Judges, law firm partners and local and federal government attorneys are among the 11 lawyers vying for a seat on the D.C. Court of Appeals.
The judicial hopefuls want to replace Judge Kathryn Oberly after she steps down Dec. 15. The local group that vets judicial applicants, the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission, will recommend three lawyers to the White House. The president's nominee goes before the U.S. Senate for confirmation proceedings.
The nine-member D.C. Court of Appeals is the city's equivalent of a state supreme court. It has one of the busiest appellate dockets nationwide. The city doesn't have intermediate appellate courts, meaning the appeals court takes a broad array of cases from the D.C. Superior Court and local administrative hearing judges.
Two Superior Court judges and a magistrate judge are interested in Oberly's seat: Judge Craig Iscoe, a member of the bench since 2003; Judge Neal Kravitz, who joined the court in 1998; and Magistrate Judge Karen Howze, who was appointed in 2002.
The former top lawyer for the D.C. government, Robert Spagnoletti, applied. Spagnoletti, a partner at Schertler & Onorato, chairs the D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. Todd Kim, who serves as solicitor general for the District of Columbia in the city attorney general's office, applied as well.
Three other lawyers from private practice applied: Geoffrey Klineberg, a partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel; Harold Lester Jr., of counsel at Vedder Price; and Paul Wolfson, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
Three federal government lawyers applied: Alan Burch, an assistant appellate counsel in the civil division of the U.S. attorney's office in Washington; Deborah Jeffrey, inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service's Office of Inspector General; and Vijay Shanker, acting deputy chief of staff in the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal division.
Most of the applicants for Oberly's seat have applied for local judgeships in the past.
The nomination commission is accepting feedback on the applicants through Nov. 22.