Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Monday moved for a cloture vote on the nomination of John “Jack” McConnell to be a judge on the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island. McConnell has no judicial experience, but he did make millions the state tobacco lawsuits, transforming hundreds of thousands of dollars into political contributions.
McConnell was drove state’s egregious public nuisance suit over lead paint against paint manufacturers, in which then-Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse farmed out the litigation to McConnell’s firm, Motley Rice, on a contingency basis. The Rhode Island Supreme Court unanimously rejected the suit in 2009.
A vote on cloture could happen as soon as Wednesday, but opposition from Senate Republicans and business is determined.
- Point of Law, “Senate moves closer to vote on controversial R.I. judge pick“
- Committee for Justice, statement by Executive Director Curt Levey, “Reid Files Cloture on Nominee, Signaling War“
- Legal Newsline, “Vote might be coming on controversial judicial nominee“
- Main Justice, “Reid To Try To Force Vote on Controversial District Court Judge“
- BLT, Blog of the Legal Times, “Democrats Push for Vote on Trial Lawyer Judicial Nominee“
- Power Line, “The Case of Jack McConnell“
- Wall Street Journal editorial, April 16, “Painting the Bench Green: A tort kingpin doesn’t deserve a federal judgeship.”
UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) releases a blistering “Dear Colleague” letter opposing cloture on McConnell’s nomination. Excerpt (via the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform):