Roopali Desai – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

A go-to election lawyer in Arizona (and frequent legal foe of Trump Ninth Circuit consideree Kory Langhofer), Roopali Desai has been tapped for the Ninth Circuit.

Background

Roopali Hardin Desai received a B.A. and an M.P.H. from the University of Arizona and then received a J.D. from the University of Arizona Law School in 2005. Desai then clerked for Judge Mary Schroeder on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then joined Lewis & Roca in Phoenix.

In 2007, Desai became a Partner at Coppersmith Brockelman, where she currently works.

History of the Seat

Desai has been nominated for an Arizona seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This seat opens when Judge Andrew Hurwitz moves to senior status, which he will go upon confirmation of a successor.

Political Activity

Desai is a frequent donor to Arizona Democrats, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Rep. Greg Stanton, and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Legal Experience

Desai has spent almost her entire legal career at the firm of Coppersmith and Brockelman, where she has made a name for herself as a go-to attorney for Arizona Democrats. Desai notably served as the campaign attorney for Sinema when she first ran for Congress in 2012. See Jeremy Duda, Arizona State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Staffs Up Big and Early, Arizona Capitol Times, Jan. 3, 2012. In 2016, Desai represented the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in successfully challenging the presence of GOP Senate candidate Candace Begody-Begay. See Ben Giles, Judge Tosses Begody-Begay From Election Ballot, Arizona Capitol Times, June 24, 2016. Similarly, Desai represented the U.S. Green Party in seeking to remove a slate of alleged spoiler Green Party candidates being run by Republicans in an effort to shift close elections. See Jeremy Duda, Arizona Green Party Files Suit Over Alleged Sham Candidates, Arizona Capitol Times, Sept. 7, 2010. Outside of the election context, Desai has also represented the Coalition of Arizona Acupuncture Safety. See Gary Grado, Acupuncture: Dry Needling in Arizona, Arizona Capitol Times, Nov. 11, 2013.

A summary of her other key cases follows:

Mask Mandates

In 2021, Desai led the legal challenge against a statewide ban on mask mandates passed in Arizona and supported by Governor Doug Ducey. See Howard Fischer, Judge to Hear Arguments Over Legality of Mask Prohibition, Arizona Capitol Times, Aug. 25, 2021. Desai was able to convince the Arizona Supreme Court of her position, as the court unanimously struck down the provisions. See W. Schutsky, Ducey’s Judges Go Rogue, Arizona Capitol Times, Nov. 2, 2021.

2020 Election

Desai represented Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in defending against lawsuits challenging the validity of Arizona’s presidential election, which awarded Arizona’s electoral votes to President Joe Biden. See Howard Fischer, Judge Rejects GOP Official’s Effort to Void Election Won By Biden, Arizona Capitol Times, Dec. 6, 2020.

Voting Laws

Desai has frequently litigated against measures that restrict voting access. For example, she was part of the legal team unsuccessfully fighting an Arizona bill that restricted ballot collection. See Feldman v. Reagan, 843 F.3d 366 (9th Cir. 2016) (en banc).

Redistricting

In 2010, Desai represented a commissioner on Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission in defending the Commission’s actions in a suit where opposing counsel included future Arizona Supreme Court Justice Bill Montgomery. See State ex rel. Montgomery v. Mathis, 231 Ariz. 103 (Ariz. App. 2012).

Labor Law

In 2013, Desai was part of a legal team that secured a ruling against newly passed Arizona statutes that limited the ability of labor unions to engage in picketing and in using payroll deductions for political speech. See United Food & Commer. Workers Local 99 v. Bennett, 934 F. Supp. 2d 1167 (D. Ariz. 2013).

School Vouchers

In 2018, Desai represented Save Our Schools Arizona, a group opposing school vouchers in promoting an initiative blocking voucher expansion. Katie Campbell, Voucher Expansion Ballot Measure Prompts Questions on Voter Protection, Arizona Capitol Times, Sept. 15, 2017.

Marijuana

In the 2020 campaign cycle, Desai represented the Arizona Dispensaries Association in advising it on a legalization campaign. See Hank Stephenson, Pro-Pot Crew Shaping Up, Initiative Not So Much, Yellow Sheet Report, Mar. 20, 2019.

Writings and Statements

As a law student, Desai authored a note analyzing the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Minnitt. Roopali H. Desai, State v. Minnitt: Extending Double Jeopardy Protections in the Context of Prosecutorial Misconduct, 46 Ariz. L. Rev. 415 (Summer 2004). In the article, Desai favorably compares Minnitt, which bars retrial when a mistrial was caused by prosecutorial misconduct that was later discovered, with the rule in federal cases, noting that Minnitt “makes clear that a prosecutor cannot avoid the double jeopardy ramifications of his own misconduct by simply concealing that misconduct until a trial is complete.” Id. at 422.

