Jim Haynes’ listening skills

Last night, I discussed the incoherent criticism directed at Fourth Circuit nominee Jim Haynes by two retired military legal officers. It since has been pointed out to me that one of the officers, Retired Admiral Hutson, served as the Navy Judge Advocate General during the Clinton Administration, retiring in 2000. Thus, he never worked directly with Haynes, and presumably lacks first hand knowledge as to whether Haynes listens to others. The other Retired Admiral, Donald Guter, was the Navy JAG from 2000 to 2002. He retired in 2002, and so had a relatively brief overlap with Haynes.

By contrast, Major General (ret.) Michael Marchand served with Haynes until July 2005. He was an Army JAG for 31 years. During the last 12 of them, he served in positions that provided him with “sigificant exposure” to the various General Counsels of the Department of Defense. Marchand states, in a letter to Senators Specter and Leahy that

In my experience Mr. Haynes has been more inclusive of the Judge Advocates General and the senior service lawyers of the armed services than any General Counsel of the Department of Defense. He has consistently and repeatedly reached out to the senior lawyers of the Department of Defense on some of the most difficult legal issues to confront our armed services, our Department, and our Country. He has done so throughout his tenure in formal and informal ways. He has been respectful of our views, even on those occasions when he may not have agreed with one of more of us. The Department and its legal community — and the Country — have been well served.

UPDATE: William Suter, Major General, USA (Ret.), and clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, served in the JAG Corps from 1962-1991. He worked closely with Jim Haynes in 1990-1991 when Haynes was General Counsel of the Army. Suter has written to various Senators in support of Haynes. He states:

Mr. Haynes is a superb lawyer in every respect. He performed his duties as the Army General Counsel with great distinction. He was very knowledgeable concerning military matters and fully supported the Army’s mission. I found him easy to work with and considered him a valuable provessional colleague. He was always available to discuss pending legal issues and we kept each other informed about important matters. He respected Judge Advocates and their opinions. He is also a man of great character and integrity.

Mr. Haynes deserves a vote on his nomination. I am confident that he will be an outstanding appellate judge.

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