Hector Gonzalez – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Hector Gonzalez is a well-experienced litigator who, despite his nomination to the federal bench by Trump last year, has strong Democratic party ties.  While Gonzalez was not confirmed in 2020, he stands favored to take the bench next year.

Background

The 58-year-old Gonzalez got his B.S. from Manhattan College in 1985 and then attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School, graduating in 1988.[1] 

After graduation, Gonzalez started as an associate at Rogers & Wells and then joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney in 1990.  Gonzalez then shifted over to federal prosecution in 1994, working his way to Chief of the Narcotics Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York.[2] 

In 1999, Gonzalez became a Partner at Mayer Brown and moved to Dechert LLP in 2011, where he currently works and chairs the Global Litigation Practice.[3] 

In 2014, Gonzalez was recommended for a seat on the New York Court of Appeals (which ,despite its name, is New York’s highest court), but Judge Eugene Fahey was appointed instead.[4]

History of the Seat

Gonzalez has been nominated for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to the seat vacated by Judge Brian Cogan on June 12, 2020.  Gonzalez was previously nominated for this seat late in the Trump Administration but was never confirmed.

Legal Career

While Gonzalez started his career as a firm associate, his first major position was as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  In the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gonzalez rose to be Chief of the Narcotics Unit, practicing both at the trial level and the Second Circuit.  In 1999, Gonzalez moved to Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw LLP.  At Mayer Brown, Gonzalez notably was one of the lead attorneys represented telecommunications companies in the landmark Bell Atlantic v. Twombly case, which tightened pleading requirements for plaintiffs in the federal government.[5]

Since 2011, Gonzalez has been a Partner with Dechert LLP.  While at the firm, Gonzalez represented the Takata Corporation in investigations of airbag inflator ruptures.[6]  He also represented the Bank of New York Mellon in a series of investigations and litigation.[7]

Political Activity

Gonzalez’s political history is strongly Democratic.  Over the course of his career, Gonzalez has given to President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a number of New York house members, and Montana Governor Steve Bullock.[8]

Civilian Complaint Review Board

In 2002, Gonzalez was named by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to be Chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates police misconduct.[9]  Gonzalez’s tenure almost immediately was bogged in controversy when a whistleblower claimed that the agency ignored racial discrimination and was biased towards police.[10]  As Chairman, Gonzalez pushed back against strip searching practices in the NYPD, recommending new training on the issue.[11]  Additionally, Gonzalez led the Board as it charged a deputy chief with misconduct for ordering the arrest of a protester at the 2004 Republican National Convention.[12]  The action, and related statements, drew sharp criticism from NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who argued that the Department had been careful in its policing.[13]  He also, paradoxically, was criticized by other observers for not doing enough to reign in the Police Department.[14]

Overall Assessment

Gonzalez’s record overall is fairly liberal, and his renomination by the Biden Administration is a recognition of that fact.  While Gonzalez is likely to draw strong opposition from Republicans due to his record on policing in particular, Gonzalez looks likely to be confirmed the second time around.


[1] Hector Gonzalez, Profile, Dechert.com, available at https://www.dechert.com/people/g/hector-gonzalez.pdf (last visited Aug. 21, 2020).

[2] See Peter Lattman, Lead Rajaratnam Prosecutor to Join Dechert, N.Y. Times Blogs, Jan. 13, 2012.

[3] Denise Champagne, COA Nominees Forwarded to Governor, Daily Record of Rochester, Dec. 2, 2014.

[4] See id.

[5] See Twombly v. Bell Atl. Corp., 425 F.3d 99 (2d Cir. 2004).

[6] See Gonzalez, supra n. 1.

[7] See id. 

[9] Diane Cardwell, Bloomberg Fills Gaps, Naming Four to Posts In His Administration, N.Y. Times, Apr. 5, 2002.

[10] Kevin Flynn, Civilian Board on Police Misconduct Defends Itself on Claim That It is Soft, N.Y. Times, Sept. 25, 2002.

[11] William Rashbaum, Police Complaint Board Finds Some Strip Searches Improper, N.Y. Times, May 13, 2004.

[12] Jim Dwyer, Charges, But No Penalty, for a Chief’s Role in a Convention Arrest – Correction Appended, N.Y. Times, Mar. 9, 2006.