Overall Assessment

As a young nominee with a willingness to engage in bare knuckles litigation on behalf of liberal causes, Desai is likely to attract a fair amount of opposition. However, she has the strong support of Sinema, which will likely smooth her path to confirmation.

252 Comments

  1. @Dequan
    Although I applaud the nomination of the 1st African-American woman to ever serve on the 5th Circuit. Judge Douglas is from Louisiana and not Texas. Therefore I cannot turn a blind-eye to the fact that Texas has lacked representation diversity & inclusion regarding the 5th Circuit. So I won’t be satisfied until I see the first African-American appointed for a vacancy in Texas.

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  2. I’ve held back for a while now, but Shawn can you just take it down a couple notches. I agree with your opinion that Democratic nominees should be younger and more progressive, but the constant rants about “left-punching” and how Childs (who I don’t support for the DC Circuit) will somehow be like John Roberts (the Republican who wrote the opinion undermining the Voting Rights Act? Seriously?) are either tiresome and irrelevant or just unsupported by the facts.

    I may not agree with Kevin Collins’ blind loyalty to the Democratic party or Angie’s fixation on this one judge in Texas, but folks are entitled to have their opinions even if you disagree with them. Not every disagreement is a conspiracy to stab you in the back (or whatever you seem to think it is) – you can only refute their points reasonably, as Dequan does, and then just ignore them if they’re just unreasonable.

    More importantly, I strongly disagree with your comment that some of these seats should be left vacant rather than filled by what you and I both consider subpar nominees. Do you think McConnell is just going to keep those seats vacant during the next Republican administration? I’d rather have a bland, centrist nominee that I agree with 50% of the time than a Fed Soc hack that twists the law to protect Trump and Republican interests (we have enough of those on SCOTUS). Even in states with 2 Dem Senators, do you really think anyone Trump or DeSantis nominates–if they don’t abolish blue slips for district judges–will be more progressive than someone a Democrat (even Biden) would pick? Mitch McConnell is one of the worst people in America today, but his “leave no vacancy behind” approach is the correct one.

    Look, I get your frustration with the Democratic Party as a progressive, I really do – but until progressives win enough elections to change it, this country’s political system heavily favors the Republicans and moderate Democrats, and progressives will make no progress if we alienate anyone that isn’t 100% on the same page as us. Charles Blow’s recent column sums up my feelings pretty well: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/10/opinion/we-are-political-hostages.html.

    If you want to rant about how much you detest moderate Democrats (especially with what Manchin’s unsurprising but still discouraging about-face), that’s totally fine – I’m sure there’s a Reddit subthread for that.

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    • I’m quite entitled to MY opinions too and to express them here, no matter how tiresome you may find them. I consider the actions from these bogus “Democrats” a stab in the back. I don’t believe in just ignoring comments I disagree with, if you do, you are free to do that with my comments as well. I’m not going to take it down any notches. In fact, if anything I will elevated it up a couple notches. I’ve actually held back quite a bit too.

      You can disagree all you want. But again this is not a partisan Democratic site, and I am quite entitled to advocate for withholding support for Democratic party, including voting for the GOP. If you don’t like my opinions, which include the “stab in the back” language, well too bad.

      I stand by every last word that I said about J. Michelle Childs. Most importantly, I don’t hope that I’m wrong about Childs. I hope I am RIGHT that she will be another John Roberts because I want to tie this around the Democratic Party establishment much the same way that David Souter became the rallying cry for the GOP base.

      I’ll address your substantive comments in another post.

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    • Thank You Hank for being a voice of reason, and yes I am fixated on one African-American who I’d love to see nominated to serve on the 5th Circuit vacancy in Texas but it’s only because when setting all politics aside, Judge Hanks is the most qualified in my humble opinion. And I respectfully disagree with those who are fixated on an Hispanic getting the nomination. But at the end of the day, we’re all just advocates for who we think would be deserving of the nomination and why.

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      • On another note, now that I have completed adding pictures to the Biden & Trump judges on their Wikipedia pages, I’m going through the active Obama just she’s this weekend to add their pictures. As I’ve gotten through nearly half of them I’m amazed at a handful of them have already died. Obama was just two presidents ago & already some of his judges are dead. I guess that’s why she plays such an important role in my judicial nominees evaluations.

