The Washington Post reports that President Bush has nominated a pair of African-American candidates to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. This court serves the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas, and, as the nation’s most conservative federal appeals court, serves them well. One of the nominees, Claude Allen, is a strong conservative. The other nominee, Allyson Duncan, was a colleague and friend of mine when I worked at the EEOC in the late 1970s. Many years later, in a brief incarnation as a telecommunications lawyer, I appeared before her when she was a commissioner of the North Carolina public utilities board. She has also been a judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Allyson is bright and fair-minded, and I would expect her to be a good judge. However, I have no knowledge as to her current political views. Unlike Allen, she does not appear to have a record that clearly shows her to be a conservative. Her home state Democratic Senator, none other than John Edwards, supports her nomination, so she surely will be confirmed. It is less clear that Allen will be, although the Post article suggests that his race may put him over the top. Let’s hope that Allen makes it. It would be unfortunate if the Senate continues its pattern of blocking strong conservative nominees while confirming those whose conservatism is less clearly established.
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