[13]See Bradley Hope, Complaints Spike But Police Punish Fewer Officers, N.Y. Sun, June 30, 2006.

[14] See CCRB: Dead Board Walking, NYPD Confidential, Sept. 18, 2006, http://nypdconfidential.com/print/2006p/060918p.html. 

75 Comments

  1. I’m actually surprised Hector Gonzalez wasn’t in the first or second batch of judicial nominations last year. Out of all the nominees I had never previously heard of, this was the second most obvious after Kentaji Brown. He is a solid liberal that was nominated by Trump in a package deal. His age is the only negative but with so many district court vacancies combined with the other young solid picks form New York, I am fine with the age factor for this pick.

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  2. A 58 year old former AUSA and corporate lawyer who was previously appointed by Trump in a packaged deal. And it appears that his landmark case defended corporations against consumer plaintiffs.

    A D is the best I can give this selection, especially with no shortage of progressive Hispanic attorneys in NYC. Absolutely no reason in hell for a selection like this.

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    • Hector Gonzalez is a SOLID liberal. But I do agree their were plenty of younger Hispanic possibilities that could have been considered. I’ll give Schumer a pass in this one however because he has done an excellent job otherwise so far at his recommendations to Biden, combined with holding many seats open from Trump filling them.

      I would have rather seen him chosen for the NY court of appeals then the federal bench though.I would give this nomination a C+.

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      • I don’t see how he is “solid” liberal. He’s spent his most of his legal career either prosecuting people who look like him or defending corporations against regular people.

        He’s a solid Democrat, yes you can say that. But there are plenty of attorneys who are Democrats who are anything but progressive. Anyone appointed by a Democrat will likely be pretty good on things like LGBT, reproductive choice, voting rights, and other social issues. The real things that differentiates a progressive judge from one who isn’t are the plaintiff/employment/financial cases, and criminal justice. Gonzalez’ record is awful on the former, and middling on the latter.

        I agree with you that he should be on the court of Appeals. As unenthused as I am about him, he would be considerably better than the absolute garbage that corrupt Andrew Cuomo appointed there.

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      • In addition to the other issues you mentioned that most Democrat appointees in a blue state will be good on, he had a history of fighting against police brutality. And that’s in a city in which even all Democrats aren’t solid on that issue.

        But no question I would have rather him been appointed by Cuomo. Him & Caitlin Halligan would have been better then any two he chose that’s on the court today. Then we wouldn’t be here today & most likely be commenting on a progressive Hispanic nominee in his 40’s being appointed by Biden.

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      • Andrew Cuomo is basically similar to Robert Menendez. Both of them belong in prison. US Atty Preet Bharara apparently had the goods on Cuomo’s corruption until Trump fired him. Cuomo tried to get the Obama admin to fire Bharara to head off the investigation into his criminal behavior.

        https://observer.com/2016/09/bharara-promises-gory-detail-of-corruption-at-core-of-cuomos-office-and-agenda/

        https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/andrew-cuomos-war-against-a-federal-prosecutor

        I’m glad Gonzalez fought police brutality, which is why I give this selection a D instead of an F. Honestly I would have given this pick no better than a C- even if he was 45 instead of 58. I just can’t give a grade higher than C- to any nomination in NYC who spent most of their career defending corporations against plaintiffs and a criminal prosecutor (unless it was mostly prosecuting white collar crime) when there are so many better options there.

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    • Seeing as that Schumer gave Gonzalez a recommendation, it was pretty much a lock that Biden would nominate him, seeing as that there hasn’t seemed to be much of an urge from his administration to ignore who the Democrat home state senators want on the district courts in their respective states.

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  3. Speaking of state supreme courts, what’s the update with governor Newsome making his appointment to the Supreme Court of California? It’s going on 3 months since the vacancy was announced & I haven’t heard anything yet.

    I really wish it was governor Brown still making the appointments. After Newsome’s appointment of Martin Jenkins in his mid 60’s, I’m getting worried.

    Also any update regarding Rachel Wainer Apter in New Jersey. A second vacancy will open up in a month so perhaps just switch her to another district & appoint her to that district? Either way she absolutely needs to be on the NJ supreme court barring any unexpected vacancy on the 3rd circuit.