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      • Birthdays are a near impossible task. The issue with that is there are some sites that will show them for some judges. But Wikipedia won’t accept those as reliable sources. Most articles will name the nominees age not birth date. That’s why I knew Matthew Garcia was born between 1973/1974 despite his graduation date suggesting he was born around 1977/1978. But if anybody can get me a reliable source with exact birth dates, I would be more then happy to enter them.

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      • I’ve found a few birthdays here and there, I usually don’t enter it into Wikipedia unless I can find 2 sources or 1 reliable source. If it’s a reliable source, I source it, if not reliable enough, I don’t. So far I’ve found birthdays for Stephanie Davis, Bridget Bade (Trump judge), Daniel P Collins (Trump judge), Lee Yeakel (Bush judge), & Aleta Trauger (Clinton judge).

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      • Ahhh ok. Btw all the judges I’ve mentioned, I already added their birthday into Wikipedia (some I added 1-2 years ago and I haven’t checked in a while to see whether they were still there). Now that I’ve found this blog, I know that some of you are behind adding to the Wikipedia pages of federal judges/nominees, something I do too (though not as much as I used to). Usually, I add rulings that I have particular interest in to their pages (often I quote their dissent if I strongly disagree with the majority)

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  3. Alright everyone, I’ve put in a good faith attempt to reason with Shawn (and I know I’m not the only one who has). Though honestly, I don’t know how much can you can reason with someone who–to assuage his own pride and “score points” against politicians who don’t care what we think–hopes a judge will issue conservative rulings hurting the most vulnerable people in this country.

    Feel free to keep commenting Shawn, but for anyone who’s interested in having real discussions about Biden’s nominees, I’d encourage you to skip over his posts and not bother with the provocations and disparagement. Any public internet forum will have trolls and provocateurs, but I’m hopeful that there are still folks here who can have meaningful discussions about this issue that we care about for (hopefully) the right reasons.

    Angie – fair enough on Texas not having had a Black judge. I don’t know if folks are focused on a Hispanic judge on the 5th as much as they think it’s most likely given the factors that others have mentioned. I don’t think anyone is saying that Hanks isn’t qualified, just that there are other candidates that are a better fit for a Democratic administration that should be seeking to counteract the Federalist Society hacks on the courts (which I understand may not be your perspective, but is the view of a lot of us here).

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    • @Hank & Angie

      So for me, it’s never about qualifications. Almost anybody who is even discussed, let alone nominated for a federal judgeship in this day & age will be qualified, probably extremely qualified. Biden has nominated 123 judges. I would say 122 of them are qualified. I would be willing to listen to anybody’s argument that watched Christine O’Hearn’s SJC hearing & wants to argue even she is qualified to make it unanimous.

      Despite me hating what Trump’s 230 Judges have done to the judiciary, I can’t say they weren’t qualified. You can say he nominated a few that weren’t qualified, but to his credit senator Kennedy weeded a couple of them out. Maybe Jonathan Knobles on the 9th circuit you can argue wasn’t qualified but at the end of the day even he probably was too.

      So if we only take qualifications into consideration then you could never argue against any of the nominees. @Angie ask yourself , if a SCOTUS opening became vacant today would you be ok with Biden nominating somebody like a 1991Clarence Thomas being nominated as a replacement? If not, why? He would be black, he would be qualified & he would be young at 41 years old. If your answer is no because he doesn’t fit your ideology or because there are much better choices for a Democrat president to pick them I would argue that is the same answer as to why I’m against George Hanks being elevated, despite him being qualified & black.

      A nominee doesn’t have to be bad to be a bad nominee. J Childs is my second worst Biden nominee yet she has a Masters in Law. Less then 1% of the active federal judges has that. They don’t just hand those out, it’s super hard to get. That’s why despite me thinking she’s a horrible nominee for the DC circuit, I speak up for her when anybody says she’s not qualified. I think we can walk & chew gum at the same time when it comes to the judiciary. We can add diversity with more black men (Which by the way as a black man I am completely on board with you on) to the circuit courts. It’s been 3,103 days since a black man has been added to any circuit court so believe me it’s beyond past time. I just think we can do that while also being strategic.

      Let’s get the right nominees in the right seats so that we can improve the chances of the Democrats keeping & hopefully increasing their majority so we have two more years to debate these & future nominees. Because one thing is for sure, if the Republicans take over the senate, we won’t be having the same debates then that we are having now.

