PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE NOMINATION OF JUDGE JUSTIN WALKER TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

WHEREAS, it is the mission of the Philadelphia Bar Association to serve the profession and the public by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the rule of law, and in so doing, the Association strives to foster understanding of, involvement in and access to the justice system; and

WHEREAS, Article VII, Section 7.1 of the Association Bylaws (the “Bylaws”) states that the Association shall “Recommend and actively support for judicial office individuals who, by virtue of their integrity, judicial temperament, professional competence and experience, and commitment to the community, have demonstrated their qualifications for judicial office;” and “Oppose the selection for or retention in judicial office of individuals who have not demonstrated such qualifications;” and

WHEREAS, Section 7.2.2 of the Bylaws gives the Association the authority to be concerned with any court for which an individual is being considered and for which the Board deems such consideration appropriate; and

WHEREAS, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is one of the most prestigious and consequential courts in the country, as within its jurisdiction are the United States Congress and most federal agencies, and its judges frequently rule on issues of constitutional and administrative law of importance to all Americans; and

WHEREAS, because of this influence, the qualifications of nominees to the United States Court of Appeals for the District for Columbia Circuit are of concern to the members of the Philadelphia legal community and to the residents of this region; and

WHEREAS, President Donald Trump has nominated the Judge Justin Walker, Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; and

WHEREAS, Judge Walker has served as a Judge of the District Court for less than a year, having received his judicial commission on October 25, 2019; and

WHEREAS, upon Justin Walker’s nomination to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary conducted a thorough, nonpartisan investigation of the nominee and rated him “Not Qualified” for judicial office; and

WHEREAS, in his letter of July 30, 2019 to Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Senator Lindsay Graham and Ranking Member Senator Dianne Feinstein explaining the “Not Qualified” rating, ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary Chair Paul T. Moxley stated, “Mr. Walker’s experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any significant trial experience. Mr. Walker has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal.”1; and

WHEREAS, in his letter of July 30, 2019, Mr. Moxley further stated that after reviewing Mr. Walker’s biographical information and speaking with the nominee, “it was challenging to determine how much of his ten years since graduation from law school has been spent in the practice of law.”2; and

WHEREAS, the acquisition of legal knowledge and experience gained within and outside of the courtroom is essential for a judge to competently handle the duties of judicial office; and

WHEREAS, the Judge Walker has not demonstrated that he meets the qualifications of judicial office, in that he lacks the requisite legal knowledge and experience to qualify for the important position of Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes the nomination of the Judge Justin Walker to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee(s) to communicate the position of this Association to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, members of the Senate, other bar associations, the legal community, the media and the public, and to take such other action in furtherance of this resolution as may be deemed necessary.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Adopted: April 23, 2020


1 See: https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/government_affairs_office/2019-07-30NQ-rating-Justin-R-Walker.pdf?logActivity=true

2 Id.