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President Donald Trump nominated Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, foreground, in May for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (File photo: Bill Klotz)
President Donald Trump nominated Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, foreground, in May for the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (File photo: Bill Klotz)

Franken’s stance on Stras gets pushback from lawyers

After Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., withdrew his support from the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Minnesota legal community and the Judicial Crisis Network responded quickly.

The Judicial Crisis Network, located in Washington, D.C., describes itself as dedicated to strengthening liberty and justice in America. It says, “Our commitment is to the Constitution and the Founders’ vision of a nation of limited government; dedicated to the rule of law; with a fair and impartial judiciary. Every American deserves equal justice under law.”

Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network’s Chief Counsel and Policy Expert issued a statement saying, “By choosing to obstruct Justice David Stras’ nomination, Senator Franken is proving that he cares less about the rule of law and competent judges than he cares about scoring political points.  Justice Stras follows the law, he has broad support from across the political spectrum in Minnesota, he was re-elected by wide margins (wider margins than Senator Franken), and he even earned the highest rating from the liberal American Bar Association. Senator Grassley has all the evidence he needs that Democrats have abused the blue slip process, and that it is time to move forward despite the obstruction.”

Minnesota lawyers also responded. Ted Sampsell-Jones, professor of law at Mitchell Hamline, issued a statement saying, “I’m a law professor and a criminal defense attorney, and I’m a Democrat.  I have practiced in front of Justice Stras, and I’ve read most of the opinions he’s written as a judge. The claim that he is ‘too conservative’ to be appointed to the Eighth Circuit is simply false. To the contrary, as anyone familiar with his judicial record can attest, he is smart, fair, and independent.”

Robin Wolpert, former co-chair of Justice Stras’ campaign and immediate past president of the Minnesota State Bar Association, also weighed in. Her statement said, “Justice Stras is a brilliant, fair, and impartial jurist who inspires public trust and confidence in our judicial system. As a public servant, he enjoys widespread support and has earned accolades from Republicans and Democrats alike. Justice Stras should have a hearing to consider his nomination to the 8th Circuit. I expect that once the full Senate has a chance to talk with him, they will be as impressed, as we are in Minnesota, by his commitment to justice and the rule of law. I urge the Senate to support the appointment of Justice Stras to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

And from the University of Minnesota Law School, Professor Bill McGeveran, issued this statement: “Direct personal experience has shown me David Stras is open-minded, fair, hard-working, and exceptionally intelligent. I have worked consistently for progressive causes for 25 years, but I support him because I admire how independent he has been on the Minnesota Supreme Court and I recognize the personal virtues he would bring to the bench.” (McGeveran worked in national politics for seven years, primarily as a policy aide to Democrats in the United States House of Representatives.)


One comment

  1. I think Justice Stras deserves a hearing before passing judgment. He is professional, respected, and respects the law and stare decisis. It is unclear how much input the legal community had on Senator Franken’s position or if it was sought. The consequences of him not being appointed could be significant to Minnesota in many ways.

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