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      • Dequan, I agree with you regarding the qualifications of Biden’s nominees, and as someone who watched her hearing concur completely regarding Christine O’Hearn being unqualified for her seat. That being said, not to disrespect anyone, but some nominees are by definition of their qualifications and subsequent experiences are more qualified than others. While I don’t think their formula is the best due to their bias towards corporate lawyers, the ABA has a similar rating system to account for this, with nominees getting a well qualified, qualified, or not qualified rating. So while qualifications may not seem important for some, I actually think they are the most important characteristic, because when considering possible nominees someone is always the most qualified.

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      • I can certainly appreciate everyone’s perspective, depth, & viewpoints within reason, and yes it’s just that simple for me to look at a Judges body of work & know that they’re deserving of consideration. And @ Dequan not only is Judge Hanks in that less than 1% of Judges having obtained an LLM in Judicial Studies (while he served as a Federal Magistrate), but I can recall that he was handpicked for the 1st Inaugural Class after the LLM program was reinstated at Duke. So my personal ideology is that the brightest and the best should not be overlooked and disqualified because mid-50’s is viewed as too old. A lot of these Judges are serving well into their 80’s before taking Senior Status. And I know almost for certain that Judge Hanks will be one of them, just as I’m almost certain that he’ll still be running marathons too well into his 80’s.

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      • I am of the opinion that we need more legal superstars. I remember asking Dequan about someone in Illinois who fits that description and he named a well-respected progressive professor.

        The Seventh Circuit in particular has a good reputation for high legal scholarship among progressives and conservatives alike. Retiring judge Diane Wood was a stellar judge and IMHO should have been chosen for the Supreme Court before Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

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  4. (this should be its own comment rather than a reply so I copy/pasted and fixed a typo)
    I find myself “moderate” as pertains to this blog. I consider myself very progressive but also a pragmatist, which puts me in between the Kevin Collins/Frank/Angie bloc and basically everyone else.
    1)I think age should be considered for judicial nominees, especially in courts where there is an opportunity to make a future Chief Judge, but it’s ok to nominate older judges if they are progressive enough and thus unlikely to vacate under a Republican
    2) I’m unhappy with picks such as J. Michelle Childs & Christine O’Hearn, but I would rather have Childs & O’Hearn confirmed than leave the seat vacant, which would likely result in the next GOP administration (or Biden/Dem president crippled by a GOP Senate) picking a Chad Meredith-type judge.
    3) No matter how bad & inefficient Dems are, they will always be the lesser of 2 evils given that the GOP still supports voter suppression, controlling women’s bodies, & a criminal insurrectionist who was involved in planning a coup. I will never vote Republican unless it’s someone like Liz Cheney or Lisa Murkowski.

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    • @Ryan Joshi

      Besides the word moderate (I consider myself more left of center because I’m hard right on some issues like the death penalty yet hard left on issues such as being pro choices & ultra left when it comes to judges), I completely agree with every other single word you typed. Literally 100% besides the word moderate.

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    • Everybody here is a pragmatist in some shape or form. My issue is the damaging form of pragmatism coming from the Democratic Party establishment and Joe Biden.

      For example, I don’t spend time bashing Joe Manchin. The reason is this is kind of what I would expect for West Virginia, a state that Trump won by 40%. Joe Manchin is whom he is, and we have to live with that. My issue is that the Democratic Party establishment’s failures is the primary reason why we are stuck with having to rely on Joe Manchin as the 50th vote.

      There is zero appetite for pro-corporate fiscal conservatism. Basically people of all political stripes in the country hates that agenda. Even upper middle class voters don’t care about it much anymore. Yet the idiot Democratic Party establishment continues to pretend that this is 1995 and pushes that kind of crap. This causes a lot of working class and young people who are vaguely left and not all that political to either sit out or vote for people like Trump. Joe Biden lost oodles of votes by not challenging Trump at all on the economy.

      We need far better quality candidates for both progressives and moderates where needed, and to some extent we’re starting to get them. John Fetterman is very good example of what a quality swing state candidate looks like. Reverend Warnock is another great example. He crushed a Bidenesque left-punching trash in Conor Lamb in the primary. As far as moderates, take a look at Tim Ryan, who is a perfect fit for a light red state like Ohio.

      Joe Biden needs to resign after the election. Let’s see what Kamala Harris can do. She was pretty strong in the debate against Mike Pence. If she’s not up to the job, we can go with someone like say Gretchen Whitmer in 2024.

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      • The other thing we need to completely ditch are preserving obsolete norms and campaigning on bipartisanship. It is this crap that angers me most about Joe Biden and why I regularly say Let’s Go Brandon.

