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In addition, The Bar Association also endorses the appointment of the following
Paul F. McArdle
Theodore R. Newman, Jr.
Nicholas S. Nunzio
John G. Penn
George H. Revercomb
William E. Stewart, Jr.
Dyer Justice Taylor
James A. Washington, Jr.
I respectfully request the opportunity of appearing before your Committee on
HERBERT J. MILLER, Jr.,
President. The Chairman. Mr. Bruce R. Harrison, president of the Washington Bar Association.
STATEMENT OF BRUCE R. HARRISON, PRESIDENT, WASHINGTON
BAR ASSOCIATION, INC.
Mr. Harrison. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee.
I would, if I may, preface my remarks by saying that the position of the Washington Bar Association to a very great extent is in keeping with that expressed by the Rev. Channing Phillips.
I would like to at this time read into the record a very short letter which I submitted to the committee in regard to the position of the Washington Bar Association on the newly created judgeships in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
The Washington Bar Association's position has been and still is that persons selected for judgeships in the courts of the District of Columbia should reside therein.
More specifically, the rationale of legislation creating the Superior Court for the District of Columbia was to create a purely local court to assume jurisdiction of litigation which is not Federal in character.
A fortiori, the judges selected to serve said court should reside in the jurisdiction over which they hold the power of life and death. It is absolutely ludicrous for a lawyer who resides in the District of Columbia to be selected to serve on the bench of an adjoining jurisdiction.
At this point I would like to digress for a moment and add a situation which I feel best illustrates the last paragraph.
I live in Prince Georges County, Md. I have a practice there as well as in the District of Columbia. A very good friend of mine, who is now a member of the Maryland Workmens Compensation Commission, was denied a judgeship in the People's Court in Prince Georges County, Md., simply because he resided in the District of Columbia.
Also, I as president of my association, by a resolution passed by the bar association, cannot be endorsed for a judgeship in the District of Columbia. I am president of the Washington Bar Association because I owe a commitment to the lawyers in my association to practice
law in the District, and I accepted such a position knowing full well that the members of my peer group could never select me, and I am drawing a line between endorsement by members of one's peer group and selection by the President because if one is selected by members of his peer group, that in and of itself represents something good to the individual selected.
To continue, to this end and notwithstanding the letter of the law, the Washington Bar Association submits that those selectees who now reside outside the District of Columbia owe a duty to remove themselves to the District. We should exact a promise from each nonresident that he or she will forthwith move into the District of Columbia as soon as is practicable.
Our association endorses, and I wish to amend at this point those five selectees, who reside in the District of Columbia, although there were gnawing questions in many minds as to the qualifications of at least two of the above six, and regardless of that, discretion is the better part of valor and I do not choose to name those two.
Conversely, there are among those nonresident selectees a number of well-qualified individuals, and but for their nonresidency would have been endorsed by this association.
As an addendum, Mr. Chairman, I would like to also point out, and I think the Reverend Phillips touched on this point, that there is a feeling among the members of the trial lawyers in the District of Columbia that to secure a judgeship in the District of Columbia that all one need do is to join the Justice Department, and this is where the road lies.
Now, for intellectual honesty, I would also like to point out that we consider the Corporation Counsel's office different from the Justice Department for the reason that the Corporation Counsel, insofar as they are lawyers for municipal corporations and the District of Columbia, and the lawyers in the Corporation Counsel get ample trial practice, there is also a feeling being bruited about by members of the bar that a trial lawyer-and I say it in the fullest sense of the word-has been sadly neglected and forgotten.
There are more lawyers per square inch in the District of Columbiaand I am really echoing one of the committee member's feelingsthan anywhere else in the world, and there is a total difference between someone who works in an isolated atmosphere such as the Justice Department and one who is in the arena, so to speak, each and every day.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much for being with us, Mr. Harrison. We appreciate the time and effort that you and your association have contributed.
We will place your entire prepared statement in the record.
(The prepared statement follows:) Position of Washington Bar AssociaTION IN REGARDS TO NEWLY CREATED
JUDGESHIPS IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA The Washington Bar Association's position has been and still is: that persons selected for judgeships for courts in the District of Columbia should reside therein.
