Tomorrow, the Senate is scheduled to vote to close debate on the nomination of Jesse Furman as a federal district court judge in New York. This is a worthy nomination. Furman, who is not yet 40 years old, has spent his professional life in public service as a judicial clerk, prosecutor, and Justice Department official. What makes his service all the more exceptional is that he has performed in worthy fashion for judges conservative (Michael Mukasey), liberal (Jose Cabranes), and liberal-posing-as-conservative (David Souter). Over the past decade, he has worked two stints as a federal prosecutor in New York with a special focus on terrorism and narcotics trafficking. And though he was nominated for his position by Barack Obama, he worked for nearly two years for Michael Mukasey as a senior official in the Justice Department under George W. Bush. I’ve known Furman for four years, and in that time we have had substantive conversations about the law in which I have found him terrifically knowledgeable, entirely respectful of views that differ from his, and utterly without an axe to grind. There was some concern expressed during a confirmation hearing about an article he wrote for the Harvard Crimson when he was all of 18 years old in which he smart-assed the National Rifle Association. I would genuinely hope and expect that serious members of the United States Senate would not withhold their support from about as good a nominee as a Republican could hope for from Barack Obama based on an immature intellectual pecadillo. (I shudder to think of what I wrote at 18.) I don’t think voting for Jesse Furman should give any Republican in the Senate a moment’s pause.
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