United States Court of Appeals 11th Circuit Judge Joel F. Dubina. Handout photo receieved June 3, 2011. Photo courtesy of: Paul Robertson and The Alabama Lawyer magazine. (Handout)
A committee set up by Alabama’s lone Democratic congressional representative was scheduled on Sunday to interview nine candidates for an Alabama-based vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, according to the committee’s chair.
Retired federal judge U.W. Clemon, who is chairing Rep. Terri Sewell’s screening committee of lawyers and judges, said interviews will include all who applied:
• U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon, named by President Barack Obama to replace Clemon on the Northern District of Alabama bench after Clemon left for private practice in 2009.
• Kareem Crayton, a law professor at the University of North Carolina.
• L. Ben Morris, a litigation partner at Starnes Davis Florie in Birmingham.
• Truman Hobbs Jr., a state circuit court judge in Montgomery.
• Carranza Pryor, an alum of Sutherland’s Atlanta office and the Birmingham firm Maynard Cooper & Gale who now is an in-house lawyer at TIAA-CREF in North Carolina.
• Mark Sabel, a lawyer in Montgomery.
• Robert Vance Jr., the son of slain Eleventh Circuit Judge Robert Vance, a state circuit court judge in Birmingham and the candidate who last year narrowly failed in his attempt to prevent Chief Justice Roy Moore’s return to the Alabama Supreme Court.
• Susan Walker, chief magistrate judge for the Middle District of Alabama.
• Bryan Winter, a founding partner of Lewis Smyth Winter & Ford in Tuscaloosa.
Clemon, who was Alabama’s first black federal judge and is now a shareholder at White Arnold & Dowd in Birmingham, said the interviews were to take place at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham and would not be open to the public.
He said the committee would rate the candidates as not qualified, qualified, well qualified or exceptionally well qualified, and pass those ratings on to Sewell next week.
Like Georgia, Alabama has no Democratic U.S. senators.
A press aide to Sewell, Hillary Beard, has said that the screening process was not put in place at the request of the White House but was meant to better inform Sewell’s recommendations to the president.
The Eleventh Circuit vacancy was created by Judge Joel Dubina’s decision to take senior status in October.