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  4. Dequan,

    Saw your post about CA Supreme Court…..Do you remember Jerry Brown waited a year to fil the seat now occupied by Josh Grogan….So only 3 months for the current opening is standard practice, lol……At least the confirmation process is far easier than it is for federal judicial nominations..

    As far as this week on federal judicial nominations, I hope the senate confirms Holly Thomas….I know they’ll be laser focused on the voting rights issue, that probably isn’t going anywhere thanks to 2 senators who shall remain nameless….

    With this senate being in this week and off next, we also lose a Wednesday nomination hearing since next weeks regular hearing can’t occur since they’ll be on a recess……

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    • I’m still fuming they are going on vacation again next week. And the Republicans held at least two nominations hearings during a recess during Trump. But of course they wouldn’t even had needed to do that had they had one this week.

      Speaking of this week, so far Andres Mathis & his group aren’t listed on Thursday’s executive calendar vote. They should be added so they can be held over for a week (Two weeks if they recess next week). I’m not sure what is the logic behind not putting them on the week after their hearing knowing they will be held over anyway.

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    • This is beautiful news to wake up to. Jennifer Rearden Is the only blah pick but we know how much Biden likes to nominate picks that previously never got a vote. Nina Nin-Yuen Wang Was the least of the 3 recommended by the Colorado senators I wanted to be nominated but she was turned down twice before so I guess it was her turn.

      Arianna Freeman Is around 43 years old so she is a solid pic for Biden to tie the record for most black women to the appeals court with.

      Natasha Merle Is an absolutely fabulous pick & the first selected from the list of suggestions from the People’s Parity Project. (https://www.peoplesparity.org/)

      Liked by 1 person

      • My first impression: This is a very, very solid batch and a good way to start 2022 (in terms of judicial nominations)! While the Rearden pick is fair to middling, I am obviously in love with the nominations of Arianna Freeman and Natasha Merle. Tiffany Cartwright being in her mid-30s is the icing on the cake. Even so, I am surprised there is still no pick for the Fifth and Tenth Circuits.

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      • I agree, what a fantastic way to start the new year (Save Reardon), especially after ending it in such a disaster with the Childs pick.

        Tiffany Cartwright would be the youngest federal judge in the country once confirmed. We need both more immigration defendant lawyers & more progressive judges in their 30’s.

        I wasn’t expecting the Louisiana pick for the 5th circuit but I was expecting the 10th circuit pick for Kansas. I’m sure senator Marshall is putting as many roadblocks as possible so I hope The White House just has a track record that they tried to negotiate in good faith & then go ahead & nominate a progressive next month.

        13 may be an unlucky number to many but it’s actually my favorite number & the 13th batch looks phenomenal.

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    • Some really good nominees, and some really bad ones. Here are my grades.

      Arianna Freeman- A. I had her on my 3rd Circuit list. Absolutely excellent selection.

      Tiffany Cartwright- A+. Absolutely excellent selection. Just wish she had been nominated earlier so she could be elevated to the 9th Circuit now.

      Nursat Choudhary- A. I just wish she was nominated in Illinois instead.

      Ana Isabel de Alba. D/F. Spent her entire career at a firm that defends employment lawsuits. This should be disqualifying in a Democratic administration. From the law firm:

      “Lang, Richert & Patch provides a broad range of services in the employment and labor law area to both public and private employers. The firm has extensive experience in defending employment-related lawsuits, including claims for sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, family leave violations, violations of workers’ compensation law, and Occupational Safety and Health Act violations. ”

      Robert Huie. D/F. Entire career as an AUSA as a criminal prosecutor. Zero evidence of progressive background. Went to a very conservative evangelical college. Giving this nomination a D may well be very generous, since he may actually be a conservative. The first CA nominee who is not a judge is an embarrassingly bad pick.

      Natasha Merle. A. Too bad we cannot nominate her in Texas (where she grew up).

      Jennifer Rearden. F. Older corporate attorney previously nominated by Trump. Really unacceptable nominee.

      Nina Wang. D. Corporate lawyer and AUSA and zero evidence of progressive background. Have too many of these types already on the federal bench. Could have done a lot better in Colorado.

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      • @Shawn

        I mostly agree with your opinion here. In the case of Colorado, both of the other recommendations would have been better. Gordon Gallagher has much more of a pro bono background & is only a couple of years older. I figure him being a white man hurt his chances as Biden has only nominated 4 out of 83 nominees so far. Kenzo Kawanabe also has a deep pro bono background including working with impoverished African kids. He is the same age as Wang, but I just feel the Biden team didn’t want to leave the district with two women & that won the day.

