A bipartisan group of two dozen former South Carolina federal prosecutors are offering their “unqualified support” for the nomination of Judge Michelle Childs to an appeals court, a promotion that is on hold as Childs is considering an even higher post. high: the US Supreme Court
“Judge Childs is not only fair to all attorneys, she treats defendants and victims with the utmost respect,” the attorneys wrote in a letter, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, to the majority leader. in the Senate Chuck Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, the panel’s ranking Republican.
“Her professionalism and kindness have been a model for several recent federal judicial appointments in South Carolina, and she is admired throughout the state bar.”
President Joe Biden has nominated Childs, currently a federal court judge in South Carolina, for a seat on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, an appeals court often viewed as a springboard to the US Supreme Court.
She was scheduled to appear before senators earlier this week, but the confirmation hearing was postponed indefinitely after the White House confirmed that Childs was under consideration for an upcoming vacancy on the US Supreme Court due to the Judge Stephen Breyer’s impending retirement.
Childs has been a federal judge in South Carolina for more than a decade. In December 2020, just a month after Biden’s victory, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn recommended her to the DC appeals court. Last week, Clyburn told reporters the move had been intentional, to position Childs for the high court.
The White House has said it intends to name a selection by the end of this month. The potential nominees are defined by Biden’s election-year promise that she would nominate a black woman, and early discussions focused on a handful of names. They include California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former Breyer clerk who is now on the DC appeals court.
But it has focused on Childs because of his defense of Clyburn, the highest-ranking black leader in Congress. Biden’s main ally suggested that the then-candidate promise to nominate a black woman as his campaign battled ahead of the 2020 primary in South Carolina. Biden made the promise at a debate in Charleston and Clyburn endorsed him soon after.
Childs also showed the potential for bipartisan appeal in a highly divided Senate. On Sunday, she received praise from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.C., former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who called her a “very talented and impartial jurist.”
The potential nomination has drawn criticism from the left, primarily for Childs’ defense work on labor cases while in private practice before becoming a judge. Childs’s advocates have refuted that criticism, saying Childs also represented plaintiffs against employers, doing that and the defense work impartially.
Signatories to the letter include Bart Daniel, who served as South Carolina’s top federal prosecutor during the George HW Bush administration, and Peter McCoy, who stepped down last year following an appointment by Donald Trump. It was also signed by Pete Strom, a Bill Clinton appointee, as well as Bill Nettles, the US attorney for South Carolina under Barack Obama.
“What we have observed is unflappable demeanor and a willingness to consider each party’s position fully and fairly before reaching a decision,” the attorneys wrote of Childs’ behavior in the courtroom. “We signed this bipartisan letter because we know these qualities will be used as a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.”
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.