Judge Julie Rubin – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Judge Julie Rubin, nominated to be a federal trial judge in Maryland, has served on the Baltimore trial bench for the last eight years.

Background

A native Marylander, Julie Rebecca Rubin was born on November 25, 1972 in Baltimore. Rubin received a B.A. cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 1995, and then obtained a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1998.

After graduation, Rubin worked for the Baltimore office of Shapiro & Olander P.A. for two years before joining Astrachan Gunst Thomas Rubin, P.C. in Baltimore with her husband James Astrachan.

In 2013, Rubin was nominated by Governor Martin O’Malley to be a Judge on the Baltimore City Circuit Court, where she currently serves.

History of the Seat

Rubin has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland to fill the seat opened by Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander’s move to senior status upon the confirmation of her successor.

Legal Career

Rubin started his legal career at Shapiro & Olander P.A. and then spent twelve years as a name partner at Astrachan Gunst Thomas Rubin, P.C., where she worked on intellectual property and employment law matters. Among the matters she handled there, Rubin secured a $150,000 judgment for a Baltimore based design collective in a breach of contract action. See Brendan Kearney, Baltimore-base Design Collective Gets $150K Verdict, The Daily Record, Jan. 30, 2008. She also represented Caveo Network Solutions, securing a $500K verdict against a former president who started a rival company. See Danny Jacobs, Frederick Technology Company Wins $500K From Former Leader, The Daily Record, Feb. 21, 2011.

Jurisprudence

Rubin has been a judge on the Baltimore County City Court since her appointment to the bench in 2013. In her time on the bench, Rubin has presided over a number of prominent cases.

In 2015, Rubin notably dismissed the murder charge against Montrelle Braxton, finding that Judge Alfred Nance improperly declared a mistrial in a dispute with Braxton’s public defender, and that jeopardy attached to any attempt to retry Braxton. See Steve Lash, The Criticism That Ended the Murder Case, The Daily Record, Aug. 14, 2015. Prosecutors eventually dropped an appeal of her decision to dismiss charges. Lauren Kirkwood, Baltimore Prosecutors Drop Appeal of Dismissed Murder Case, The Daily Record, Feb. 19, 2016.

Rubin has also presided over a number of high value jury verdicts. For example, Rubin presided over a $1.6 million verdict in a lead paint poisoning case. Steve Lash, Baltimore Jury Awards $1.6M to Lead-Paint Victim, The Daily Record, Aug. 9, 2016. Rubin also awarded $30.7 million to Baltimore police and firefighters in a pension lawsuit. Steve Lash, Judge Awards $30.7 Million to Baltimore Police, Fire Retirees, The Daily Record, Apr. 8, 2020. In comparison, Rubin cut a $2.7 million award to a plaintiff in a prison assault case to $200,000 pursuant to Maryland law. See Heather Cobun, Verdict in Prison Guard Assault Case Cut to $200K Under Damages Cap, The Daily Record, July 24, 2019.

Overall Assessment

As a longtime civil attorney and state court judge, Rubin has a fairly conventional background for a judicial nominee. She is likely to have a smooth path to confirmation.

25 Comments

  1. Most of Rubin’s background is conventional and she seems capable. Judge Alfred Nance had a bad reputation, he was reprimanded for some outbursts in his courtroom and was investigated more than once. He was ultimately removed from the bench in 2017.

    I looked up the case because I don’t know if Montrelle Braxton has been accused of anything else since Rubin dismissed the charges. She had little choice IMHO, they had already been dismissed by Nance and double jeopardy came into play. But if Braxton committed any crimes since, that’s the sort of thing that can damage a judge.

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    • Julie Rubin is definitely qualified. I personally would have rather a few others for this seat & hopefully now that there is another vacancy for that seat…

      Ajmel Quereshi

      Anne Joseph O’Connell

      Matthew S. Hellman (If he doesn’t get the DC district court seat).

      Karla Gilbride (If she doesn’t get the DC circuit or DC district court seat).

      Danielle Holley-Walker

      Eloise H. Pasachoff

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      • I looked at this list again, and I see no reason why Matthew Hellman is on it right now. He is a corporate lawyer (and a white male) with no great qualifications to suggest he would be a highly influential progressive judge.

        Hellman is someone you could nominate with a GOP Senate, and is exactly why he shouldn’t be considered now.

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    • I wonder if the same list will be used for the appeals court vacancy or will Durbin just recommend somebody directly to The White House for that seat. Here’s what I found on each of these recommended for the district court seat. I’ll put my opinion on each at the end…

      Jeffrey Cummings (Born around1962) – Black, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. He has a background in civil rights… In my opinion he is simply too old for the federal bench.

      Jeremy Daniel (Born around 1978) – White, former Assistant United States Attorney & current Deputy Chief, Narcotics & Money Laundering… He is certainly qualified but would be a run of the mill selection.

      Nicholas Gowen (Born around 1978) – Black, current law partner, commercial trial attorney and arbitrator. Former law lecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago… He would not be a bad selection but not the best choice on this list.

      LaShonda Hunt (Born around 1981) – Black, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois. She served as the legal department’s Pro Bono/Community Service Coordinator at Exelon law firm… She would be a good choice.

      Linsay Jenkins (Born around 1976) – Black, assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. She’s a law partner & a former federal prosecutor… She is certainly qualified but would be a run of the mill selection.

