Committee advances nominee who practices law without a license
Attorney Thomas Griffith’s troubling record and serious ethical lapses – including practicing law with a suspended license in the District of Columbia and practicing law in Utah with no license at all – were not sufficient to prevent approval of his nomination on a 14-4 Senate Judiciary Committee vote today. People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas said Griffith’s status as a former Senate insider explains the strength of his support.
“Sometimes in life, it’s who you know that makes the difference,” said Neas. “Thomas Griffith is unfit to serve as a federal appeals court judge. Not only has he practiced law without a license, but he has staked out radical positions against remedies to discrimination. But I believe Griffith’s status as the Senate’s former Legal Counsel has regrettably trumped serious substantive and ethical concerns.”
The administration’s insistence on installing Griffith on the federal bench for life stands in stark contrast to its treatment of a Department of Justice attorney who practiced law for two years with a suspended license. In that case, DOJ reportedly plans to file notices about the attorney’s suspension in every case he worked on during those two years. (Legal Times, March 21, 2005) But instead of an investigation and corrective action, Griffith’s record has earned him an appeals court nomination.
Griffith’s disturbing record includes hostility to long-accepted standards for proving gender discrimination under Title IX. He received a barely passing grade from the American Bar Association, and his confirmation has been opposed by Utah's largest newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune.