May 16, 2019

Feinstein: Don’t Confirm D.C. Lawyer to California’s Seat on Ninth Circuit

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the nomination of Daniel Bress to fill a California seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bress is scheduled to receive a hearing on May 22.

            “Seats on Circuit Courts have historically been allocated among the states in the Circuit to ensure all states are represented, then additional seats are allocated based on population. California is the largest state with the largest caseload in the Ninth Circuit. This administration is nominating someone for a California seat who is not only from outside California but also currently lives outside the Circuit.

            “Daniel Bress, President Trump’s nominee to serve on the Ninth Circuit, has only lived in California for one year since he graduated high school. He is not the right nominee for this seat.

            “When I recommend judges, I rely on my bipartisan selection committee made up of respected lawyers from California. They vet and screen nominees, as they’ve done during both Republican and Democratic administrations. Members of my committee raised major concerns with appointing Bress, a Washington, D.C., lawyer, to this seat – and I agree with them.

            “He doesn’t vote in California, he’s not part of the California legal community, his children don’t attend California schools, he’s not involved in California civic organizations. Simply put, he’s not a Californian.

            “California is diverse economically, ecologically and in population. We’re home to more than 40 million people, have the largest agriculture industry in the country, two of the largest ports and we’re the fifth largest economy in the world. That means the Ninth Circuit hears a wide range of challenging, complex cases that require lawyers and judges with a keen understanding of the state.

            “With more than 170,000 lawyers in California, I find it hard to believe the president can’t find a single Californian suitable for this position.

            “I’m concerned that the committee is moving forward with this nomination. Doing so is yet another blow to the way this committee has operated for decades. It also alters how seats are allocated on the Circuit Courts.

            “I’ve never supported a Ninth Circuit nominee for a California seat who isn’t a Californian and that’s not going to change today.”

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