        Quit dithering out of fear that SCOTUS will strike down your executive actions and start doing things, follow FDR on this. And then when SCOTUS strikes these laws down, raise a big howl and use it to make a case against this right-wing thug SCOTUS. Build a profile and movement that sets up the opportunity to reform SCOTUS down the line.

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      • Biden isn’t going to resign. It’s wishful thinking to expect something like that. You say it as many times as want it’s not gonna happen.

        Let’s assume it happens: Kamala Harris will not win in Arizona, Pennsylvania and certainly not in Florida. In her own right she’s unelectable.

        We don’t need people outside of the party to choose who we run in our elections.

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      • The idea that an incumbent President Kamala Harris (who is adequately competent as President) is unelectable is total nonsense. She may not be a great candidate as a challenger, but the whole dynamic is different with an incumbent President.

        Obviously if she is not capable of doing the job, we’ll find out quick and the Democrats will need to nominate someone else. But I don’t think that is the case. It will be more like what happened in NY, Kathy Hochul turned out to be a far better Governor than her scumbag predecessor.

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      • Kamala Harris is not a progressive. That doesn’t bother me. But what people forget is that Harris was a prosecutor. She had 1500 marijuana users put in jail during her tenure These low level offenders got the “book” thrown at them..

        When Tulsi Gabbard asked Harris in a debate if she had ever used marijuana she laughed and said ” I have ,” That’s when progressives began to walk away from her Shortly after that her campaign ended abruptly. Her campaign staff went to reporters and said she was mean.

        What’s more, these complaints about her have not subsided since she’s been Vice President. She’s not well liked in the White House.

        Without getting into specifics Kamala has a lot of stuff in her past and present that Republicans will use vigorously. I would preferred that she remained as a Senator or perhaps attorney general, But, she thinks she can be President.

        Those of us who live in California know her better than anyone else. I haven’t heard anyone from here who believes that she can win an election on her own.

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      • I never said that Kamala Harris was a progressive. I simply said that I would like to give her a shot as President as I think she would be more open to progressive ideas and pressure.
        Yes she may have some baggage, but incumbency makes it a little bit harder for those kinds of things to stick. And she would be the first female President and that would be a considerable asset.

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    • I agree Ryan. Well said. At this point my primary motivation is confirming 41 circuit court seats and as many district seats as possible before the end of the year. Just a pragmatic choice to diversify the courts and keep hold of left leaning seats.

      If we hold the senate then we can pick and choose battles and go for the most progressive nominees possible. But for now it’s all about pure utilitarian politics

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  5. The Meredith deal is dead (at least for now) per NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/15/us/politics/biden-mcconnell-judge-abortion.html?referringSource=articleShare.

    But just to highlight:

    Mr. McConnell said that he had made no pledge to the White House to do anything in return for Mr. Biden accepting his recommendation, an appeal he made through Ron Klain, the chief of staff.

    “There was no deal,” said Mr. McConnell, adding that Mr. Biden’s consideration represented the kind of “collegiality” and once routine cooperation on home-state judges that has diminished in recent years. “This was a personal friendship gesture.”

    “Personal friendship” with the man who gave us this illegitimate, hard-right SCOTUS and has given Biden *checks notes* exactly nothing in return – and looks like it would’ve happened too if it weren’t for Rand Paul of all people.

    I still vote for Dems in the midterms because the alternative is so much worse, but just when you think Biden couldn’t disappoint us any more…

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  6. I took a look at the Virginia Women’s Attorney’s Association reports on their vetting of judges. They put their reports online for a whole host of Virginia judicial openings. The one for the W VA seat was done on 5/27/21. There were concerns about the temperament for Juval Scott and Christine Lee another Black woman who is a public defender. It’s curious, because Christine Lee also applied for the 4th Circuit and the VWAA’s panel for that gave her a Highly Recommended rating.
    Also these reports could provide some additional candidates for Virginia openings in the future.

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    • It’s my first time hearing of Christine Lee. She must didn’t make it to the final round for the 4th circuit despite the Virginia Women’s Attorney’s Association saying she was highly qualified. I remember the two woman Obama put on the district court judges being the only other names recommended for the seat Tony Heytens got & they were born in 1960 & 1962 so they had no shot. It seems like this organization is having an outsized role in the vetting process for judges.

      On another note, upon research I see James E. Simmons Jr. is black. Piggy backing on our earlier conversation, it’s good to see a black man nominated by Biden & for a change, this time he’s going at 41. Hopefully he turns out to be progressive on the bench in San Diego.

