Bench Memos

The Brian Davis Nomination

Senator Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has announced his opposition to President Obama’s nomination of Brian Davis for a federal district judgeship in the Middle District of Florida. Grassley’s opposition is based largely on a speech that Davis gave to the local NAACP, and his responses to Grassley’s questions about that speech. It’s interesting that Senator Marco Rubio (a home-state senator) is apparently continuing to support the nomination despite some pushback. You can read Grassley’s statement here and a Roll Call news story about all this here.

I’ve read Davis’s speech (quoted extensively in Grassley’s statement), and — although it was given over 16 years ago, in December 1995 — it is indeed quite disturbing.  Likewise, I’ve read his answers to Grassley’s questions, and those answers are indeed quite lame — disingenuous, in fact –and of course quite recent. They suggest not only that Davis will follow very left-wing jurisprudence, but also that he sees the world (and, thus, the litigants in his courtroom) through a relentlessly racial lens. I don’t know whether the rest of Davis’s record assuages or aggravates these concerns, but the speech and the responses make it essential for the rest of the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine Brian Davis’s record very carefully.

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