In 2016, D.C. Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman was nominated for a federal judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia but was not processed by the Republican-controlled Senate. Today, Edelman faces a short window for confirmation before the end of the Congress.
Born January 16, 1968 in St. Louis Missouri, Todd Eric Edelman graduated cum laude from the Yale University in 1990 and then received his J.D. from the N.Y.U. School of Law in 1994.
After graduating, Edelman clerked for Judge William Bryant on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before joining the Georgetown University Law Center as a E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow. Edelman then joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
In 2005, he joined Bredhoff & Kaiser PLLC and in 2008, became a visiting associate professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. He was appointed by President Obama to the D.C. Superior Court in 2010.
On April 28, 2016, Edelman was nominated by President Barack Obama to become a U.S. District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, replacing Judge Richard Roberts. However, his nomination was not processed by the U.S. Senate, which was then under Republican control, and after President Donald Trump was elected, he filled the vacancy with Carl Nichols.
History of the Seat
The seat Edelman has been nominated for opens with the elevation of Judge Florence Pan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Edelman started his legal career as a clerk to Judge William Bryant on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Edelman then spent two years at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he worked in their Criminal Justice Clinic.
Starting in 1997, Edelman spent eight years as a public defender in Washington D.C., representing indigent defendants in approximately 30 to 35 jury trials, among other proceedings. Notably, Edelman represented a defendant in his second murder trial in Washington D.C., which concluded with an acquittal on the primary charge of murder. See Benn v. United States, 978 A.2d 1257 (D.C. 2009) (reversing convictions on lesser offenses). He was also trial counsel for a defendant in an assault to commit murder case, in which he objected to the peremptory strikes of all black females from the venire under Batson v. Kentucky. See Robinson v. United States, 878 A.2d 1273 (D.C. 2005). A subsequent appeal led to a ruling of first impression reversing the conviction. See id.
Edelman entered private practice in 2005, working primarily on complex civil litigation. For example, Edelman represented a class of employees who had been forced to drop out of their company health plan due to a dramatic premium rise in a class action against their employer. See Fields v. Lyon Workspace Products et al., Case No. 1:07-cv-6894 (N.D. Ill.) (Lefkow, J.).
Since his confirmation in 2010, Edelman has served as a Judge on the D.C. Superior Court. He started his time in the court on the Civil docket, but has since served on the Domestic Violence and Criminal dockets as well.
Notably, while on the civil docket, Edelman presided over a contract dispute between the American Thoracic Society and the American Cancer Association, mediating the dispute to a settlement before trial. See American Thoracic Society v. American Cancer Association, 2009 CA 4543 (D.C. Super. Ct. Dec. 10, 2015). On the criminal side, he presided over the trial of a man alleged to be the “Petworth serial stabber”, which ended in the defendant’s acquittal of all charges. See United States v. Jones, 2013 CF3 10586 (D.C. Super. Ct. June 2, 2015).
In 2010, Todd Edelman was smoothly confirmed to the D.C. Superior Court. Subsequently, in 2016, his nomination to the federal bench stalled and remained unconfirmed. This time around, Edelman’s biggest enemy is the clock. With limited time on the Senate’s calendar before the end of the Congress, it remains unclear if Edelman’s nomination will receive a hearing in time. If he is not processed and control of the Senate flips in November, Edelman risks seeing a repeat of his 2016 nomination failure.