Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More on the Eleventh Circuit Panel

Chief Judge Joel Fredrick Dubina:

President George H.W. Bush appointed Judge Dubina to the Eleventh Circuit in 1990, and he became the Chief Judge of the Eleventh Circuit in 2009. In 2009, he served on a three-judge panel that denied Troy Davis’s second habeas corpus petition. He also served on the panel that denied Elian Gonzales’s asylum appeal. A New York Times article published at the time of the Elian affair contained the following:

Judge Joel F. Dubina, a former district judge from Alabama who was put on the appeals court by President Bush, is perceived as more of a centrist. He has weighed in on two prominent cases involving gay rights. Judge Dubina pleased gay activists by striking down a statute barring public funds from going to a gay college group, but he pleased their critics when he upheld a move by the state’s attorney general to withdraw a job offer to a lesbian. The judge faced criticism in his confirmation process for his reported membership in an all-white country club in Montgomery, Ala.

In 2003, Judge Dubina authored the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion in United States v. Pritchett, 327 F.3d 1183 (CA11 2003), which held—as a matter of first impression in the circuit—that the federal statute prohibiting receiving and possessing a stolen firearm (while knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the firearm was stolen) was a proper exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause, because the government had established that the stolen firearm possessed by the defendant had traveled in interstate commerce at some point in the past, thereby establishing at least a minimal nexus with interstate commerce.

Judge Frank M. Hull:

President Clinton appointed Judge Hull to the Eleventh Circuit in 1997, and she has been involved in some fairly consequential cases involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (including one opinion that was joined by Chief Judge Dubina). You can find information on those decisions here and here. Recently, Judge Hull was in the news for sharply criticizing the Supreme Court’s decision in City of Ontario v. Quon for its “marked lack of clarity.” Judge Hull was also a member of the panel that upheld the district court judgment that refused to order the reinsertion of a feeding tube during the Terri Schiavo affair. In 1998, before the Supreme Court handed down United States v. Morrison, Judge Hull authored an opinion in United States v. Viscome, 144 F.3d 1365 (CA11 1998), which held that the federal statute proscribing the use of a weapon of mass destruction against a person in the United States was a proper exercise of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause because, in enacting the statute, Congress had made explicit findings that the proscribed activity substantially affected interstate commerce.

Judge Stanley Marcus:

Though a Republican, President Clinton appointed Judge Marcus to the Eleventh Circuit in 1997. Prior to his joining the judiciary, Judge Marcus served as a U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, Detroit, and Miami. He authored an opinion on March 16 of this year (United States v. Jordan, 635 F.3d 1181 (CA11 2011)) upholding the federal felon-in-possession statute as within Congress’s commerce power—though this was merely a reaffirmation of a long line of Eleventh Circuit precedent. More importantly, in March 2009 he authored an opinion concluding that the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act was within Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce, concluding that the SORNA was “reasonably adapted to the attainment of a legitimate end under the Commerce Clause.” United States v. Ambert, 561 F.3d 1202, 1212 (CA11 2009). Judge Marcus also authored the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion in Johnson v. Board of Regents, 263 F.3d 1234 (2001), that invalidated the University of Georgia’s freshman admissions policy, which awarded a set “diversity bonus” to non-white applicants, as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. (This view was ultimately vindicated by the Supreme Court in its Gratz v. Bollinger decision two years later.)