Judicial Nomination Process

Life on the Bench - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Brett M. Kavanaugh, Alex Kozinski, Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, Jerry E. Smith, David Stras, David B. Sentelle, Dean A. Reuter November 19, 2015

Many attorneys see a judgeship as the pinnacle of professional achievement in the legal world. It could be the visibility of judges, their unquestioned decision-making authority, the absence of clients, life tenure, or some other aspect of being a judge. Our panel of judges will discuss the realities of a career on the bench. The panelists will share their thoughts on topics as diverse as the role of the judiciary, judicial philosophy, stare decisis and precedent, opinions and dissents, the judicial appointment process, the state of the legal profession, and much more.

This panel was presented at the 2015 National Lawyers Convention on Saturday, November 14, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.

Special Session: Life on the Bench
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
State Room

  • Hon. Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Hon. Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Hon. Jerry Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • Hon. David Stras, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Minnesota
  • Moderator: Hon. David B. Sentelle, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

The Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Judicial Election Fundraising - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Erik S. Jaffe May 11, 2015

On April 29, the United States Supreme Court issued a 5-4 opinion in Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar allowing states to bar candidates for judgeships from personally asking for campaign donations. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts noted the importance of “public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary,” concluding that “States may regulate judicial elections differently than they regulate political elections, because the role of judges differs from the role of politicians.” In dissent, Justice Scalia noted that the majority disregarded “one settled First Amendment principle after another” to reach its result.

  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Erik S. Jaffe, Sole Practitioner, Erik S. Jaffe, PC

Judicial Campaign Fundraising and the Supreme Court: Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar - Podcast

Free Speech & Election Law Practice Group Podcast
Erik S. Jaffe, M. Edward Whelan January 22, 2015

On Tuesday, January 20, the Supreme Court heard argument in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, a First Amendment case involving the manner in which elected judges may raise campaign funds for themselves. The issue is whether a widely adopted provision of the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, which prohibits judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign funds, violates the First Amendment. Personal solicitation of campaign funds raises concerns that prospective or sitting judges might favor or disfavor litigants and attorneys based on how they responded to such solicitation. On the other side of the issue, once States have decided to elect judges, free political speech becomes a critical component of any fair and democratic election process. In addition to broader arguments regarding the proper scope and function of the First Amendment in the context of judicial elections, this case will involve more focused First Amendment questions regarding whether the current rule, as adopted in Florida, is actually effective in preserving the existence or appearance of impartiality and whether there are less restrictive means – such as recusal – to further such goals.

  • Erik S. Jaffe, Sole Practitioner, Erik S. Jaffe, PC
  • M. Edward Whelan III, President, Ethics and Public Policy Center