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      • The organization ranked 8 candidates as “highly recommended” for the 4th Circuit, including the three finalists. Unfortunately most of the other “highly recommended” candidates aren’t much younger. Christine Lee for example was a 1966 birth date.

        Regarding Simmons, there’s no progressive record for him. Diversity is a very worthwhile goal, but for me it comes after having a progressive record. Same with age, younger is better, but only if the nominee is progressive. Having a 40 year old Stephen Locher or Jennifer Rearden is not an asset. I would prefer a 60 year old with a progressive record over Locher.

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      • @Shawn

        Yea my money is on McConnell (I’ll be nice here & instead of saying lying) memory doesn’t recall the details exactly. I agree Biden is not the best deal maker but what Mitch says doesn’t pass the smell test. I believed it when I initially thought it was Chad Meredith for a promise not to block any votes for the rest of the year. I was consistent on this site that I did not believe the whole 2 US Attorney deal. But The NY Times article deal of no deal whatsoever, just a favor for a friend, naaaaaa I’m not buying that. Mitch is stirring the pot knowing there isn’t going to be a written record to confirm he’s full of it.

        As for the Virginia situation, that’s great info. Thanks for passing it along. And Christine Lee being in her mid 50’s is another disappointment. I’m pleased with the 4th circuit selection of Heytens & absolutely beyond pleased with 3 of the 4 nominees to the Eastern district. I guess the Western half of the state doesn’t have any progressives under 50…smh

        As far as Simmons Jr. goes, yup I agree. I couldn’t find anything progressive in his background either. I read he worked in the gang division & also with juveniles prior to becoming a judge so hopefully he just took that route in lieu of the traditional progressive routes other nominees have taken but will end up being somewhat to the left. I don’t know which senator recommended him but if it was Padilla then I have a lot more faith in that hope then if it was Feinstein. I am hoping the other 5 recommended nominees the senators have turned in are more progressive then the two we got yesterday.

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      • @Dequan

        The more I thought about it, I don’t think McConnell thinks he is lying. McConnell thinks about it this way, Biden is doing him a “personal favor” by appointing Meredith due to their friendship. And sometime later, McConnell will do Biden a “personal favor” by getting some judges confirmed or whatever, also due to their friendship. Completely unrelated of course. Think Cuban Missile Crisis when RFK told the Soviets that they would remove missiles from Turkey but there was no “quid pro quo”.

        Here’s the link to the VWAA site, it’s a good read. There were some progressives in the W VA applicant pool, including Juval Scott. The more I think about it, I think she got shafted. The Warner/Kaine committee thought highly enough of her to advance her to the final 2.
        https://www.vwaa.org/judiciary.html

        As far as E VA, I mentioned it earlier, but the alternative to Jamar Walker was Kevin Duffan, who is a Republican, despite being a plaintiffs attorney. Almost all his donations are to the GOP.

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      • I definitely think there was a hit job on Duval Scott. Seems like the district will go another generation with all white judges sadly.

        I couldn’t find much on Kevin Duffan but if he has that many GOP donations, that’s scary he made it to the final two. Thankfully Jamar Walker being almost a decade younger & LGBT probably was enough to put him over the top of almost anybody else who would have been recommended.

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      • Members of the House make recommendations. In theory they have no say on judicial nominees, but in practice they sometimes do. That’s especially true if they are of the same party as the President, but both Senators are of the opposing party.

        That was the case in Illinois in southern Illinois in 2020. David Dugan, a Circuit Judge in Madison County, was recommended to Trump by John Shumkus, Stephen McGlynn, an experienced judge from St. Clair County, was recommended by Mike Bost. Darren LaHood, who’s friendly with Dick Durbin, acted as a go-between in this arrangement. They were part of a package which included Franklin Valderrama and Ian Johnson.

        I suspect that member of Congress played a role in some of the California nominees.

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      • But Joe Biden & both California senators are all Democrats. Why would any House member need to play a role in recommending nominees in that case? I believe both Feinstein & Padilla have separate judicial screening committees.

        I know in the case of Colorado they initially had some traditional lawyers in their committee & we got Regina Rodriguez. Myself along with Demand Justice plus other progressive groups made a fuss writing letters & making phone calls complaining about who was on their committee & to their credit they changed it with more progressive people & we got Charlotte Sweeney, Nina Wang & they three recommended nominees for the seat that will open up next year. All are much better picks then Rodriguez.

