Monday, April 29, 2013

How Much Is That Judgeship In The Window?

Buried late in the Friday night news cycle, the Las Vegas Review Journal published a startling revelation regarding Senator Harry Reid and President Obama's nomination of Jennie Dorsey for the federal bench.
Roughly six months before her nomination by President Obama and shortly after she spoke with Reid's campaign committee about the possibility of her nomination, Jennie Dorsey donated $2,500 to Reid's campaign. A month later, the campaign returned the money to Dorsey. The next day, Will Kemp, local superstar plaintiff's attorney known for being part of the team to win big bucks in the  Hep C trial and a partner at Kemp Jones & Coulthard, Dorsey's employer, donated $100,000 to Senate Majority PAC. Two weeks later, Randall Jones, also a partner at the firm, donated $50,000 to the same PAC. According to the RJ, the Super PAC was "created by former Reid strategists to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate. Reid, the Senate majority leader, and other leading Democrats traveled extensively last year to raise money for the PAC, which is co-chaired by a former Reid chief of staff."

Naturally, all of this is just circumstantial evidence, but it sure seems like a little quid pro quo going on in exchange for Dorsey's appointment. We all know that being a friend of Harry Reid in Nevada has its perks, but this peek behind the curtain is surprising and disconcerting. We applaud the RJ for writing this story, but certainly hope there will be further investigation about whether this was a one time thing or is more systematic. 

Curiously, Dean Heller, the Republican senator from Nevada, declined to comment to the RJ. After the major stink he raised about Judge Cadish's nomination to the bench, isn't it a little hypocritical to decline to comment on this situation?

What do you all think? Is there something more to this that we should be concerned about or is this just the way the system works? Should this affect Dorsey's nomination?

For what it's worth, despite the appearance of impropriety, we still believe you could do much worse that Jennie Dorsey as a nominee for the federal bench.

Ed. The RJ has posted a follow up piece here.

9 comments:

  1. The thing is, this goes on all the time. Judgeships are bought. The state judges more so (and more blatantly) but it happens on the federal level as well. I mean honestly, is Dorsey the most qualified candidate for a federal judgeship? Clearly not, but if her firm is willing to fork over the cash, she is going to be offered the position. I'm just glad it has come a little bit to light (even if buried in the back of the paper). It does go to show, that even in appointments are subject to the highest bidder.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The difference being that in the appointment system, you at least get someone qualified (Dorsey). In the election system, you can get someone not intellectually up to the job (Walsh, Miley).

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's too bad this issue happened and came out now. I had a large business litigation case with Dorsey and thought she was an excellent writer, knowledgeable, and a class act throughout the process. I hope this doesn't derail her confirmation as I think she will be a real asset to the bench.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice touch 2:07 (a/k/a Dorsey)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think this story is really a non-issue. As long as politicians (and our state court judges) are allowed to accept contributions, have fundraising parties thrown for them, etc. this type of stuff has, and will go on. Big whoop.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is a complete non-issue. I believe Dorsey worked in Reid's office and has connections with the Senator. I am much more concerned with the internal nepotism than how Will and Randall invest Kitec and Hep-C monies.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anyone else see this yet?
    http://www.8newsnow.com/story/21557505/cover-up-alleged-in-clark-clark-family-court

    ReplyDelete
  8. @9:07: Wow ... not surprising, but wow. Are the courts in Vegas different than other parts of the country? That's not rhetorical -- I really want to know. I've never practiced anywhere else.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Never foerget that Harry allegedly asked John Ensign (denied by Tessa Hafen at the time) to recommend his son, Leif, for a federal bench after he had practiced for only 8 years. And there are still more than a few folks upset over the way Josh became the Henderson City Attorney. This is simply Reid politics at its best if the stories are to be believed. Expect him to return some of the money if the media actually ever starts going after the story.

    ReplyDelete