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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, July 25, 2011

NLJ: Law Profs Face Tough Sledding in Federal Appointments

National Law Journal, Law Professors Find a Hard Road to Federal Appointments, by Karen Sloan:

With one of their own sitting in the Oval Office, it's reasonable to think that legal academics might enjoy an edge in snagging nominations for plum judicial and executive branch posts. But law professors have received a relatively chilly reception in Washington of late, at least when it comes to high-profile positions that require the blessing of the Senate.

"This was a real question when Obama was elected," said University of Richmond School of Law professor Carl Tobias, who studies judicial nominations. "I think some of the liberal interest groups thought he would be able to counter the more conservative people Republicans had appointed by appointing more academics. I don't think that's really come to pass."

Prominent appointees and the outcome of the nominations process.
Academic position:
Associate professor at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law  
Nominated for: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit    
Outcome: Approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 14. Awaiting a full Senate vote
Academic position:
Professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law–Bloomington  
Nominated for: Head of the Office of Legal Counsel 
Outcome: She withdrew her nomination after more than a year of opposition from Republicans
Academic position:
Former Harvard Law School dean  
Nominated for: U.S. Supreme Court  
Outcome: Confirmed by the Senate
Academic position:
Former Yale Law School dean  
Nominated for: Legal adviser to the Department of State  
Outcome: Confirmed by the Senate
Academic position:
Associate dean and professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law  
Nominated for: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit  
Outcome: Twice rejected by the Senate. He withdrew his nomination in May 2011
Academic position:
Professor at University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law  
Nominated for: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit  
Outcome: Confirmed in December 2010
Academic position:
Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School  
Nominated for: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit  
Outcome: Nomination stalled since July 2010
Academic position:
Professor at Harvard Law School  
Nominated for: Failed to be nominated to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau   
Outcome: Obama instead nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray

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But there's really not much mystery here. The people who had solid bipartisan credentials made it through. The people who didn't, didn't.

Posted by: mike livingston | Jul 25, 2011 3:38:32 PM

Gerry Lynch who is a law prof at Columbia and was a District Court Judge was confirmed to an opening on the 2nd Circuit. Does that count?

Posted by: Walter Sobchak | Jul 26, 2011 9:01:06 AM