President Barack Obama today nominated Venable partner Robert Wilkins, former special litigation chief at the D.C. Public Defender Service, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Wilkins is a trial and appellate lawyer in Venable's corporate defense/white collar, technology and commercial litigation practice groups. He was chief of the Public Defender Service's special litigation section from 1996 to 2000 and joined Venable in May 2002.
At Venable, Wilkins (at left) has represented clients in bribery cases, grand jury subpoena investigations and patent infringement suits. He is a founding member of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission. Legal Times in 2008 named Wilkins as one of Washington’s greatest 90 lawyers in the past three decades. He was also the lead plaintiff in a landmark racial-profiling suit that stemmed from a traffic stop in 1992 in Cumberland, Md.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) recommended Wilkins from a number of candidates who were screened by a nominating commission, which is chaired by Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe partner Pauline Schneider.
“Robert Wilkins brings the full range of experience that makes for a great federal trial court judge,” Norton said in a statement. “He has represented the poor and the mighty alike, and his reputation among his peers, especially for a young man, is universally high.”
Obama tapped Wilkins, a 1989 Harvard Law School alum, for an opening that was created when Judge James Robertson took senior status in 2008. Wilkins, declined to comment on the nomination.
Obama today also nominated two Californians for the trial courts there: Magistrate Judge Anthony Battaglia for an opening on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, and state Judge Edward Davila for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
“These distinguished individuals have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice throughout their careers,” Obama said in a statement. “I am grateful for their decision to serve the American people from the District Court bench.”
Staff Photo by Diego Radzinschi/The National Law Journal