        Ana Isabel de Alba could have definitely been replaced with a more progressive Latina. But she is almost two decades younger than the oldest nominee from the state to date so I guess I would raise her grade from my par.

        Jennifer Rearden is definitely the worst pick out of this batch & from New York overall so far. My guess is senator Gillibrand pushed for her hard to be re-nominated.

        Robert Huie is the fourth white man nominated by Biden so far. I don’t think he is a secret conservative from what I have read so far but I do think we obviously could have had a much more progressive nominee, even another white man. I’m just happy at least we have a nominee that isn’t a siting federal judge. Hopefully that lays the groundwork for some of the remaining vacancies on the district court & definitely on the circuit court.

        Tiffany Cartwright would be fabulous on the 9th circuit if judge Gould were to retire. Sorry but the current vacancy is gonna stay in California… Lol

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      • @Dequan

        If we have a bad nominee like Huie or de Alba, *I would actually prefer they be 60 instead of 40*. That way they leave the bench sooner. de Alba is a younger and Hispanic version of Christine O’Hearn! I see nothing progressive in her background and see no reason why these kinds of nominees continue to be accepted by the Biden admin. These aren’t just bad, they are Christine O’Hearn level awful. The blame for this goes on Biden and Remus, not the California senators.

        And yes I would by far prefer a progressive 60 year old to a 40 year old Merrick Garland clone.

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      • Yea, I definitely agree Remus should not even forward any more California nominees to Biden that aren’t proven young progressives. We shouldn’t even be having this conversation in a bright blue state like California with over 39 million people in it.

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      • I am not sure I agree with the pessimism shared by some of you as regards De Alba. Sure, there would have been more liberal options, but she involved her law firm in community service projects, did lots of pro bono work and briefly worked for ACLU. That’s not a conservative record. And importantly, she is a young California nominee, finally. The black box, of course, is Robert Huie. There is virtually no information on him online (apart from the CV bulletpoints). My first impression, too, was that he may lean to the right. Hard to tell what prompted his nomination.

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      • @twelfthcircuit

        You are correct about De Alba. Both @Shawn & myself wrote a revised assessment about her (Albeit I’m not sure if it was on this post so you might have missed it). We pretty much said the same thing you wrote after doing more research.

        I think the sentiment was there were more liberal choices from that area but she is much more acceptable then from the initial reaction from The White House press briefing. They didn’t include her work with the ACLU or much of her pro bono work we found after researching her.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Merle, Cartwright, and Choudhary probably should have been Circuit Court nominees especially since there are 10+ vacancies currently on the Court of Appeals….

    I’d like to see Durbin add last weeks nominees on the Business meeting Thurs…..He probably won’t though……They should vote out on 12 nominees tomorrow including Allison Nathan….

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    • Durbin definitely should add Andre Mathis & his group to tomorrow’s business meeting vote to be held over. I just checked & they still aren’t there so that is not looking good unfortunately.

      Biden has done a phenomenal job rapidly nominating judges & Schumer can always knock most of the floor votes out in a week, so the SJC is the real place where there seems to be a lag. No nominations hearing this week or next week with all of the pending nominees without a hearing yet is a disgrace. And not putting nominees who had a hearing in the next week’s vote to be held over is mind blowing. Whitehouse would definitely be better as chairman.

      While Eunice C. Lee is solid, I would have rather seen her on the district court with her being in her near mid 50’s & have Merle in her seat instead with her being over a decade earlier. I’ve mentioned my desire to see Choudhary nominated to the 7th circuit but I’m hoping for an even better pick by Durbin now that she is not the nominee.

      I’ve already spoken about there is no way the 9th circuit seat will be reverted back to Washington, so I won’t go into that again. I do hope judge Gould retires soon so Washington really will have a vacancy. Cartwright would have been great but as long as we get a nominee like Marsha Chien or Jamal Whitehead, I’ll still be happy.

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      • “Biden has done a phenomenal job rapidly nominating judges”

        I strongly disagree. Not putting up nominees for the 10th and 5th Circuit is inexcusable.

