Stanford Law School just issued a press release announcing that Judge Michael McConnell of the 10th Circuit will be joining the school’s faculty in the fall. McConnell hails from Utah and was on Bush’s Supremes short list in 2005. From the press release:
McConnell will step down from his role on the bench to rejoin the legal academy and direct the Stanford Constitutional Law Center.
McConnell is widely regarded as one of the nation’s top judges and most distinguished constitutional law scholars. He has written broadly on many aspects of the Constitution but is best known for his work on freedom of religion–a critical area of constitutional law that he effectively redefined before ascending the bench. McConnell was appointed to the Denver-based Tenth Circuit in 2002 by President George W. Bush.
This is great news for Stanford, but surprising news from McConnell, who had already lined up his clerks for 2009-2010. McConnell is a highly-regarded judge who is reputed to be great to work for and has been known to feed clerks to SCOTUS in the past. This must come as a big disappointment for the four clerks who had been slated to work with him. David Tighe, the 10th Circuit’s spokesman, says he’s unsure of the would-have-been clerks’ plans. Well, it’s easy to get a job nowadays, right?
In a press release [PDF] from the 10th Circuit, McConnell says:
“The opportunity to serve on the Tenth Circuit has been a great privilege and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I will especially miss working with my colleagues on the court, whose friendship, collegiality, and commitment to upholding law and justice are a model and an inspiration. But my first love remains in teaching and scholarship. Especially at this time of grave international and domestic challenges and transformation, I want to contribute more openly to debate, scholarly analysis, and public understanding of the governing principles of the American Republic.”
Unsaid is that a Stanford salary trumps that from the 10th Circuit. And that McConnell’s SCOTUS dreams died along with Obama’s winning the election.
After the jump, we’ve got McConnell’s resignation letter to President Obama.
Here is Judge McConnell’s letter to 1600 Pennsylvania:
Press Release and Judge Michael McConnell’s Letter of Resignation [United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit]
Circuit Court Judge and Constitutional Law Scholar Michael W. McConnell Joins Stanford Law School Faculty [Business Wire]
McConnell to Leave Tenth Circuit, Join Stanford Law Faculty [WSJ Law Blog]