Senate Insider Griffith Confirmed to DC Circuit

Nominee practiced law without a license

A troubling record on discrimination and serious ethical lapses involving practicing law with a suspended license in the District of Columbia and practicing law in Utah without a Utah license– were not enough to keep Thomas Griffith from a lifetime appointment to the powerful Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, as the former Senate legal counsel was confirmed on an 73-24 vote in the Senate today.

“Apparently, the right political connections trumped other considerations today,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “Among the standards for powerful lifetime positions on the federal bench should certainly be a willingness to abide by the letter and spirit of the law. It’s a sad day when someone who falls short of those standards is confirmed.”

Practicing law without a license is a serious ethical lapse which normally would result in an investigation and corrective action. Griffith, however, is receiving a lifetime appointment to a powerful federal appellate court.

His 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.

“Thomas Griffith’s record simply did not merit confirmation to the court of appeals,” said Neas. “I would hope that the President will set a higher standard when he sends new nominees to the Senate. The nation deserves no less.”

For more detailed information about Griffith’s record, please see the March 7, 2005 and Nov. 11, 2004 letters from PFAW to the Senate Judiciary Committee by clicking here and here.

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