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Fourth Circuit Nominees Sail Through Judiciary Committee

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 22, 2018 7:00 AM

Being in the right place at the right time does not usually describe a judicial nominee's position before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But it might apply for two nominees to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. and Jay Richardson "breezed" through their Senate hearings.

If not the right place at the right time, it was good place for a short time. The nominees might make it to the bench before the summer break.

NAACP Injunction Case

The judiciary committee had seen Quattlebaum a few months earlier. The Senate approved him for a district court judgeship in March, and President Trump nominated for the appeals court two months later.

Senators asked him about his work since then, including a case with the NAACP. Quattlebaum had denied the organization's request for a preliminary injunction.

"As you know, Senator, the Supreme Court places a very high standard of proof for a preliminary injunction given that it happens early in the case on a small record," the judge replied.

Quattlebaum explained that the plaintiffs did not meet the standard, but they will have the chance to prove their case to a jury. That was good enough for the committee.

Church Massacre Case

Richardson, the lead prosecutor in a high-profile mass-murder case, also found a friendly audience. He won convictions against Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine members of a Bible study group in Charleston.

Sen. Tim Scott introduced him to the committee, and thanked him for his work in helping the survivors and the community.

"I cannot begin to explain to this committee the loss and the pain that my community endured in the wake of that horrific event," the senator said. "But watching that same community come together to heal with love, forgiveness and grace was one of the most profound moments in our state's history."

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