        I’m sure in Feinstein’s case she has your traditional lawyers on her committee. Them having separate committees is part of the problem as to why it takes so long for them to send in their recommendations. They should have a joint committee. I would say they should do it like Schumer & Gillibrand does it in New York & let the senior senator pick 3 out of every 4 judges. That works in New York because Schumer is way better at picking judges. That would be a disaster in California because it would be Feinstein picking 3 out of every 4.

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  7. @Dequan,
    I usually agree with you but, based on the NYT article, I think you are absolutely wrong. Rand Paul killed the “deal.” Not Biden. Biden was STILL all set to continue with the nomination. And there was no “deal” as Biden would have gotten NOTHING from it. It’s literally all a personal favor. I have an NYT subscription, here are some useful copy and paste:

    “In considering potential district court nominees, the White House learned that Senator Rand Paul will not return a blue slip on Chad Meredith,” Andrew Bates, a White House spokesman, said Friday in a statement. “Therefore, the White House will not nominate Mr. Meredith.”

    Still, Mr. McConnell said he had persuaded the White House to do him a “personal favor” by putting a young conservative on the bench, only to be thwarted by a Republican colleague.

    “The net result of this is it has prevented me from getting my kind of judge out of a liberal Democratic president,” Mr. McConnell said in an interview, calling Mr. Paul’s position “just utterly pointless.”

    Mr. McConnell said that he had made no pledge to the White House to do anything in return for Mr. Biden accepting his recommendation, an appeal he made through Ron Klain, the chief of staff.

    “There was no deal,” said Mr. McConnell, adding that Mr. Biden’s consideration represented the kind of “collegiality” and once routine cooperation on home-state judges that has diminished in recent years. “This was a personal friendship gesture.”

    Mr. McConnell noted that Mr. Klain had conceded in their discussions that Mr. Meredith was “certainly not the kind of person we would normally nominate,” but the senator argued that the move was simply trading one Republican-backed judge for another. It is not giving away a seat,” said Mr. McConnell

    I’m sorry, I don’t know how else you can read these, even after all the Dem/progressive blowback. This is the lowest Biden blow for me. Never thought Rand Paul would be my hero for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WOW… I didn’t have access to The NY Times article but thanks for the copy/paste. So there was no desk, not even for the two US Attorneys? Just a personal favor for a friend? And Ron Klein was ok with it? That just doesn’t sound right to me. I would love to hear a response from The White House. That’s pretty hard to believe anybody can be that incompetent & tone deaf.

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      • So TBH, I’m sure there was at least a wink-wink deal (of course you can’t trust McConnell to follow through). McConnell is denying it of course to save face, this whole episode makes him look bad too among the GOP base.

        I don’t particularly like Biden, but McConnell is more weasely and less trustworthy. Secondly, Biden makes bad deals, not simply gives something for free. My conclusion is that McConnell is lying. No surprise there.

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      • If the White House wants to make a deal with McConnell, there are many other Republicans who can be chosen. One name I read a few years back is Allison Jones, Chief Judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. She’s regarded as conservative, but also even-handed and apolitical.

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  8. @Dequan/Mitch

    I absolutely agree with you Dequan, but the window for McConnell and Biden to make a deal is closing. If the GOP loses even a seat, I think McConnell is probably out as minority leader, and my guess is that McConnell will probably resign from the Senate before 2024. If it is 50/50 again, the question is whether the GOP makes a major push to get Manchin to switch parties. Manchin has privately said that he would not consider switching as long as McConnell is leader and the only time Manchin endorsed a challenger to another Senator was against McConnell.

    And if the GOP regains the Senate, McConnell will either block all appointments, or demand that all judicial vacancies from GOP Presidents are filled with his choices. So any deal would have to be agreed on before the election.

    McConnell’s spokesman had said in January 2021 that he had went to Biden with an opening bid (under the assumption that David Purdue would win the runoff) that half the vacancies would be filled with GOP choices. He also said that they would accept a deal such that the judiciary stays the same, i.e. all vacancies from a GOP President would be filled with GOP selections, the ones from a Democratic President. The latter wouldn’t be all the different than what actually happened.

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    • @Shawn

      Wow, your last paragraph is a scary thought. Thank God for Georgia & those run offs. As for your first paragraph, I don’t really know if Manchin switching parties will get him re-elected. I keep hearing people say this but from where I stand, I think if he’s a Republican he gets primaried from the right by more people then I can count on one hand, maybe even two hands. One of them (Perhaps even the sitting governor) probably beats him. As a Democrat he sails to the general. So I’m not sure if it would be beneficial for him at this point. He might be better off dancing with the one that brought him.

