Federal appeals court nominee withdraws amid controversy over prior representation, legal brief

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AP Michael Delaney February 2023_800px

Michael Delaney, a nominee to be a circuit judge for the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Boston, is introduced by New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan (far left), a Democrat, during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Feb. 15. Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via the Associated Press.

Federal appeals court nominee Michael Delaney is withdrawing his nomination after controversies surfaced over a stance that he took in a legal brief and his defense of a private school.

Delaney informed President Joe Biden of his decision in a May 18 letter, report the Associated Press, the Washington Post, CNN and Bloomberg Law.

The AP credited Bloomberg Law with breaking the news that Delaney was expected to withdraw. How Appealing links to additional coverage.

Delaney had been nominated to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Boston.

Delaney had signed a legal brief defending a parental notification law while he was the deputy attorney general in New Hampshire. Delaney said in written testimony that he had “extremely limited involvement” in the state’s defense of the law, which required minors to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion. The law has since been repealed.

Delaney said he didn’t write the legal briefs in the case, he didn’t represent the state during oral argument, and he had no role in the appeal.

The second controversy involved Delaney’s defense of a private New Hampshire boarding school facing a civil lawsuit over an alleged sexual assault by a student. The case was resolved with a confidential settlement agreement.

Critics had pointed to a motion filed by Delaney arguing that the sexual assault victim, a minor, should meet certain conditions to be allowed to keep her identity anonymous, according to past coverage by CNN and Bloomberg Law. One of the conditions was that the law firm representing the victim refrain from national broadcast news appearances during the suit.

Delaney had continued support from Biden and New Hampshire’s two senators.

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