One of President Barack Obama’s appellate court nominees says he never asked to be chosen.
Judge Gerard Lynch, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, writes in an answer to a Senate background questionnaire that he first heard about a possible nomination when New York’s Democratic senior senator gave him a ring.
“To this point, my involvement in the process has consisted exclusively of the following: I received a call from Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who advised me that the White House anticipated appointing me to the Second Circuit,” Lynch writes. “I did not solicit such a nomination and I was not told what circumstances led to their interest.”
Lynch, who has sat in the Southern District of New York since 2000, doesn’t say when he received the phone call from Schumer. He writes that he has discussed the nomination procedures with Schumer’s staff and has had “numerous contacts” with the White House Counsel’s Office and the Justice Department regarding paperwork for the nomination.
It is accepted practice for potential nominees to lobby their senators for support, so Lynch’s description of the process is perhaps a little unusual. The 2nd Circuit, based in Manhattan, is also one of the most prominent and sought-after postings in the federal judiciary.
Judge Andre Davis of Maryland, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, writes in his response to the Senate questionnaire that he “communicated my desire to be considered for nomination” to Maryland’s two senators in early January. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told Davis that she intended to recommend him to the White House, he writes, and the White House Counsel’s Office contacted him around Jan. 30.
Davis’ description of the process is similar to that given by Obama’s only other circuit nominee so far, Judge David Hamilton. The BLT reported last month on how Hamilton came to be nominated.
More details from the questionnaires after the jump.
Davis writes that, since he became a federal judge in August 1995, he has presided over about 4,300 cases that went to judgment. The most significant cases were all criminal, he writes, highlighting those involving drug conspiracy, mail fraud, and tax evasion. He lists 27 cases in which a higher court reversed or significantly criticized his decision.
He has been a judge on the state or federal level since 1987 and previously worked as a law professor at the University of Maryland, as an associate at Baltimore’s Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman (since dissolved), as an assistant U.S. attorney, and as an appellate lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He lists his net worth at $2.1 million, including rental property on Cape Cod.
Lynch writes that he’s handled between 2,000 and 3,000 cases that went to judgment since he became a federal judge in August 2000. That includes the 2005 perjury conviction of rap artist Lil’ Kim, a case that Lynch mentions as among the most significant he has handled. He also mentions the 2007 sexual harassment trial involving then-New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, as well as cases involving patent infringement, murder, and racketeering. He lists 12 cases in which a higher court reversed his decision (and he offers some commentary on each, i.e., “I must have been very wrong …”).
He has been on the faculty at Columbia University’s law school since 1977. He was counsel at Covington & Burling and its predecessors from 1992 to 2000, and he worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 1990 to 1992 and from 1980 to 1983. He worked on three independent counsel investigations, including those for the Iran-Contra scandal and for then-Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. He lists his net worth at $1.6 million, with zero debt.