Jennifer Elrod

Jennifer Elrod 2 Judge Jennifer W Elrod Fifth Circuit Texas Above the Law blog.jpgAs we mentioned yesterday, Judge Jennifer W. Elrod, a state trial court judge in Texas, has been nominated to the Fifth Circuit. The Texas Lawyer has an interesting article about Judge Elrod:

Houston lawyers who have tried cases before [Judge Elrod] say she has earned a reputation as a fair and smart state district judge.

“I think the most disappointing factor about her getting nominated is losing her off the bench in Harris County,” says Stephen Boutros, a Houston plaintiffs attorney.

“She often won’t rule in my favor, but it doesn’t matter,” says Boutros of Stephen Boutros LTD. “I would rate her the top judge I’ve ever been in front of. She understands the law. She can get a grasp of the issues in a matter of moments as if it were her own case.”

Boutros believes Elrod has the potential to follow in the footsteps of [Judge Patrick] Higgonbotham — a seasoned and respected judge who was a moderating force on the 5th Circuit — a court known as one of the most conservative federal appellate courts in the nation.

“She’s going to be an absolute centrist,” Boutros says. “She is intellectually honest and she’s not an ideologue.”

Judge Elrod sounds like a great pick. Our only disappointment: that President Bush didn’t nominate this Jennifer Elrod instead.
(But then again, in terms of qualifications for the Fifth Circuit, a JD from Harvard Law is probably more relevant than a 36D from Boobs ‘R Us.)
P.S. To those of you who think that we overuse the term “diva,” please note that we have NOT applied the term to Jennifer Elrod. Based on what we’ve heard, she’s extremely nice and down-to-earth, with a great sense of humor.
190th District Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod Nominated to 5th Circuit [Texas Lawyer]
Earlier: Some Judicial Nomination News

Time for a few updates on a subject near and dear to our heart, which we’ve been neglecting as of late: federal judicial nominations. Here’s the latest news:
Jennifer Elrod Judge Jennifer W Elrod Above the Law blog.jpg1. Texas state court judge Jennifer Elrod (at right), whom we previously identified as a possible nominee to the Fifth Circuit (and compared to Jennifer Aniston), has been officially nominated to that court. We’ve heard good things about Judge Elrod and wish her the best of luck in the confirmation process.
2. Connecticut state court judge Vanessa Bryant, discussed previously here, has been confirmed to the District of Connecticut.
3. Earlier this month, the White House sent a raft of judicial nominations over to the Senate. Nothing terribly exciting.
The two most controversial nominees in the bunch: state court judge Janet Neff (D. Mich.), and trial lawyer Richard Honaker (D. Wyo.). They may generate opposition on opposite sides of the aisle. Neff got a lot of grief from the conservative Sen. Sam Brownback for having attended a lesbian commitment ceremony. Honaker may be targeted by liberals for his record of strong opposition to abortion.
Here’s a random bit of trivia about Honaker: he was a Harvard classmate of Al Franken. If Honaker runs into opposition from liberals (despite being a trial lawyer and card-carrying member of ATLA), will Franken testify in his defense before the Senate Judiciary Committee?
(The article also mentions Billy Crystal, but we don’t believe Billy Crystal went to Harvard.)
Update: HA! The Billy Crystal mystery is revealed. Check out this comment.
Nomination Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Nominations Confirmed [Senate.gov via How Appealing]
Nominations Sent to the Senate [WhiteHouse.gov]
Harris County civil judge nominated to federal bench [Houston Chronicle]
Bush renominates five Michiganians to federal judgeships [Detroit News]
Thomas announces judgeship nomination for Rock Springs lawyer [Casper Star-Tribune via How Appealing]

fifth circuit 5th circuit 5th cir Above the Law Law Gossip.GIFThanks to everyone who responded to our request for gossip about possible Fifth Circuit judicial nominations. Your tips were very helpful to us, as was this piece in the Texas Lawyer.
(And thanks to Peter Harrell, a current law student and former political reporter for Congressional Quarterly, for this insightful comment. A good point. With respect to some judicial nominees, the Democrats will probably try “killing them softly,” with procedural mechanisms. But the Dems should be careful. If they do TOO much of this, they will look obstructionist. And Pelosi and pals are saying that they’re in D.C. to get things done.)
Anyway, re: the 5th Circuit, this is what we’re hearing:
1. There are two Texas seats on the Fifth Circuit to fill: those of Judge Patrick Higginbotham and Judge Harold DeMoss. (For the vacant Mississippi seat, Michael Wallace is the White House’s pick; but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere right now.)
2. A package deal of two nominees is likely. One would be a so-called “diversity pick,” i.e., a minority or a woman, and one would be a “regular” pick.
(Some Senate Republicans are not thrilled about the idea of a diversity pick. But the Democrats taking over the Senate next year, diversity picks will probably only increase.)
3. For the “diversity” seat, the leading candidates are two Texas state court judges: Justice George C. Hanks, Jr., an African-American appeals court judge; and Judge Jennifer W. Elrod, a well-regarded trial court judge.
(Yes, Judge Elrod is quite attractive — in a perky, “Jennifer Aniston” sort of way. But please do not confuse her with Jennifer Elrod, “Famous Centerfold and Celebrity.” Judge Elrod uses that middle initial for a reason.)
4. For the “regular” seat, the process right now is focused upon two individuals: Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater (N.D. Tex.), a Reagan appointee to the federal trial bench, and Gregory S. Coleman, a partner in the Austin office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
5. A grab bag of other possibilities, but not as likely as the four just mentioned: Judge David Godbey (N.D. Tex.); Judge Jane Boyle (N.D. Tex.); Judge Lee H. Rosenthal (S.D. Tex., and a woman); Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, of the Texas Supreme Court; Justice Jane Bland, of the Texas First Court of Appeals; Texas Solicitor General R. Ted Cruz; and Professor Ernest A. Young, of the University of Texas School of Law (Austin).
These are the basics. If you’re a real judicial junkie, check out our additional observations, after the jump.

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