January 28, 2007
I finished Supreme Conflict, by Jan Crawford Greenburg (mentioned here). I was most disturbed by this passage about George W. Bush's first nomination to the Supreme Court:
[Kelley] closely examined opinions for clues on whether a prospective nominee was, as Bush has requested, like Thomas or Scalia. With some, it took one bad opinion to knock them out. Denver-based federal appeals court judge Michael McConnell was a favorite of some conservatives, but he'd written a decision earlier in the spring that would have subjected police officers to sweeping liability for actions while on the job. That was enough for Kelley.
By the way, Judge McConnell is based in Salt Lake City. The case is Lawrence v. Reed, 406 F.3d 1224, available here. The police chief who was being sued "concede[d] that he violated [the plaintiff's] clearly established constitutional rights." The panel declined to grant him immunity from a Fourth Amendment suit anyway. Judge Hartz dissented.
UPDATE: It is true that the Tenth Circuit itself hears oral arguments in Denver, and the above passage is ambiguous about whether "Denver-based" modifies "federal appeals court" or "federal appeals court judge." In this case the judge and the court have arguably different bases.
Also, I should note in the interest of un-full disclosure that my view of this matter well be biased. Comments (2)
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