More specifically, the rational of legislation creating the Superior Court for the District of Columbia was to create a purely local court to assume jurisdiction of litigation which is not “federal” in character.
All the more stronger, the judges who are selected to serve said court should I: reside in the jurisdiction over which they hold the power of life and death.
It is absolutely ludicrous for a lawyer who resides in the District of Columbia
To this end, and notwithstanding the letter of the law, the Washington Bar
Columbia owe a moral obligation to remove themselves into said District. lo Our Association calls upon this Honorable Committee to exact a promise from
each non-resident that he or she will forthwith move into the District of Columbia as soon as is practicable.
Our Association endorses those six (6) selectees who reside in the District of Columbia, although there were grawing questions in many minds as to the qualifications of at least two (2) of the above six.
Conversely, there are among those non-resident selectees a number of well-
BRUCE R. HARRISON, President.
Senator Eagleton. Could I have 30 seconds to make my individual position clear?
It is my feeling with respect to the three appellate nominees, Mr. Chairman, that there is more that this committee must know about them as individuals, and certainly more that we must know about them insofar as the American Bar Association's judicial selection process.
I personally will not be in a position to vote between now and, I M doubt, by Wednesday on those three nominees for the appellate court. j I am not in that same position with respect to the 15 nominees for the trial court. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Senator Eagleton.
I would like to say that I appreciate the courtesy of the nominees for our new superior court and our court of appeals. I apologize that
we are not hearing each of you individually with your various supThis porters, as we usually do.
However, we are trying to expedite the matter of the approval or disapproval of the nominations. I can assure you that the considerations will be expedited. We are going to have an executive session at 1:30, and we may continue a hearing this afternoon. However, it will necessary for
you to return. The purpose of the additional hearing will be to try to determine when we are going to have courtrooms and facilities for you to work in.
I 1 was shocked that the Department of Justice didn't even know
whether there would be any facilities available for the next few months for you to work in.
I think it is tremendously important to confirm that we have a place for you to go to work in, to work on the backlog. I think you gentlemen are aware of the time and work that went into the court reorganization plan, the fact that it was based on a very comprehensive program of the District of Columbia court system, and that the success or failure of the court reorganization of the District of Columbia is going to be watched by every court reform advocate in the Nation, not to mention the American Adjudicatur Society. This court reorganization is also very important in the fight against crime. We will report out on the nominations as rapidly as is possible.
We have a number of letters, memorandums, and biographical sketches which I will now submit for the record.
(The material, above referred to, follows:)
THE WASHINGTON BAR ASSOCIATION, INC.,
Washington, D.C., October 2, 1970. Hon. Joseph D. TYDINGS, U.S. Senate, Committee on the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR TYDINGS: In regards to your letter under date of September 23, 1970, asking for the opinion of the Washington Bar Association on each of the 18 appointments to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, please be advised as follows.
The Washington Bar Association adopts the policy of commenting only on those appointments endorsed by our association, to wit: Normalie Holloway Johnson and Theodore R. Newman, Jr., for Superior Court for the District of Columbia and Hubert B. Pair for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
The above appointments are considered by our association to be topnotch people and possess those qualifications which we feel are needed to function as judges in the courts of the District of Columbia.
In spite of the statute, our association strongly feels that judges in the courts of the District of Columbia should reside therein and I hereby request that your committee exact a promise from each appointee that if not a resident he will become a resident of the District of Columbia and if a resident, he will remain so. Very truly yours,
BRUCE R. HARRISON, President.
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 1970. Hon. Joseph D. TYDINGS, Chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR TYDINGS: I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September 23 regarding the eighteen persons whom the President nominated to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on September 22.
Ten of the eighteen nominees were recommended by the Bar Association of the
Normalie Holloway Johnson
Paul F. McArdle
Theodore R. Newman, Jr.
William E. Stewart, Jr.
James A. Washington, Jr.