        I agree with putting Merle on the 2nd Circuit instead of Eunice Lee. Lee isn’t bad by any means, but there is so much progressive talent in NYC…

        “I’ve already spoken about there is no way the 9th circuit seat will be reverted back to Washington, so I won’t go into that again. I do hope judge Gould retires soon so Washington really will have a vacancy. Cartwright would have been great but as long as we get a nominee like Marsha Chien or Jamal Whitehead, I’ll still be happy.”

        And I’ve already spoken about how there is no way in hell that a Cali nominee gets through. If I were the Washington senators, I would threaten to join the GOP in opposing any Cali nominee for that seat regardless of whom it is. And I suspect that is exactly what Senator Murray will tell the White House. I fear the end result will be that Judge Estidullo or a different Washington state Republican will fill that seat whenever the GOP gets the Presidency and/or Senate back.

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      • I think it’s unlikely that Gould (a moderate) will go senior. Berzon/Paez/Fletcher are liberal lions, and Graber/McKeown (who are more moderate) are still to Gould’s left.

        I don’t think that Republicans will take the seat. There are a few ways to prevent that and I think that Dems can collectively agree on at least one of these ways.

        1) Either CA’s senators or WA’s senators cave and allow a nominee from the other state.

        2) Collins agrees to vote to confirm the nominee, thus allowing Feinstein or Murray to vote no in protest. This makes the Dem no vote look like they are standing up for their state and makes Collins look bipartisan for casting a pivotal vote to confirm a Dem nominee.

        3) They find someone (possibly with McKeown’s help) with ties to both CA and WA, thus keeping the seat a shared seat between CA and WA.

        4) They nominate someone from one of the states with a mutual agreement that the next nominee be from the other state unless seats are added to the 9th (or the 12th circuit created from parts of the 9th) before the Biden judge vacates.

        5) If the GOP takes over the Presidency/Senate, McKeown plays partisan and threatens to withdraw her vacancy if the nominee is too conservative. However, I don’t think McKeown would do this, but it seems like something like the more liberal bloc (Berzon/Paez/Fletcher) might do. Robert King of the 4th cir. did this but for personal preferences rather than partisan ones.

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      • The real solution would be to add seats to the 9th circuit. If I were a lawmaker I would offer a deal with the GOP where the 9th circuit gets split into 2 but the California side of the split gets 2+ new seats, among other things. Ideally in this case California should get at least 5 new seats, but that won’t happen unless there’s a clear way to prevent one party from filling them all.

        70-80% of the 9th’s cases come from California but only 50% of the judges do. Pretty much every California judge on the 9th, including prominent conservatives like Kozinski, Callahan, and Bea, opposes splitting the 9th at least partially because it would increase their workload.

        I should have written this last part in my post above, but if Gould does go senior, I think the McKeown seat stays in CA.

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      • @Shawn,

        When I say Biden has done a phenomenal job at rapidly nominating judges, I was talking historically speaking. Don’t get me wrong, I wish we had even more nominees, but 83 in the first 365 days far exceeds any other president.

        And we shall see but I expect a California judge to be seated in the 9th circuit vacancy before the end of the year. I am fairly confident in that barring any change in the current senate composition of 50 Democrats of course.

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      • It also depends on how high up the judges are. I’m not sure how it works numerically but I would say that filling a single Supreme Court seat is equivalent to filling at least 10 circuit court seats, and filling a circuit court seat is worth more than filling a district court seat.

        Obviously, the Supreme Court isn’t everything but I think even if Biden gets numerically more judges than Trump, Trump still has a bigger impact on the judiciary because of 3 Supreme Court justices, and I doubt Biden gets more than 1. 2022 is slated to be a red year, and even if Biden gets a 2nd term, 2024 is a minefield for Senate Dems.

        Biden needs 6-8 years worth of judicial vacancies to actually have a bigger impact on the judiciary than Trump did in 4 years (though 6 years worth of judicial vacancies because McConnell held a bunch of seats open in 2015-16)

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      • I actually don’t know what the Democrats have against splitting the 9th circuit up. I would keep California & some combination of Alaska and/or Hawaii & create a 12th circuit for the rest of the states.

        But you are correct, the real issue is there just needs to be more seats created. Even if you split the number of seats up from half now & the other half not to be filled until 2025 when we do not know who will be president I would still take that deal.

