Yesterday, President Barack Obama nominated Georgetown Law professor Cornelia Pillard to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia alongside U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins and D.C. lawyer Patricia Millet. According to the her University bio page, Pillard graduated undergrad from Yale and went on from there to Harvard Law School, where the other two appointees also attended.
Pillard currently teaches civil procedure, constitutional law, and upper-level seminars. She also co-directs the Supreme Court Institute, which helps lawyers prepare for Supreme Court arguments. From her position at the University, she has continued to appear before the Supreme Court, where she has argued nine cases. Pillard is also a former attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Obama made the announcement in the Rose Garden Tuesday to challenge Republicans not to delay the appointments as they have in the past.
“These are open seats. And the Constitution demands that I nominate qualified individuals to fill those seats,” Obama said. “What I’m doing today is my job. I need the Senate to do its job.”
It was the first time Obama announced a non-federal appointment at a public event. The Federal Appeals Court for the District of Columbia traditionally handles high-profile federal cases as they make their way to the Supreme Court. As a result, a judgeship on the court is often viewed as a stepping stone to the Supreme Court. Four sitting Supreme court justices, including Georgetown alum Antonin Scalia (COL ’57) got their start on the D.C. Circuit Court.
Perhaps Republicans won’t block Pillard’s appointment: They may soft spot for Georgetown professors (even those appointed by Obama, like Chuck Hagel).
Photo: University website