At the outset of our deliberations which culminated in the submission of our candidates to the Attorney General on August 14, the members of the Committee agreed that, in considering the names of persons suggested to us or uncovered by our own independent investigation, we would take into consideration the following criteria: judicial temperament, common sense, integrity, learning and skill, legal experience, participation in community activities, age, health habits, and a strong desire to fulfill the duties of the office to maximum capacity. So far as we could, we applied these criteria in each instance. The factors speak for themselves except for legal experience and age. With respect to legal experience we thought that a minimum of ten years at the Bar should be required, and preferably fifteen year or more for the Court of Appeals. With respect to age we had in mind that the term of office is fifteen years and that retirement at seventy is compulsory. Hence, we sought candidates who were fifty-five years of age or younger. When we departed from these self-imposed rules. it was because we thought the individual was so well qualified otherwise as to justify the departure.
There remain the seven persons nominated by the President who were not originally proposed by the Bar Association, and a separate letter with respect to them will be sent you next week. Respectfully yours,
John Eris POWELL,
Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
THE FEDERAL BAR ASSOCIATION,
Washington, D.C., October 5, 1970. Hon. Joseph D. TYDINGS, U.S. Senale, Washington, D.C.
DEAR SENATOR TYDINGS: This letter is in further reference to yours of date September 23, 1970, addressed to me as Chairman, National Committee on Judicial Selection, Federal Bar Association, concerning early hearings to consider the confirmation of President Nixon's recent nominations to the District's Court of General Sessions and Court of Appeals. This matter was considered today by the Executive Committee.
The Committee, on behalf of the Association, wishes to confirm to you and to your colleagues the satisfaction which I expressed in my letter of September 28, 1970, with the fact that the list contains a substantial number of names of highly qualified carcer government lawyers. The Federal Bar Association has for many years urged more consideration of this source of talented and experienced lawyers for appointments to the judiciary. All too often candidates of this background appear to have been overlooked in the selection process.
In view of the early hearings, the Committee also wishes me to indicate that it will not be possible to carefully review each of the nominees. However, it noted that three of the four lawyers who did review the nominees on behalf of the American Bar Association are members also of the Federal Bar Association, and indeed one of them twice held the presidency. The Executive Committee and I are confident that they accomplished a thorough and fair review of each nominee, and that your committee may rely upon their investigation of their qualifications. Sincerely,
WHITNEY GilliLLAND, Chairman, National Committee on Judicial Selection.
vom Baur, COBURN, SIMMONS & TURTLE,
Washington, D.C., October 8, 1970. Mr. Johy T. McEvoy, Staff Director, Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, New Senate Office
Building, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. McEvoy: I am writing you as Chairman of the Judicial Selection Committee of the Federal Bar Association, District of Columbia Chapter. This Committee is charged, on behalf of the Federal Bar Association, with the responsibility of making recommendations relating to the President's appointments to the new District of Columbia Courts. Accordingly, this is in reply to the letter dated September 23, 1970, from Senator Tydings to Whitney Gillilland, who is Chairman of a different FBA Committee. Senator Tydings' letter requests an opinion as to each of the eighteen appointments of the President to the District of Columbia Courts. Since then, Mr. Vaughan Williams, Counsel to your Committee, has requested that for the present our Committee should only give you our views as to the ten nominees who are coming up for consideration by your Committee on Friday, 9 October 1970.
Last week I obtained from the Deputy Attorney General the background material dealing with the nominees which was made available to the American Bar Association, and distributed it to our Committee members. Then yesterday moming, 7 October 1970, the Committee had a lengthy meeting, with the following results:
First, as indicated earlier, we respond only with respect to the ten individuals coming up for covsideration on Friday, 9 October.
Second, before the President's appointments were made, our Committee previously made to the Attorney General certain recommendations with respect to the eighteen judicial positions available. We are pleased that the President saw fit to appoint three of the persons so recommended-Miss Sylvia A. Bacon, Mr. James A. Washington, Jr., and Mr. Hubert B. Pair.
Third, the Committee has instructed me to enclose herewith a copy of my letter to potential Committee members of October 6, 1969, for the reason that that letter sets forth the general philosophy and approach of our Committee with respect to these judicial positions. You will notice that one of the things which We consider to be very important in the consideration of these judicial appointments is the degree of the nominee's involvement in and commitment to the affairs and problems of the District of Columbia.