      On another note for all of you Wikipedia lovers out there, it seems a user flagged some of my pictures of the federal judges & they have begun to delete them. Probably somebody with the same agenda that got the Tiffany Cartwright page deleted, they just have nothing better to do. It’s one of the few reasons I hate Wikipedia. It only takes one user having a bad day that can go & delete somebody else’s work…smh

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    • What few remember is that the main reason McConnell shut down confirmations in 2015-16 was that he detested Harry Reid, who overturned the judicial filibuster. As far as I can tell, McConnell’s working relationship with Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden is completely civil.

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      • Do you really believe that? So why is it that, in interview after interview, McConnell can never say that he’ll deal fairly with Biden nominees? The change of the filibuster was the excuse he used back then. Don’t think he wouldn’t find another reason to block most of Biden’s nominees when he becomes majority leader again.
        This is McConnell we are talking about, who’s single biggest achievement is on facilitating the staffing/blocking of the federal judiciary. One trusts him a their own peril.

        Liked by 1 person

    • @Dequan

      So I don’t see a great path for Manchin’s reelection in WV frankly. He would lose a GOP primary for sure because of his two impeachment votes. He would probably lose to a Republican as a Democrat in a Presidential year.
      In theory he would have a path as an independent against a Republican without announcing who he would caucus with, but there’s no way he would avoid losing 10+% of left-leaning Democrats and progressives voting for someone else. This isn’t Utah where the Democrats haven’t won anything in decades.

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      • Exactly. I don’t see re-election for Manchin likely either way. If he stays a Democrat, he probably would at least get a position from a Democrat president (Just like his wife’s 300k a year job Biden gave her last year) if he remains a Dem. I don’t see a president Trump or DeSantis giving him a job if he switches & loses a primary.

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      • @Dequan

        I don’t think Manchin is going to switch regardless. My point above was less about Manchin and more about what the Senate GOP would do with McConnell if we are still at 50/50 after the 2022 elections. If they are going to make a serious attempt to get Manchin to caucus with them, they will have to throw McConnell out.
        I think McConnell is gone as leader if the GOP has 49 or fewer seats in 2023, he obviously sticks around if the GOP gets the majority. It a 50/50 situation, it could go either way IMO. My guess is that McConnell stays leader, but not sure about it.

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  9. @Shawn @Dequan In one of the tell-all books about the Biden administration so far (I forget which one), it was reported that Senator Thune asked Manchin if he would consider becoming and Independent and caucusing with the Republicans. He supposedly said to Thune “If you were the leader (and not McConnell), I would”.

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    • Oh wow. I had never heard that before. I was actually hoping Trump would be mad enough at Thune to mess around in his primary this year & bloody him up like he did in Georgia. Not so much because I think Thune would actually lose, but more so to possibly get him out of leadership. I think Thune would be a good leader for the Republicans& that was before I read what Ethan just wrote about Manchin so I was hoping for some Trump backlash.

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    • I’ve read that Ethan, but I took that more to be complimentary to Thune (and a slight at McConnell). But IMO there is no way Manchin even considers switching unless McConnell is gone as leader.
      I suspect the real thing Manchin would like to do is become independent and remain with the Democratic caucus (and he has far more power at the 50th vote with the Democrats than with the GOP). Manchin has mused several times about how he could be the independent on the right of the caucus like Bernie Sanders is on the left.
      And then run in 2024 as an independent w/o saying whom he would caucus in 2025. But the problem with this is that the actual Democrats in the state will probably refuse to play ball (the way they did in Utah) and not run a candidate.
      If I had to guess, Manchin announces his retirement sometime in 2023.

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      • @Dequan

        No need to do that in Alaska with the whole top 4 thing. I would far prefer the actual Democrat in Alaska, but I think it will end up being between Murkowski and the Trump candidate in the final round regardless. Murkowski will get enough support from the middle of both parties to get into the final 2. The key is making sure that Democrats and left-leaning independents give Murkowski their second place vote.

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      • Yea that’s true. I can’t imagine any Alaska Democrat putting anybody other then Murkowski as their second choice. Then changing to rank & choice is probably the best thing Democrats could hope for. I wish other red states would do the same but their legislators probably wouldn’t let the talk of that change pass the initial stages, let alone be passed into law. Wyoming would be a great place for it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yup. I’m a member of Demand Justice & have been suggesting this for months on the assumption we would finally get nominees from Biden. Now that he has, the ball is in Durbin’s court. This is the best news I’ve seen all day. I hope they put up a billboard right down the street from his office & house.

      Like

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