Afternoon Briefs: 'Not qualified' judicial nominee confirmed; white nationalist group awarded attorney fees
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Judicial nominee rated ‘not qualified’ wins confirmation
Judicial nominee Sarah Pitlyk was confirmed Wednesday to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri despite a “not qualified” rating by the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary. The ABA says its rating was based on a lack of trial and litigation experience. Other opponents pointed to Pitlyk’s work for abortion opponents. Pitlyk is a former clerk for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. (The National Law Journal, the Hill, How Appealing)
Federal judge orders Tennessee to pay white supremacist group more than $46K
U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger has ordered the state of Tennessee to pay more than $46,000 in attorney fees to a white nationalist group that sued in 2018 over a security fee charged for using state park facilities to hold its annual conference. Trauger had blocked the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation from charging a fee that takes into account the expected response by protesters, finding the contract clause to be a First Amendment violation. (The Tennessean, Fox 17 Nashville, Trauger opinions here and here)
Sidley among law firms sued for allegedly aiding $1.3B Ponzi scheme
A receiver representing defrauded investors has sued Sidley Austin and several other law firms for allegedly aiding a $1.3 billion Ponzi scheme selling an interest in phony mortgage loans. The company marketing the investments was the Woodbridge Group, whose CEO has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. Sidley says it will fight the claims. (Bloomberg Law, Law360, BusinessWire, the lawsuit)