      Nancy Maldanado (Born around 1975) – Hispanic law partner that has litigated civil rights cases & other pro bono work… She would be a good choice.

      Karen Sheley (Born around 1978) – Director, Police Practices Project for the ACLU… This is my first choice out of this list. She seems solid both in her age & background. I wouldn’t mind seeing her considered for the 7th circuit albeit I believe there are better choices for that seat such as Nusrat Choudhury, John Rappaport & a host of others.

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      • I think we should pick a Hispanic here if possible… in order to set give you a real option for a future 7th Circuit seat. I think John Rappaport should be at the top of the list for Diane Wood’s seat, but if Rovner retires I think we should seriously consider Nancy Maldonado. (BTW, both Maldonado and Cummings are/were partners at President Obama’s former law firm)

        As I’ve said before Rappaport is a progressive legal superstar and would deserve consideration for the Supreme Court. However even if he never makes it there, he could well be another Reinhardt (without the sexual misconduct and general assholery).

        I’m less than impressed with LaShonda Hunt. There isn’t much in terms of her progressive credentials (although I’m sure she is.) I’d put her behind both Maldonado and Sheley for sure. I think there are others who are worth considering. For example, there are several good candidates in the IL Attorney General’s office.

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      • @Shawn Yea I agree while LaShonda Hunt would be good, she isn’t even in the top two of this lists, maybe not even top 3 in my option. With the push back from Tom Saez (I really wish Biden would have just nominated him for a district court seat in California since he is in his late 50’s & he has nominated 60-year old’s anyway) & other Hispanic groups, Nancy Maldanado may get the nod here.

        But I really would like to see Karen Sheley picked. We still have three seats in Puerto Rico’s district court vacant so he can fill any future batch with any or all of those seats to please Saez.

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      • Saenz was born in 1967. I wouldn’t have a problem if Newsom puts him on the CA Supreme Court. Jerry Brown considered doing so 10 years ago, but appointed Goodwin Liu and Tino Cuellar instead.

        But what Saenz wants isn’t district court nominations who are Hispanic. He wants more Hispanics on the circuit courts. He’s made that very clear. He pointedly mentioned that there needs to be Hispanics on the 5th, 7th, and 10th Circuits, as well as the DC Circuit. I completely agree with him on the 5th and 10th Circuits. It’s a crime that there isn’t a Hispanic from Texas on the 5th Circuit, and I wouldn’t mind at all if Saenz pressures Biden to move that Louisiana seat to Texas temporarily (as has been done many times in history) and appoint a Hispanic. Let Sen. Kennedy fume and same for Ted Cruz.

        The reason why you appoint Maldonado is to possibly put her on the 7th Circuit if Judge Rovner leaves the bench. Which given that she is 83 (and a moderate if not liberal) is a decent possibility.

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      • That’s right & smart on Saez part. So far 3 of the first 16 court of appeals nominees have been Hispanic. And at 56 years old, Gustavo Gelpí has little to no chance of being considered for the SCOTUS in a second vacancy during Biden’s term.

        Out of the remaining court of appeals vacancies without a nominee right now, I only see at most two that will likely be Hispanic. Let’s see if I end up being right. I’ll put my predictions below for each circuit vacancy without a nominee chance of a Hispanic nominee.

        DC Circuit – Deepak Gupta. I’m thinking The White House may be slow walking this nominee hoping one of the other two 80-year-old judges retires so they can announce him plus the first Hispanic to the court at the same time.

        1st – Most likely one of the two women on the RI supreme court.

        2nd (2) – Unlikely either will be Hispanic but this would be a good opportunity to nominate one.

        3rd (2) – I doubt ether will be Hispanic. Most likely one of the two will be black otherwise that will leave the circuit without a black judge.

        4th (2) – The South Carolina seat will almost surely be a black woman. The Maryland seat will likely not be a Hispanic nominee.

        5th – I see no chance of the seat being moved to Teas, therefore little chance this nominee will be Hispanic.

        6th (2) – There’s a better than average chance of one of these two nominees being Hispanic. More likely the Ohio seat then the Michigan seat. I think the chances are high the Michigan seat will be the attorney general making it a historic pick as the first Muslim on the appeals court (Unless Nusrat Choudhury is chosen for the 7th circuit).

        7th – Plenty of good picks for this seat. The top contenders are the aforementioned first Muslim appeals court judge, John Rappaport & numerus others. I doubt this seat will go to a Hispanic but if there is a second opening next year, I think the odds on favorite would be a Hispanic or AAPI nominee.

        10th – This is my odds on favorite to have a Hispanic nominee out of all the current pending vacancies without a nominee. Hopefully a young progressive from Kansas.

        11th – I think there is a better then 80% chance this nominee will be black. Probably better then 80%.

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  2. I think that LaShonda Hunt would be the front-runner, as many other Biden nominees are similar in profile to her. But any of them are possible. Depends on who are their most important advocates.

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  3. Update on Quereshi

    The judges of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland are pleased to announce their appointment of Ajmel A. Quereshi to the position of United States Magistrate Judge. Mr. Quereshi will take the oath of office during an informal ceremony on April 18, 2022. A formal ceremony will be held at a later date in the Greenbelt Courthouse.

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