The Ninth Circuit? Or the Munger, Tolles and Olson Circuit?

by Ed Whelan

Away on the National Review cruise to Norway, I noted with interest that President Obama nominated to the Ninth Circuit two lawyers from the Munger, Tolles & Olson law firm, Michelle T. Friedland and John B. Owens. As this article notes, a previous Obama appointee to the Ninth Circuit, Paul J. Watford, was also at Munger, Tolles & Olson when he was nominated.

I’ll add that one of President George W. Bush’s (alas, unsuccessful) nominees to the Ninth Circuit, Carolyn B. Kuhl, was also an alumna of the law firm.

I take particular interest in these connections because I had the good fortune to practice with Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles for several years before I moved to D.C. in 1991 to clerk for Justice Scalia. Be assured, though, that my high regard for the law firm won’t bias my assessments of the Obama nominations. (Among other things, there is many a fine lawyer who would not make a good judge.)

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