A former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was confirmed Wednesday by the U.S. Senate to serve as a federal district judge in Florida. Kathryn Kimball “Kat” Mizelle, a lawyer at the Jones Day firm, will serve as a judge in the Middle District of Florida, a 35-county zone that includes Flagler County. She will serve in the Tampa division.
The Senate confirmed her in a 49-41 party-line vote that included Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, but not fellow-Republican Rick Scott: he did not vote.
President Donald Trump nominated Mizelle, a 33-year-old native of Lakeland, to the lifetime appointment, making her the youngest federal judge yet to be confirmed on Trump’s watch, and in a confirmation process that has continued at a slightly accelerated pace even though Trump lost the election and a transition is ostensibly under way. Mizelle is the 223rd federal judge confirmed by the Senate in the last four years.
The American Bar Association in September rated Mizelle “not qualified” to be a federal judge.
“The nominee was admitted to practice law in Florida on September 27, 2012,” Randall Noel, chairman of the ABA’s standing committee on the federal judiciary, wrote the Senate committee. “This represents a rather marked departure from the 12 year minimum. A nominee’s limited experience may be offset by the breadth and depth of the nominee’s experience over the course of her or his career. Nominees with fewer than 12 years but with substantial trial or courtroom experience and/or compensating accomplishments in the field of law, can be and have been found qualified by our Committee. Since her admission to the bar Ms. Mizelle has not tried a case, civil or criminal, as lead or co-counsel. Of her four distinguished federal clerkships,” the ABA letter continued, “one clerkship was in the trial court. That year, plus her 10 months at a reputable law firm and approximately three years in government practice translates into 5 years of experience in the trial courts.”
Mizelle in answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee said that she’s tried two cases to verdict, but explained: “In one case, I served as co-lead counsel. In that capacity, I helped select the jury, presented opening statements to the jury, and conducted the direct examinations of half of the State’s witnesses. My co-counsel presented closing arguments and did the direct examinations for the other half of the State’s witnesses. In the other case, I served as associate counsel to the lead counsel. In that capacity, I helped select the jury, helped prepare the State’s central witness for his direct examination, and assisted with the presentation of the State’s exhibits.”
She had not graduated from law school when she tried those two cases, nor was she a licensed attorney, but served as a “certified legal intern” at the State Attorney’s Office, Mizelle said.
The evaluation concluded: “Her integrity and demeanor are not in question. These attributes however simply do not compensate for the short time she has actually practiced law and her lack of meaningful trial experience.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein last week urged the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to put a halt to lame-duck confirmations. “Going back to 1984, the Committee has only twice held a nominations hearing in the lame duck period of a presidential election year — once in 2004, following President George W. Bush’s reelection, and once in 2012, following the reelection of President Obama,” Feinstein wrote Chairman Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican. “Unlike Presidents Bush and Obama,” Feinstein wrote, “President Trump has lost his reelection bid.” On Wednesday, Graham held hearings for five more nominees.
Rubio issued a statement Wednesday praising the confirmation. “By all accounts, Mizelle is an impressive nominee having served in various legal roles both in the public and private sector,” Rubio said. “Notably, she has served as a law clerk at every level of the federal judiciary, most recently as clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.”
Mizelle received her law degree from the University of Florida in 2012. According to its website, the Middle District of Florida stretches over 350 miles from the Georgia border on the northeast to south of Naples on Florida’s southwest coast. Made up of 14 district judges, 16 senior judges, and 17 magistrate judges, the district has five divisions in Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Ocala, Orlando, and Tampa. The clerk’s office is headquartered in the Orlando Division. The district includes 35 of Florida’s 67 counties. In 2017, the United States Census Bureau estimated that 57.7 percent of the state’s population resides in the district. In 2019, 11,034 cases were filed in the district.
Who really cares what the American Bar Association thinks! Are they the “Supreme Court” of this country? They are entitled to their opinions but that’s all they are, “their opinions” just like the millions of other people living in this country. Who says that they are God of the judicial system?
Bill C says
next time you need your car fixed take it to a landscaper. It’s only an opinion as to whether they’re qualified.
You are correct. I’m sure it’s more politics as usual. But if you or I were given the same opportunity, heck, we’d take it!
