The United States Law Week

Trump Appeals Pick Rushing Heads to Senate Confirmation Vote (2)

March 4, 2019, 7:38 PMUpdated: March 5, 2019, 12:13 AM

Allison Jones Rushing soon could become one of the nation’s youngest federal judges.

The Senate voted 52 to 43 Monday night to end debate on the Williams & Connolly partner’s nomination to the Richmond-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, clearing the way for a vote as early as Tuesday on her likely confirmation.

President Donald Trump, with the help of the Republican-led Senate, aims to remake the federal judiciary with younger, conservative judges. With lifetime appointments, many will be on the bench for decades.

For the most part, Trump picks for the nation’s appeals courts are in their 40s and 50s. But Rushing would be the youngest of the few selections in their mid-to-late 30s.

The Senate has confirmed 31 of Trump’s circuit nominees so far with Rushing and a pair of Sixth Circuit nominees, Chad Readler and Eric Murphy, in the nearest-term pipeline.

Ninth Circuit Nominee Writings

Democrats have opposed virtually all of them over their conservative positions or their judicial inexperience. Following the Rushing cloture vote, California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris both urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to not move forward with a hearing on Ninth Circuit nominee Kenneth Lee.

They said in a statement that the Jenner & Block partner in Los Angeles failed to disclose dozens of writings dating from his college years at Cornell just days before his scheduled hearing.

“This has been an ongoing problem from the outset of his consideration, and like other writings Lee failed to disclose, these new examples indicate troubling views on race, Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, and Harris said.

Rushing’s ‘Rockstar Resume’

Born in 1982, Rushing graduated law school in 2007 and clerked for conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch. She worked for Gorsuch when he was a judge at the Tenth Circuit.

She dug into her law practice after that and is now a Williams & Connolly partner.

In challenging her nomination, Democrats have stressed her relatively short time since law school and the American Bar Association’s position that nominees have at least 12 years as a practicing attorney before ascending to the federal bench.

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana noted Rushing’s “rockstar resume” at her October confirmation hearing but also questioned her life experience.

Rushing told the judiciary panel in written remarks that she has “extensive experience relevant to the work of a federal appellate judge,” noting her high-powered clerkships. She said she’s filed more than 45 briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court and has “worked on well over” 50 appeals, including arguments in multiple federal and state appeals courts.

“I have litigated a wide variety of cases that reflects the variety of subjects that come before the courts of appeals,” she said in response to questions from committee Democrats.

Her typical clients in federal court matters include public and private companies, law firms, trade associations, accounting firms and private individuals, according to information submitted to the Senate.

Rushing received a “Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which is lower than the highest possible rating of “Well Qualified.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a progressive group, called Rushing an extremist who is “hostile to civil rights,” in a tweet.

Democrats also seized on her experience as a legal intern in 2005 at what is now known as Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that has represented businesses that discriminate against LGBT individuals on religious grounds.

She was also a panelist and speaker in 2017 at events held by the organization, which has racked up multiple wins at the high court in recent years.

Rushing is currently a member of the Federalist Society, a group of conservatives and libertarians that has helped Trump pick judicial nominees.

(Adds section on Senate Democrat statement on Kenneth Lee nomination, between second and third subheads)

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com; Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com

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