        When I write so passionately about the vacant seat staying in California, it’s not because I’m so against Washington state needing another seat, its because I know how understaffed California is even with every current eat filled. They simply need more judges added.

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      • @joshir73102

        “70-80% of the 9th’s cases come from California but only 50% of the judges do. Pretty much every California judge on the 9th, including prominent conservatives like Kozinski, Callahan, and Bea, opposes splitting the 9th at least partially because it would increase their workload.”

        I looked up the number of filings coming from each of the district courts plus filings from other agencies last year. About 57% of the district court filings comes from CA between 2016-2020. If you add the BIA cases, you get about 65-67%.

        For comparison, Texas contributes 76% of the 5th Circuit’s filings, and NY contributes 85% of the 2nd Circuit’s cases. If people here are going to argue that California should get seats from other states, then the same argument should be made for Texas and NY. I’m perfectly fine with this argument, in fact I made it here last year. I strongly feel that the Cabranes seat belongs to NY, and both 5th Circuit seats should go to Texas (as well as moving the WV and SC seats to VA and NC). But you can’t argue this for CA and not for other states.

        “The real solution would be to add seats to the 9th circuit. If I were a lawmaker I would offer a deal with the GOP where the 9th circuit gets split into 2 but the California side of the split gets 2+ new seats, among other things. ”

        I have no problem with splitting the circuit, but it’s harder than you think. The whole reason why the GOP wants the 9th Circ is to get California out of there. That means that they would oppose any state other than maybe Hawaii being in the 12th with CA.
        It’s likely that they new 9th would have Seattle as its location. That’s going to be unacceptable for Nevada and Arizona, so you’ll have to put them in the 10th. That probably makes the 10th too big, which means you’ll likely have to move Wyoming and Kansas out of there, perhaps Wyoming to the 9th and Kansas to the 8th.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @Dequan

        “When I write so passionately about the vacant seat staying in California, it’s not because I’m so against Washington state needing another seat, its because I know how understaffed California is even with every current eat filled. They simply need more judges added.”

        Firstly the staffing doesn’t change based on which state a circuit court judge comes from. The 9th Circuit certainly needs more seats but CA’s real problem is in the staffing of its district court.

        Secondly, your argument is reasonable if it is consistently applied for other circuits. Texas and New York send a considerably higher percentage of cases to the 2nd and 5th Circuits. If anything, there’s a better argument for ensuring that the Cabranes seat goes back to NY where it belongs and both 5th Circuit seats should go to Texas. Texas contributes 76% of the 5th Circuit’s filings, and NY contributes 85% of the 2nd Circuit’s cases.

        You can’t have it both ways.

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  6. So I will slightly increase the grade for de Alba to a C-. She appears to have a strong progressive pro bono record at her law firm. I still strongly dislike that she spent years defending corporations on employment matters.

    “Ana represents clients in federal and state courts in employment related matters including wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, Unruh Act violations, wage and hour issues, ADA, ADEA, FMLA and CFRA. She also represents clients in adversary proceedings before governmental administrative boards, including, Labor Commissioner, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Employment Development Department. Ana advises employers on preventing employment relations problems and on developing personnel policies and procedures.”

    https://web.archive.org/web/20170404135030/http://www.lrplaw.net/attorneys/ana-de-alba/

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  7. I agree with a lot of what has been said. A little bit surprised (but not complaining) that Arianna Freeman was nominated to the Third Circuit over the district court, but she is definitely more progressive than Ilana Eisenstein (who still may get a future vacancy). Huie is definitely the worst pick. His undergrad school, Calvin College, is an evangelical college. Make of that what you will. de Alba was another surprise since she is from the Fresno area and the prior judge’s duty station was Sacramento (and Biden already put Jennifer Thurston in a Fresno seat). I don’t like that she’s represented corporations but I do like that she has worked with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. Reardon is another bad pick, but SDNY already has 16 Obama-appointed Judges so its not like it will affect the court’s balance.

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  8. Besides wishing there were more circuit court judges announced , I am very happy with this batch. There’s only so many circuit court judges in comparison to district court judges. And in states like NY where all of their spots on the 2nd Circuit have been announced by Biden already.

    In terms of age this batch is phenomenal.