The majority of our elected officials aren’t qualified to to their jobs, but keep getting re-elected.
How about the Federalist Society, no Court appointments are done without the consent of this Ultra Right Wing Nazi criminal organiation. Contempt for any civil rights, always favors banks and corporations and the millionaires, Billionaires who fund them and provide campaign funding to only crooked Senators like McConnell!
Interesting that the American Bar Association , rated Amy Coney Barrett as Qualified. https://www.wral.com/american-bar-association-rates-amy-coney-barrett-as-well-qualified/19332292/
Actually, the ABA rated Justice Barrett as “well qualified,” a step above “qualified.”
James M. Mejuto says
re: Bar deems her ‘not qualified.’
Kathryn Mizelle, a lawyer with Jones Day, one of the largest law firms in this country presently representing trump
in court regarding ‘election fraud’ has been confirmed by Florida’s Senate 49-41 along Republican party lines.
The ABA rejected Mizelle, adding she doesn’t have 12yrs. experience as a lawyer, anywhere! The ABA would like to
set those guidelines when choosing a judge.
But what the hell ! Lame duck trump needs something to satisfy his ego and what better way than to throw the state
of Florida under the bus.
Part of the blame rests squarely in the lap of our pathetic and powerless democrat party.
Let me add, people, Mizelle’s appointment is a lifetime appointment and she’s only 33yrs. old.
[Warning: the commenter is making a false claim. It was not a mixed rating. The ABA found that “the nominee presently does not meet the requisite minimum standard of experience necessary to perform the responsibilities required by the high office of a federal trial judge.”–FL]
Actually, the ABA did not “reject” Judge Mizelle. They don’t “approve” or “reject” anyone. They just rate them. Judge Mizelle actually received a mixed rating: “qualified” based on her legal accomplishments but “not-qualified” based on her years as an attorney.
Rubio has now added another reason to the list of why I won’t vote for him when he comes up for election. What is it about these Trumpers who just go brainless and blindly obey Trump’s wishes, even though he will no longer be president in Jan 2021. I wonder if Rubio would want to put a personal court case of his in her hands?
Only Me says
Why should this surprise anyone, Donald Trump always hires unqualified people for positions. He only does things for his own personal gain and it’s usually money or what he thinks helps him politically.
As far as voting for another Republican, after their behavior during this election they will not get one vote from me. They are corrupt, unprofessional, selfish, and do not care about our country, our democracy or the American people.
Trump has destroyed the Republican party and they have and still are allowing him to do it.
Justin Case says
“corrupt, unprofessional, selfish…” I hope you realize that also describes the Democrat party as well. They spent 4 full years doing any and all things they could think of to remove the President from the Whitehouse. As soon as the election was called in his favor the party began demanding investigations, and impeachment proceedings. If you truly want change, vote for term limits. Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer, Schiff, all the lifers need to go. You want Trump to accept defeat and move on, but you spent 4 years trying for a do over because you didn’t like the results.
No Soup For You says
Party and partisanship before country. The tone has been set the last 4 years. What comes around goes around – that’s how it works. Noses have been bitten off to spite the face.
So prep yourself with the pendulum swing and one likely to last decades. The numbers don’t lie, as right wing fascism has NEVER sustained. The people have spoken. In this case, its got t-minus 60 days and then good riddens to this nonsense.
As the orange lame Muscovy Duck waddles off the WH lawn and an American bald Eagle scoops him up for dinner the legacy left in Court System of over 200 Appointed seems like alot. But what the Lame Duck didnt consider is that just because one nominates or appoints doesnt necessarily mean the Judge will always see it your way. See the SCOTUS verdicts. I am sure there are behind the scenes reasons for her being selected wink wink but the ABA doesnt need to say anything. IMO.With no Trial experience as an Attorney not even 12 years experience as a Clerk and in my State definitely not Qualified in my opinion. Pretty sure she will go along for the ride in one way shape or form. Personally wouldnt want her overseeing my case. This is what vindictive immature petty lame ducks do.
