Veteran Washington appellate attorney Roy McLeese III, a nominee for an open seat on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, answered questions Tuesday on Capitol Hill about his management style and the difficulties facing the court.
McLeese, the chief of the appellate division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, told a sole member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the heavy caseload in the D.C. Court of Appeals has made it a challenge to provide high-quality yet timely opinions.
But he said his work as a supervisor in the U.S. attorney's busy appellate division, which files up to 750 briefs per year, has prepared him for the bench.
“I feel as though I now have the background experience to hit the ground running and make a contribution to that court if I were confirmed,” McLeese told the panel. His wife, Virginia Seitz, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, sat behind him to his left.
McLeese said judges must also work on solutions to busy dockets in a systemic way. He cited a move to electronic case management as a possible solution.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) was the only member of the Senate committee to attend the hearing and ask questions.
McLeese was nominated to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Vanessa Ruiz. Ruiz, appointed to the court in 1994, announced her retirement earlier this year.
A former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia, McLeese was an assistant to the solicitor general from 1997 to 1999, arguing four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. More recently, he temporarily served as the acting deputy solicitor general in the office, filling in for Michael Dreeben while Dreeben taught at Duke Law School.
McLeese has been a member of the D.C. Bar since 1988.