Friday, April 9, 2010

Robes for Rob??

With today's (somewhat expected) resignation of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, there have been literally thousands of news stories and blog posts suggesting possible nominees.

So let me be the first to add a practicing attorney in Jackson, Mississippi to the list.

Robert B. McDuff would be the first attorney since Lewis Powell to ascend directly from the advocate's role to the High Court. A recent program at Harvard Law School (where McDuff graduated in 1980) describes his impressive resume as follows:

[McDuff] is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney practicing in Jackson, Mississippi. His practice includes trial and appellate work in cases throughout the country, including four cases that he has argued in the United States Supreme Court. He has represented black voters in several cases in the south seeking to increase the number of black-majority election districts for public officials, including members of congress, state legislators, and state court judges. He has handled cases involving voting rights, police misconduct, free speech, indigent defense funding, access to the courts, abortion rights, school prayer, and discrimination in employment and housing.

McDuff’s criminal practice is comprised of both retained and appointed cases, including several death penalty cases. He presently is representing one of the “Jena 6" defendants in Jena, Louisiana. He is a recipient of the Pro Bono Service Award of the International Human Rights Law Group of Washington, D.C.; the NAACP Legal Award of the Mississippi Conference NAACP; the Ernst Borinski Civil Libertarian Award presented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi; and the 2006 Trial Lawyer of the Year award of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association. He is vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Center for Justice and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Prior to opening his practice in Jackson in 1992, McDuff was an attorney with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Washington, DC and, before that, a member of the faculty of the University of Mississippi Law School, where he taught and also directed a federal court public defender program. He was a law clerk for U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice of the Eastern District of Texas.

So WTF Not, Mr. President? Let's put a real lawyer on the Supreme Court!!

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