    Regarding the only two that make me raise my eyebrows a little, Reardon has donated to Gillibrand multiple times so that probably helped her. Huie did go to a evangelical college which is worrying. He also went to Yale which I’ve noticed by far has produced the most liberal/ left of the politicos spectrum Biden nominees (along with NYU) so who knows I’m trying to stay positive.

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  9. It looks like in addition to matching the number of black women put on to the appeals courts, President Biden has now broken the record for most federal defenders to the federal bench.

    I know everyone doesn’t always agree on how good a nominee is or if they should have been chosen at all, I think we should all applaud the president for doing a better job overall then any Democrat president on record through one year. I’m really hopeful for a SCOTUS vacancy this year.

    (https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/biden-nominates-8-new-judges-including-first-muslim-woman-federal-bench-2022-01-19/)

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  10. Robert Huie also clerked for Jose Cabranes (a pretty conservative judge who suprisingly has agreed to allow Biden to pick his successor) in addition to attending a very right-wing college.

    He is on his law firm’s diversity committee. Maybe he’s gay or Hispanic or Filipino. Anyway that also gives Republicans an excuse to vote against him.

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  11. I really wonder what the hold up is for the Kansas seat. Laura Kelly appointed three women to the state court of appeals and one man to the state supreme court. Are none of them acceptable to the state’s senators? Are they not diverse enough for the White House Counsel’s office? What role does Sharice Davids have in this? Rep. Cohen was the one who picked Andre Mathis for the 6th circuit.

    I also wonder what the hold up is for the Rhode Island seat. That vacancy is months old now.

    I’d guess Kenneth Polite is the 5th circuit nominee but they are waiting a bit. Because to move him so quickly from the DOJ position to a judgeship would look weird.

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    • I really hope last week’s hearing didn’t allow the Tennessee senators & Republican’s to “brush back” The White House for red state circuit court nominations. I am fine with minimal consultation for those senators that we know are not going to vote for anyway, but we really should not treat them any better then Trump treated blue state senators.

      Kenneth Polite would be nice, but I suspect it will probably end up being one of governor Bell’s state court judges. I doubt he has any spectacular nominees since he is the most conservative Democrat governor in the country however. I really would love to see a nominee with a ACLU, Innocence Project or public defender type of a background instead.

      I am expecting a rock start for the Rhode Island seat. Of course either of the two newest supreme court justices would do but they were born in 1970 & 1975. Both are progressive but maybe we will end up with somebody 5 or so years younger & just as, if not even more progressive.

      Bottom line is i hope the February batch has at least THREE court of appeals nominees in it. We are running low on time if the senate plans on taking all of it’s scheduled recess time. Combine that with any one senator getting sick bringing all nominations to a halt & the bulk of the confirmations really need to be finished up by the start of the Summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well if there was a brush back Biden didn’t acknowledge it. The nomination of Arianna Freeman is going to violate the blue slip as well. Toomey said that he was consulted but that his “input was rejected.”

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      • “Kenneth Polite would be nice, but I suspect it will probably end up being one of governor Bell’s state court judges. I doubt he has any spectacular nominees since he is the most conservative Democrat governor in the country however. I really would love to see a nominee with a ACLU, Innocence Project or public defender type of a background instead.”

        The only Edwards appointed judge I can see being nominated is Judge Marcus Hunter (born 1979), although I think he’d be more appropriate if Carl Stewart takes senior status.
        Although again I think you are too pessimistic. You predicted Haywood as the likely nominee and we got someone much better.

        For Rhode Island, Ethan had someone on his list that I never came across, Angelyne Cooper, born in 1983. Personally I think she’s a bit too green (not sure she has the appellate-type experience), but would be an interesting choice.
        But I think you are right here, I expect the nominee to be Judge Melissa Long.

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  12. Toomey has no higher ground to stand on anymore on the blue slip issue. During the Trump years he pushed through 3 nominees to the Third Circuit that Casey opposed. What a joke to be offended by the Biden adminstration not getting his approval first!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought after last weeks SJC hearing for Andre Mathis when Senator Cotton said Senator Sullivan needs to interview ALL 9th circuit nominees even if they are not for Alaska, I would t be shocked at anything anymore. But Senator Tomey is trying his best to upend that level of ridiculousness.

