Report: Obama plans to nominate three lawyers to D.C. Circuit

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 29, 2013

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- Less than a week after the U.S. Senate's overwhelming confirmation of Sri Srinivasan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, President Barack Obama reportedly is gearing up to nominate three others to the court.

The New York Times reported Monday that the President is eyeing Cornelia T. L. Pillard, David C. Frederick and Patricia Ann Millett for the three remaining vacancies on the D.C. Circuit.

Pillard, a graduate of Harvard Law School, currently serves as a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Prior to that, she worked in the U.S. Justice Department as a deputy assistant attorney general, the Solicitor General's Office, at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Frederick, a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, currently is a partner at Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel PLLC. The firm, based in Washington, specializes in complex trial and appellate litigation.

Frederick, according to the firm's website, represents clients principally in appellate courts.

He has argued more than 70 appeals, including 41 in the U.S. Supreme Court, in every federal appeals court.

And, according to his bio, he has won cases in the Supreme Court nine years in a row.

Millett, meanwhile, heads Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's Supreme Court practice, and co-heads the firm's national appellate practice.

According to her bio, she has argued a total of 32 cases before the Supreme Court and about 36 in federal appeals courts.

According to the Times, all three, as was Srinivasan, are considered uncontroversial.

On Thursday, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed a cloture petition to force a vote, the Senate agreed to vote on the merits and unanimously -- in a 97-0 vote -- confirmed Srinivasan.

He was reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee just seven days before that, making his time pending on the Senate floor short for an Obama judicial nominee.

The President nominated Srinivasan for the first time last year and re-nominated him in January.

He will fill the seat left by Judge Arthur Randolph.

The court is considered by some to be the second most important court in the country, after the Supreme Court.

It often is responsible for resolving critically important cases involving the separation of powers, the role of government, the rights of federal officials, and the decisions of a vast array of administrative agencies.

In fact, it was the D.C. Circuit that ruled Obama's "intrasession appointment" of three new members to the National Labor Relations Board was an unconstitutional abuse of power because he could not make those appointments without Senate confirmation because the Senate was not in recess.

However, the court has more vacancies than any other federal appeals court.

In March, Caitlin Halligan took her name out of consideration after Republicans blocked her nomination again and again for more than two years.

And Rudolph's seat was left vacant for nearly 2,800 days.

According to the Times, Obama is likely to make an announcement on nominations to the D.C. Circuit sometime this week.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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