Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

In Praise of the Honorable D. Brooks Smith

Pennsylvania attorney Matthew Stiegler has posted a lengthy Twitter thread praising Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for his dedication to the rule of law and, in particular, his handling of recent (and ongoing) election-related litigation.

Judge Smith was nominated to the Third Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2002. As Stiegler notes, Smith’s nomination was opposed by some progressive activist groups (most notably, Community Rights Counsel, precursor to the Constitutional Accountability Center, and some environmental groups), and the NYT editorialized against his confirmation.

As Stiegler details, Smith’s liberal critics profoundly misjudged him. The attacks were unfair and ungrounded, and failed to account for Smith’s profound commitment to judicial independence, impartiality, and collegiality on the bench. As Stiegler notes, his “fellow progressives” failed to appreciate that Smith has “an unshakeable commitment to judicial independence and the rule of law” — and has exhibited that commitment on both the U.S. District Court and Third Circuit Court of Appeals, most recently (but hardly exclusively) in his election-law decisions.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.

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