The Voice Of Reason says
Sounds like a female My Cousin Vinnie when he hit Alabama to help the boys. Flunked the bar multiple times and had zero courtroom experience. Trump cult politicians and supporters are only concerned about re-election. Laws be damned. Politicians prostituting themselves to trump makes me want to throw up. Lindsey Graham, Rubio, desantis are lower than reptiles.
@Follow the money:
The Third Federalist Society
Within the Federalist Society, is an operation funded by dark money and designed to remake our judiciary on behalf of a distinct group of very wealthy anonymous funders.
“Mr. President, this week, the Senate conveyor belt of President Trump’s judicial nominees grinds on. So far, the president and the Senate leader have preserved an unprecedented pace in confirming federal judges, especially powerful federal appellate judges. They seem to have no higher priority.
What’s a little weird about this is that nearly 90% of Trump’s appellate judges, and both his Supreme Court justices, are members of the so-called Federalist Society. On the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, Thomas?—?all are members. Now that’s a little weird. What’s really weird is that through this Federalist Society vehicle, big special interests are picking federal judges.
In effect, there are three Federalist Societies.
The first one most lawyers know from law school. It is, for the most part, a debating society, made up of like-minded aspiring lawyers drawn to conservative ideas and judicial doctrine. They organize seminars and invite academics, and judges, and attorneys to speak. That’s terrific?—?no problem there.
The second Federalist Society is the parent organization of the campus debating society?—?a sort of highbrow think tank seeking to further conservative and libertarian judicial principles. It convenes fancy forums with conservative legal luminaries, from Supreme Court Justices to big-name politicians to renowned legal scholars. It issues newsletters and produces podcasts and policy recommendations. Through this, they hope to “reorder priorities within the legal system,” and create a network of members that “extends to all levels of the legal community.” I disagree with the system of law they are trying to impose, and their funding is suspiciously obscure, but this debate is a fine thing to have, so no objection there either.
Then there is the third Federalist Society. This one doesn’t have much in common with the law school debating society, and it certainly doesn’t operate like your run-of-the-mill Washington think tank. This Federalist Society is the nerve center for a complicated apparatus that does not care much about conservative principles like judicial restraint, or originalism, or textualism. This Federalist Society is the vehicle for powerful interests, which seek not to simply “reorder” the judiciary, but to acquire control of the judiciary to benefit their interests. This third Federalist Society understands the fundamental power of the federal judiciary to rig the system in favor of its donor interests?—?and as the Kavanaugh confirmation so clearly illustrated, it is willing to go to drastic lengths to secure that power…”
The pricks holding trump’s leash are the same pricks they’ve always been. The rest of us are livestock crowded onto feed lots they spend as little as they can on. Think that’s an exaggeration? Look at they way they farm other animals, e.g., chickens or pigs, and then look at their handling of COVID 19.
And so it goes.
Abnormal Psychology 401 says
Trump will and has done anything in his power to ruin our country and democracy. This shit show he’s putting on now is very much in line with the behavior of true Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Anybody got one of those in your family? Then you know. Others are getting an education of what one looks like. His narcissistic injury is annihilation for him. He will harm anyone and anything he can. He is a non- person without his ability to manipulate, gaslight and hurt others so he’s doing as much damage on the way out as possible. People who admire this type of deviant, destructive behavior that flys in the face of all morality, all religions, all humanity need to get themselves to a psychiatrist. The only way to play with a narc is not to play so if ur in a relationship with one, Leave, detach go no contact.
All others make sure to vote in the next elections so we can remove from office DeSantis, Rubio and Scott.
BYEDON! Tootles, Ciao. Au revoir, Arrivederci! 👋👋👋
MAGA peoples MAGA! says
FAKE IT till you MAKE IT!! Of course, a MAGA hat goes a long way to expediting that process nowadays. I’m sure Rump is not done yet, LAME DUCK!!!
Have some cheese folks.
Concerned Citizen says
And to think I just got passed over for a promotion at work for not having the appropriate degree.Even though I had 10 plus years of experience. And a ton of technical certifications. But if I wasn’t “qualified” I wasn’t “qualified” and have to move on.
Just goes to show it’s more about who you know. Than what you know.
Some of our commenters bring up valid conerns about our local elected officials. How many are actually qualified to do the job. And represent us fairly? Yet they blindly keep getting re-elected