Mark Filip Nominated for Deputy Attorney General Slot:
Judge Mark Filip, an outstanding District Court Judge in the Northern District of Illinois, has been nominated by the President to serve as the Deputy Attorney General (the #2 spot at DOJ, in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Department). I have mixed views on this one. Based on what I know of Filip, he would be an excellent Deputy AG. But I think I'd rather have him on the bench for the next 35 years than Deputy AG for only 18 months. If he is confirmed, which he should be, he'll be another top-shelf District Court Judge who served for a short period and resigned (following the recent resignation of Paul Cassell, who served for 5 years).
I would speculate that the calculus might be that after 18 months, assuming that a Republican is elected in 2008, he would have a reasonable chance of being appointed AG or to a court of appeals. Even if a Democrat is elected, there is always waiting for four years. Unlike Paul Cassell, I see no indication that this departure from government is permanent. More similar, I think, is Michael Chertoff (whose departure from the bench may well have been temporary, but for Katrina).
11.16.2007 3:32am
Big assumption, tvk.

More generally, what does this do to the "Bush refuses to fill executive branch vacancies" meme? (Which was always, in my view, a pure artifact of the AG's resignation.)
11.16.2007 8:44am
Ben P (mail):

More generally, what does this do to the "Bush refuses to fill executive branch vacancies" meme? (Which was always, in my view, a pure artifact of the AG's resignation.)

To the extent is is a meme, and I think it is, it's more or less an irrelevant one.

Bush does have a lot of vacant spots, and not just in the justice department. But I don't think it's that he's "refusing" to fill the posts, it's more that he just hasn't bothered.

When you consider that
1. most of the positions are filled by "acting" people anyway, and there's not really any substantive reason an acting person that has the support of his subordinates is less effective than a permanent person who only has the job for 18 months anyway.

2. Nominating Cabinent and second level officials has become a difficult process. depending on your political orientation it's either because Bush won't nominate generally "acceptable" individuals or because the senate is being intransigent about accepting "qualified" people.

I think it's more or less normal that he wouldn't go through the hassle and political cost of a nomination process just for 18 months. I'm not necessarily sure I agree with the results, but I see the reasoning.
11.16.2007 9:57am
Orin -

I'm curious, do you think Filip is an outstanding District Court Judge because of his credentials alone, or have you practices before him?
11.16.2007 10:03am

I haven't practiced before him. Two sources, mostly: 1) hearing on occasion from people who practice in Chicago, and 2)reviews such as bar association reports.
11.16.2007 10:29am

I have practiced before him in a number of criminal defense cases. He is outstanding and is one of the best judges we have in the Northern District. I agree with Orin, I would prefer her remain here on the bench.

In making my statement that he is outstanding, I didn't even consider his credentials and didn't know about many of them. What I know is what I see in court. He is bright, thoughtful and well-prepared on the cases. He is respectful of the parties and attorneys and conducts himself, and by extension the courtroom atmosphere, in complete professionalism.

He makes a very good record for his decisions (often written) which is a good thing in general but since they are so well thought out and clearly articulated it makes my job on appeal almost impossible.

It is our loss in the Northern District. Next they'll tap Judge St. Eve for something and we'll be doomed.
11.16.2007 11:34am
Filip is great in criminal cases and is very fair in civil cases but takes too long to issue decisions in civil cases.
11.16.2007 12:58pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
At least Filip is not whining about being underpaid.
11.16.2007 6:56pm