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      • @Shawn,

        In regard to changing the vacant seats in Connecticut to New York & California to Washington, I see your breakdown in cases per state above. I don’t have the math behind it but the Judicial Conference in 2019 recommended which states needed additional judgeships. While the list includes both circuit & district courts, both CA & NY are recommended for additional judgeships while neither WA nor CT are. So, while I respect the data you sent, I simply do not see any path to switching seats from states are recommended for additional judgeships to states nowhere to be found on the list. In particular not in a 50/50 senate.

        (https://www.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/2019_judicial_conference_judgeship_recommendations_0.pdf)

        I thank the good Lord we got the nominee we did today instead of Rebecca Ross Haywood. I was worried she would be renominated despite her age.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well that’s my point. If there’s a good argument that CA should get a disputed seat in the 9th Circuit, there’s an even better argument that New York should get the Cabranes seat and Texas (which you didn’t mention here also being recommended for several new district seats) should get the Dennis seat on the 5th Circuit. You can’t keep making this argument for CA and claim that the Cabranes seat should go to CT.

        Secondly, these recommendations are for district courts. Filings in a district court are different that those which go to the circuit courts.

        And this idea of a 50/50 Senate being relevant is bollocks frankly. Both NY and CT have two Democratic senators. So do WA/CA. You’re going to piss off one set of senators regardless. In fact, the easy one to do is LA/TX.

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      • Exactly, with both states having two Democrat senators that’s my point. No matter what, you will piss off somebody so I do not think any change will be made, the status will keep the seats the same.

        There is simply no way they will let a dispute between two D senators prevent the seat from getting filled. It simply will not happen. The seats will be filled this year.

        The Louisiana to Texas seat is the only one of the 3 switches you mentioned I even see have a shot in happening but I don’t see that one happening either.

        I actually don’t believe the NY or Washington senators will even bring the subject up, certainly not as much as we talk about it on this site. Like I air I will gladly admit I’m wrong if any of the seats end up switching but I truly don’t see it happening nor do I see your suggestion of the seats going I filled happening… Lol

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      • @Dequan

        No you are either missing or ignoring my point. You say:

        ” I do not think any change will be made, the status will keep the seats the same.”

        What I am saying is that there is a dispute on what the status of the seat is. Cabranes was nominated to a NY seat because he grew up in NYC. The NY senators signed off on that. McKeown was clearly nominated to a WA seat and moved to San Diego.

        So “keeping the seats the same” isn’t as clear as you would make it out to be. In my view it is clear that “keeping the seats the same” should be based on when the judge was appointed, not based on the final destination of a judge. If it is the latter, then any judge can move to a different state and move the seat permanently with him/her. And that’s just bullshit.

        You may not see it happening, but your opinion is not the last word.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yea, I understand your position completely. And your correct, my opinion is not the last word. One of us will be right & one of us will be wrong.

        We shall see in the next few months. I am saying regardless of what has happened, regardless of what is fair & regardless of the statistics, the seats will be filled this year in California & Connecticut. So if anything else happens (Seats moved or seats remain vacant for instance) then I will be wrong. We don’t have to guess, we will find out fairly soon which one of us ends up being right. I will be writing immediately upon the release of the batch that includes these seats either way it goes.

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      • I absolutely love our discussions & this site overall. Ever since my first time voting in 2000 in which I was one of the Floridians that had a pregnant Chad & my vote ended up not counting, I always wanted to know more about the Supreme Court & then eventually the lower courts judges that get to decide the most important issues in our country. All of you on this site always have great input & is a welcome discussion. I actually have a special ringtone for whenever somebody post on this site… Lol

        But keep the conversations coming, I love it. And special thanks to the editors of the site.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. For splitting the 9th circuit, I would keep Hawaii, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands with California. I would move Nevada and Arizona to the 10th circuit and in turn move Oklahoma to the 5th circuit and Kansas to the 8th circuit. I would then make a new 12th circuit out of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska (and move Wyoming from the 10th to the new 12th). I highly doubt this will happen, but just what I would do if I had control.

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    • So I proposed most of this above except moving Oklahoma to the 5th. The reason why are the Native American cases; Oklahoma has a large substantial population as does New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, so there is a community of interest in the 10th Circ. there, which becomes even stronger if you add Arizona.

      But I can see it, the two seats from Oklahoma may help alleviate some of the 5th Circ. burden coming from Texas.

      Liked by 1 person

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