Monday, May 23, 2011

Panel and date set in Seven-Sky v. Holder

Yet another big development today: the D.C. Circuit has announced the identity of the panel to hear Seven-Sky v. Holder and set the date for oral argument, September 23.

The judges to hear the case are:

1. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh (G.W. Bush appointee).

2. Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards (Carter appointee).

3. Senior Circuit Judge Laurence H. Silberman (Reagan appointee).

This is a richly diverse panel of judicial heavyweights. Kavanaugh was one of the more controversial Bush 43 appointees, blocked for several months by Senate Democrats, involved in the Clinton impeachment as Associate Counsel to Kenneth Starr during his investigation. Judge Edwards has long been an intellectual leader of relatively liberal judges within the federal judiciary. And Judge Silberman is one of the more important circuit judges of his generation, a Reagan appointee with a fiercely independent streak. He recently served as a co-chair of the Iraq Intelligence Commission, which investigated the intelligence failures surrounding the invasion of Iraq and the (lack of) weapons of mass destruction. He was rumored to be a candidate for Attorney General following the resignation of Alberto Gonzales.

It is a star-studded cast, and it should make for a terrific oral argument. And this may be a real blessing for the administration, in this sense: if the government can win the vote of Kavanaugh or Silberman, it might carry a great deal of weight at the Supreme Court.

You can find the D.C. Circuit's order here.