Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Mississippi reaction to ABA's unqualified rating of Michael Wallace

This article from the Sun Herald in Mississippi lays out the local reaction to the ABA's unanimous rating of Fifth Circuit nominee Mike Wallace as "unqualified."

Wallace's friends are guessing that the reasons for the rating are these: a dispute over the Legal Services Corp., which Wallace chaired in the late 1980s; Wallace served as counsel to then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott during the impeachment of President Clinton; his fierce opposition to the Voting Rights Act.

The article concludes:

"Others who grew up with Wallace see a different person. Walker Jones, the head of litigation at Baker, Donaldson in Jackson, hired Wallace in the 1980s and worked with him for 18 years at the Jackson firm of Phelps, Dunbar, where Wallace continues to practice.

"I just couldn't believe the criticisms," said Jones, who was not contacted by the ABA. "They had an axe to grind. Mike is a very intelligent guy who has respect for precedent. I just don't understand this vague category of judicial temperament."

"I know a lot of the judges on the 5th Circuit, and he's better than 95 percent of them, in my opinion."

Rusty Gill, a Biloxi lawyer, has known Wallace since they played peewee baseball when they were six years old. The two went to Biloxi High, where they both played football. "Everybody knew Mike was going to go far," said Gill. Told of the unanimous ABA finding against him, Gill said, "It's unanimously wrong."

"He'd be a great judge.""

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