Friday, March 14, 2003
Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee Confirmed as Ninth Circuit Judge
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee was confirmed yesterday as the newest judge of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Senators voted 74-19 to approve the presidentís nomination of Bybee to succeed Judge Procter Hug Jr., who took senior status.
Both of Californiaís senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, voted against the nomination.
The other 17 no votes were cast by Democrats Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Richard Durbin† of Illinois, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, Patty Murray of Washington, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and Ron Wyden of Oregon.
Bybee is a 49-year-old Oakland native who heads the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. Critics labeled him an extremist who takes an overly limited view of federal power vis-ŗ-vis the states and an overly narrow view of individual rights, particularly with regard to abortion.
He was also castigated for a law review article in which he criticized the Supreme Courtís decision striking down Coloradoís constitutional amendment barring enactment of gay rights laws.
Bybeeís undergraduate and law degrees are from Brigham Young University. He clerked for a Fourth Circuit judge after law school, then joined Sidley & Austin in 1981 as an associate in the Washington, D.C. office.††
In 1984, he joined the Department of Justice, working first in the Office of Legal Policy and then on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division. He served at the White House from 1989-91 as associate counsel to then-President George Bush, leaving in 1991 to join the law faculty at Louisiana State University.
He became a professor at the new law school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1999, taking a leave of absence two years ago when he was named to his present position.
Another judicial nominee was confirmed yesterday.† J. Daniel Breen, currently a magistrate judge at Jackson, Tenn., was confirmed by a vote of 92-0 as a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
The confirmations of Breen and Bybee follow on the heels of a unanimous vote earlier this week, confirming Gregory Frost, an Ohio trial judge, as a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Ohio. The Judiciary Committee also has a number of other potential appointees under consideration, including Orange Superior Court Judges Cormac J. Carney and James V. Selna, nominees to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California whose confirmation hearings were held Wednesday.
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