Friday, August 8, 2003
Ninth Circuit Nominee Narrowly Wins ABA Panel Approval
By a MetNews Staff Writer
President Bush’s nominee for a future Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacancy, Department of the Interior Solicitor William Gerry Myers III, has narrowly won the approval of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Federal Judiciary, the committee reported yesterday.
The committee indicated on its website that Myers, 46, had received the middle rating of “qualified” from a majority—but less than two-thirds—of the committee’s 15 members, with the remaining members voting him “not qualified” and no one voting for the upper rating of “well qualified.”
Myers was nominated in May for the seat of Judge Thomas G. Nelson, who is taking senior status in November. His nomination has drawn opposition from environmentalists, who earlier this week called upon the Office of Government Ethics to investigate whether Myers acted improperly be meeting with cattle interests who may have been his former clients.
A spokesman for Myers told the Associated Press that some of the meetings were on his calendar but were not actually attended by him, and that those meetings that he did attend were proper.
Myers has been the top lawyer at Interior since the summer of 2001. Before that, he was an attorney at a Boise, Idaho firm, where he specialized in natural resources law.
He was one of four Idahoans recommended for the Ninth Circuit by the state’s senior senator, Republican Larry Craig, in February.
He began his legal career in Wyoming but has spent a good portion of his professional career in the nation’s capital, having been legislative counsel to then-Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming, for several years. He also worked in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, having been assistant to the attorney general from 1989 to 1992 and deputy general counsel for programs at the Department of Energy from 1992 to 1993.
After Bush left the White House, Myers worked as a lawyer and lobbyist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and executive director of the Public Lands Council, a non-profit group that represents the NCBA as well as the American Sheep Industry Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Association of National Grasslands, before joining the firm of Holland & Hart as of counsel in 1997.
The Idaho Statesman, the state’s leading daily in terms of circulation, has described Myers editorially as “pro-ranching, pro-grazing and...shaky on the environment.”
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company