Promoted Bankruptcy Judges:

A reporter doing a story on the new bankruptcy judgeships asked me if I happened to know how many current Article III judges were previously Bankruptcy Judges. I can think of only two: Conrad Cyr of the 1st Circuit and the previously-mentionted Alice Batchelder of the 6th Circuit. Does anyone know of any others? Thanks in advance.


Someone on the Comment Board gave me a perfect Google search to find the info I needed. Thanks!

While looking around, I also came across this delightful story by Judge George about his encounter with Frank Sinatra at the Sands when he was a kid:

[George] was at one time a lifeguard at the Sands Hotel. The job payed for his studies at Brigham Young University. At the Sands, he met Sinatra many times. One day after delivering some pool furniture to Mr. Sinatra's private suite, he received a call from the front desk that Sinatra wanted four chairs and a screwdriver. He thought about it and figured Sinatra wanted to build something or had a handyman fetish.

George arrived with the chairs and told Mr. Sinatra that he couldn't find a screwdriver but would go and get one. Mr. Sinatra asked "What the hell, kid, are you going to have a party here?" George tried to explain what he was doing and what he was told and Sinatra laughed and yelled, "I ordered four beers and a screwdriver. Nobody can get anything straight around here."

LArry (mail) (www):
Do a google search with these terms: bankruptcy judge "Professional Career" -died -death -retire
8.1.2005 4:33pm
Pennsylvania's First Lady, Judge Midge Rendell is one. Also, Judge Melloy of the 8th Circuit.
8.1.2005 5:00pm
I'm sure there are several, but here are two more names: Dave Coar on the DC at Chicago; Lloyd George, senior at Vegas, has a courthouse named after him.
8.1.2005 5:10pm
Ben Barros (mail):
Laura Taylor Swain on the SDNY.
8.1.2005 5:22pm
Afterthought re BK judges: an interesting side question is how many BK judges have turned down (or chosen not to apply for) Article III. Be hard to get a reliable count here, but it's not as inplausible as appears at first blush: the BK judgeship is, in many respects a more interesting job. No criminal, no immigration, no (well, virtually no) shepherding of juries: just juicy intricate issues of a sort that lawyers enjoy. Salary is a tad smaller but not enough to be a deal breaker; benefits package is pretty sweet and in some respects is or has been better than Article III. I do remember Lloyd George sayinng that (aside from the challenge of learning criminal) his day to day life as a DJ was less interesting than it had been as a BJ.
8.1.2005 5:23pm
Oh, and Robert Clive Jones and Vegas. and Joan Lefkow, the Chicago judge whose husband and mother were murdered.
8.1.2005 5:47pm
SG (mail):
Also, Aleta Trauger of MDTN was a bankruptcy judge.
8.1.2005 5:48pm
Add Guy Cole (6th Cir.), Gene Brooks (Ind.), Dudley Bowen (S.D. Ga.), Marsha Krieger (D. Col.), Bernice Donald (W.D. Tn.), John Copenhaver (D. W. Va.), Julie Robinson (D. Kan.), Edward Lodge (D. Idaho), Bruce Jenkins (D. Utah).

And there must be something about Nevada: Linda Riegle from Vegas was nominated in the Clinton years (via Harry Ried) but languished and continues on the BK bench.

Wonder if Todd's Google search brought up all these.
8.1.2005 6:01pm
Three more: Charles Clevert, Milwaukee; John Moore Porfilio 10th Circuit, Mike Meloy, 8th Circuit.
8.1.2005 6:26pm
Pardon for being a gabbler; I can see now that Todd's search protocol did in fact turn up about all that I turned up, and more. But there is an interesting side story here. The Google command yields 25 unique hits. Add the words "African American" and you get seven unique hits. This seems to suggest that about one quarter of the "fly up" Article III judges are African Americans. I can think of any number of (possibly overlapping) interpretations:

1. The vulgar obvious: it's affirmative action run amuk.

2. The more subtle appreciative: it's another case of the excluded making their way via a low-prestige route, like an immigrant Polish glovemaker discovering the movie business before it was in fashion.

3. The training ground metaphor: African Americans as unknowns get to prove themselves on the BK bench where they wouldn't need to if they were better conneccted in the first place.

I assume there are more...
8.1.2005 8:33pm
Larry (mail) (www):
You obviously have no idea how BK judges are selected
8.1.2005 9:54pm
The bankruptcy judges I've practiced before are so haughty, regal and imperial that I'd hate to see what they'd be like with lifetime tenure.
8.1.2005 11:44pm
Larry (mail) (www):
First of all, BK judges are selected by the judges of the Circuit Court of Appeal. It is hard to generalize who a "typical" bankruptcy judge is, but most of them have at least some experience representing individuals, corporations, or the government in bankruptcy matters. (This is somewhat different than for US District Court Judges who, likely, will have little or no experience in at least one large part of the docket even if they came from a state court).

Affirmative action plays no real part in the selection of judges apart from the odd time that someone notices that no judges of a certain set have a certain racial characteristic and someone who is liked by everyone is appointed anyway. Even then, the number of willing lawyers is so high that it is always possible to find a white or non-white person who will fit just about any criteria. (And, since they don't have to go through Senate confirmation, in some circumstances, it is even higher!)

Whether they are haughty or not is probably a function of the court you practice in. Some people are haughty. Some are not. Maybe you annoy people.
8.2.2005 9:36am