U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Who Is Richard Sullivan, Nominee to the Second Circuit?

Judge Richard Sullivan is one those fortunate judges to be confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate.

But that was 11 years ago when he became a federal trial judge. Now he faces a new group in his bid for the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

The political balance favors him, but there are new people in the Senate. They don't know who Richard Sullivan is.

Republican Judges

Since the Republicans took control of the Senate in 2014 and President Trump was elected in 2016, they have pushed through nominees at a break-neck speed. Trump has appointed more judges to the federal bench faster than his recent predecessors.

In less than two years, Trump has appointed more judges to the federal appeals court than Barack Obama and George W. Bush combined. The Trump count for federal judges is now 53.

Bush appointed Sullivan, who has been serving the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Prior to his appointment, he worked as a federal prosecutor and white-collar litigator.

The Vetting Room says Sullivan has a "generally conservative" record, particularly on criminal issues. "One observer has noted that the assignment of a criminal case to Sullivan strikes 'fear into defense attorneys and their Wall Street clients,'" according to the website.

"Generally Conservative"

In United States v. Torres, Sullivan found that police had reasonable suspicion for stopping and searching a defendant who was running away from them in a high-crime area. He rejected arguments that the man was justified in running because the police were wearing plain clothes.

Given his background, it's no surprise that the President nominated Sullivan. Had the past ten years been different politically, Sullivan would probably already be on the appeals court.

At least, that's what legal observers say -- the ones who know him.

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