Bench Memos

Re: Punishing a Lawyer for His Clients

I asked Walter Dellinger, acting Solicitor General and head of the Office of Legal Counsel in President Clinton’s Department of Justice, for his comments on my recent post on the apparent demise of his law partner Sri Srinivasan’s candidacy for a D.C. Circuit seat.  Here’s his e-mailed response, which he has kindly authorized me to publish:

Ed – thank you for writing to ask about your blog posting.  I am pretty certain that there has never been a decision settling on Sri as a nominee. I also have no reason to think that he has been ruled out.  Any potential nominee who has spent time with a firm that represents businesses could, I suppose, raise initial questions for some folks in my party.  But in Sri’s case he has spent a large amount of time on progressive pro bono causes (for instance he worked for Al Gore in the Bush v. Gore litigation, filed briefs for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights on the voter ID issue including in the Sup Ct, worked with and alongside civil rights groups in other cases, etc).

I should note that I’m not privy to the White House’s thinking on this, but I’m pretty confident that Sri has neither been chosen nor ruled out.

I think that it’s fair to say, on the one hand, that Walter’s account is contrary to the reports from my other sources, and, on the other, that Walter disclaims the access to internal Administration decisionmaking on the matter that my other sources either had or believed they had.