10.30.13

Leahy: Senate Should Confirm Millett To The D.C. Circuit Court

“She deserves to be considered on her merits”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Wednesday called on Republicans to support the nomination of Patricia Millett to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Millett is nominated to the court’s ninth seat, a seat which was last filled by John Roberts, who was confirmed by voice vote in 2003 before his elevation to the Supreme Court.

“Patricia Millett is an extraordinary nominee with impeccable credentials for this important appellate court,” Leahy said.  “I hope that her confirmation will not suffer from the partisanship and gridlock that consumed Congress earlier this month.”

The D.C. Circuit currently has eight sitting judges and three vacancies. The court was at full strength during the Bush administration after the Senate voted to confirm four nominees. Leahy called on Republicans to support filling the same vacancies on this important court that they supported filling during the Bush administration.

Millett would be just the sixth woman to serve on the D.C. Circuit. She has served in Democratic and Republican administrations in the Solicitor General’s office and has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court. In addition to her record of public service, Millett is a military spouse whose husband was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom while she served in the Solicitor General’s office.

Leahy said Millett “is the kind of nominee we should all support because hers is the great American story of dedication, diligence, and patriotism.”  

“I hope that all Senators will be able to see beyond partisan politics and that they will not choose to filibuster her nomination,” he said.  “Patricia Millett deserves to be confirmed.”  

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Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
On the Nomination of Patricia Millett
October 30, 2013

Today, we are debating whether the Senate will be allowed to vote on the confirmation of Patricia Millett.  She is nominated to fill the vacancy that our current Chief Justice, John Roberts previously occupied on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  

If confirmed, Ms. Millett will be the sixth woman to serve on the D.C. Circuit in its more than 120-year history.  She is an extraordinary nominee with impeccable credentials for this important appellate court.  I hope that her confirmation will not suffer from the partisanship and gridlock that consumed Congress earlier this month.  

Patricia Millett has had a brilliant legal career.  She has argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court – holding the record, until recently, for the most Supreme Court arguments by a female attorney.  She has argued dozens of cases in the Federal courts of appeal, and briefed numerous cases in the Supreme Court and appellate courts across the nation.  

She served for 15 years in the U.S. Department of Justice in both Democratic and Republican administrations.  She worked for four years on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division, arguing cases in Federal and state appellate courts, including the successful constitutional defense of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the inclusion of “In God We Trust” on Federal currency.  

She spent over a decade in the Solicitor General’s Office.  Her stellar reputation led a bipartisan group of seven former solicitors general to praise her as “unfailingly fair-minded.”  In 2004, John Ashcroft awarded Ms. Millett the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for representing the interests of the United States before the Supreme Court.  
Since 2007, Ms. Millett has led the Supreme Court Practice in the Washington, D.C. office of Akin Gump.  Her work in private practice spans commercial litigation, administrative law, constitutional matters, statutory construction, and criminal appeals.  She has represented Army reservists, business interests, including the Chamber of Commerce, as well as civil rights plaintiffs.    

Ms. Millett is a nominee with unquestionable integrity and character.  She has committed herself to pro bono work throughout her career, and has engaged in significant community service.  

Patricia Millett has served our nation in another important way.  Her husband is a retired Navy reservist, and as a military spouse, Ms. Millett has a personal understanding of the sacrifice that we ask of our service members and
their families.  

At the height of her legal career, her husband was called on to deploy as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  With two young children at home, Ms. Millett did what many military spouses do every day across this country by filling the role of both parents at home while her husband served in the Navy overseas.  Just the other day, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution to honor families like Ms. Millett’s and commemorate October 26th as the “Day of the Deployed.”

Not only is Ms. Millett committed to her own military family, she has helped to secure employment protections for members of our National Guard and Reserve through her pro bono legal work.  In a case decided by the Supreme Court in 2011, Ms. Millett represented an Army Reservist who was fired, in part, because some of his co-workers did not like his military absences.  

The successful arguments that Ms. Millett helped craft have made it easier for all members of our Reserve and National Guard to protect their rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Through her legal work, Ms. Millett has earned broad bipartisan support.  This includes the support of Peter Keisler, Carter Phillips, Kenneth Starr, Theodore Olson and Paul Clement and a bipartisan group of 110 appellate practitioners, as well as 37 Deputy Solicitors General and Assistants to the Solicitor General from both Republican and Democratic administrations.
She is supported by both the National President of the National Fraternal Order of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of the New York Police Department.  Ms. Millet has the support of the military community including Major General Clark H. McNair, Jr., U.S. Army, Retired; Michael Hall, Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army, Retired; Blue Star Families; and the Gallant Few.  

I ask unanimous consent to include a list of those letters of support for Ms. Millet in the Record at the conclusion of my full remarks.   

Ms. Millet is the kind of nominee we should all support because hers is the great American story of dedication, diligence, and patriotism.  I hope that my colleagues will be able to see beyond partisan politics and that they will not choose to filibuster her nomination.  Patricia Millett deserves to be confirmed.


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