The Daily Report
Republican Lawyers Urge U.S. Senators to Back Lopez Nomination
R. Robin McDonald, Daily Report
October 19, 2015
Republican lawyers who have served in high positions in Georgia government and the state GOP have asked Georgia’s U.S. senators to support the confirmation of a DeKalb County State Court judge to the federal bench in Atlanta.
The letter to Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, both Republicans, seek their backing for Judge Dax Lopez to fill a final vacancy on the Northern District of Georgia bench.
The co-signers to the letter include Joshua Belinfante of Robbins Ross Alloy Belinfante Littlefield and Robert Highsmith of Holland & Knight, who were both executive counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue, and Anne Lewis of Strickland Brockington Lewis, who is general counsel to the state Republican Party. Belinfante also is one of three lawyers advising Sen. Perdue—Gov. Perdue’s first cousin—on the selection of federal judges.
Other co-signers of the letter include Frank Strickland, Lewis’ senior partner and the state Republican Party’s former GC; GOP state treasurer R. Mansell McCord Jr.; and state Rep. BJay Pak, R-Lilburn, of Atlanta’s Chalmers, Pak & Burch; and state House Judiciary Committee Chairman Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs. Former state Rep. Edward Lindsey, of Goodman, McGuffey, Lindsey & Johnson, also signed the letter.
The signers also include Belinfante’s Robbins law partner, Jason Alloy, a former president of the Atlanta Lawyers Division of the Federalist Society; Kilpatrick Townsend Stockton chairman J. Henry Walker IV; and Bryan Cave partner William Custer, whose clients include the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Bankers Association. Many of the co-signers have served on the state Judicial Qualifications Commission or the Judicial Nominating Commission.
The Sept. 22 letter identified the signers as attorneys and conservatives who have met, appeared before, or practiced law with Lopez. Lopez worked at Holland & Knight before he was appointed to the DeKalb State Court bench by Gov. Perdue in 2010.
“As conservatives, we recognize that the constitutional obligation of a judge is to decide cases based on the text of the law and not policy preferences,” the letter says. “We know that Judge Lopez views the law the same way.”
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet scheduled Lopez’s confirmation hearing.
Lopez had already garnered public support for his confirmation from Marietta attorney Robert Ingram—who is a member of Isakson’s judicial selection committee.
Calling Lopez “an excellent nominee,” Ingram told the Daily Report in July that Lopez had the “enthusiastic support” of both Isakson and his two fellow selection committee members: Ronald Carlson, a law professor at the University of Georgia, and former state bar president Jimmy Franklin.
Ingram said that no one on either Isakson’s or Perdue’s selection committees had opposed Lopez’s nomination to the federal bench. Perdue’s committee includes Belinfante, retired King & Spalding partner Dwight Davis and Houston County lawyer Michael Long.
Last July, President Barack Obama nominated Lopez to fill a long-vacant slot on the federal trial bench in Atlanta. The post had originally been intended for Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs, who was recruited by then-Sen. Saxby Chambliss as part of a compromise with the Obama administration to fill vacant slots on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the Northern District bench. But national controversy generated by Boggs’ conservative stances while a Georgia legislator led the White House to withdraw Boggs’ nomination last year.
Lopez was born in Puerto Rico and moved with his family to Augusta when he was 6. When he was appointed to the DeKalb bench in 2010, Lopez, who described himself as a Republican in a 2010 interview with the Daily Report, became only the second Latino trial court judge in Georgia. When Lopez campaigned in a nonpartisan race to retain his judicial post in 2012, he garnered support from Democrats… WE URGE YOU TO READ THE REST HERE – simple and free registration required