Five Names, Including Neal Katyal, Reportedly to Be Forwarded for Judge Davis’ Seat on 4th Circuit

By Michael Wein

For now, I’ll have to attribute this to ‘reliable hearsay,’ as opposed to any personal knowledge, but Maryland’s Senators apparently are recommending to President Obama five potential nominees to replace Fourth Circuit Judge Andre Davis, who is taking senior status in February.

The five names reportedly include Neal Katyal, who is presently with Hogan Lovells in D.C., and who was acting Solicitor General following President Obama’s appointment of Justice Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. Although Mr. Katyal does not appear to be admitted to the Maryland bar, he has been a long time member of the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA). Other nominees similarly appear to have significant appellate practice experience. If accurate, this would appear to follow recent attempts to avoid Senate controversy by nominating experienced appellate practitioners to federal appellate courts. Sri Srinivasan was confirmed via unanimous vote to the D.C. Circuit in 2013, and another experienced Supreme Court practitioner and former SCOTUSBLOG contributor Patricia Millett (following invocation of the “nuclear option”) drew a few Republican votes when confirmed to the D.C. Circuit ten days ago.

[For a May 2011 sketch of then-Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal arguing before a Fourth Circuit panel (including Maryland-based Judges Motz and Davis) in defense of the Affordable Care Act, follow this link.]

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