for having a career focusing on regulatory compliance rather than litigation, Dietz should be able to avoid major issues in confirmation.


[1] Charles Toutant, Trump Nominates New Jersey In-House Lawyer at CohnReznick to Federal Claims Court, Law.com, June 15, 2020, https://www.law.com/njlawjournal/2020/06/15/trump-nominates-new-jersey-in-house-lawyer-at-cohnreznick-to-federal-claims-court/.

[2] Id.

[3] See id.

[4]  See id.

[5] Id.

2 Comments

  1. Yes, Trump has been slow to nominate judges to the FTC, but the Senate has been slow to schedule hearings & confirm. 1+ year after nomination, one nominee has yet to receive a hearing. Why? Lack of GOP support? A behind-the-scenes deal with Dems? I would love to learn more about the process.

    Like

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