Lawrence VanDyke testifies on Capitol Hill, Oct. 30, 2019. (Sen. Josh Hawley/YouTube)
Conservatives are proud to support the nomination of Lawrence VanDyke to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and once again reject the baseless smears of the American Bar Association.
That VanDyke is an eminently qualified jurist is not in doubt. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and served as editor of the Harvard Law Review. Subsequently, he clerked for Judge Janice Rogers Brown on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit before launching his appellate career, including serving as both the solicitor general of Montana and Nevada. VanDyke has argued over 20 appeals in the federal circuit courts, and has been the counsel of record on 28 briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.
This has not stopped the ABA, however, from rating him as “not qualified” for reasons of “professional incompetence” and “judicial temperament.” Accusations that, as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pointed out in VanDyke’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, were not annotated and largely based on anonymous sources.
This is especially troubling considering that the ABA speculated VanDyke might not be fair to members of the LGBTQ community, a claim that VanDyke renounced, citing his belief that all people are worthy of dignity and respect.
This so-called “objective” rating was determined by an evaluation conducted by a Montana trial attorney named Marcia Davenport who, in 2014, donated to VanDyke’s political opponent in a campaign for the Montana Supreme Court.
In fact, a former Nevada State Bar President quit the ABA over its treatment of VanDyke, citing their troubling reliance on anonymous information to assess judicial nominees.
These overt smears of Lawrence VanDyke and the continued mistreatment of conservative-leaning judicial nominees by the ABA is reprehensible. The ABA should no longer have a privileged place at the table in assessing judicial nominations.
Lawrence VanDyke is a brilliant and accomplished jurist and deserves swift confirmation.