Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Capitol Hill last year. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / ALM

As U.S. Senate Democrats gear up for a summer confirmation battle over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has turned to a veteran appellate lawyer to vet the pick and his judicial record.

Marc Hearron, a partner in Morrison & Foerster‘s appellate and Supreme Court practice in Washington, joined Feinstein’s office Monday as chief counsel for nominations, a representative for the law firm confirmed. Feinstein is the ranking Democrat on the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, ground zero for the confirmation fight over President Donald Trump’s choice for the high court.

Marc Hearron

“Congrats to my friend and former [MoFo] appellate partner, Marc Hearron,” Joseph Palmore, co-chairman of the firm’s appellate practice group, said in a tweet. “I think he may be a bit busy this summer.”

A Feinstein spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, including California’s senior senator, had already lined up against Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday night. In a statement, Feinstein called the D.C. Circuit Court judge’s views “far outside the legal mainstream.”

“Unfortunately, Brett Kavanaugh appears to meet all of President Trump’s political promises for how his candidate will rule on specific issues. Kavanaugh’s record on the bench, in key political positions in the Bush White House and as a partisan political operative indicates that if confirmed he would be among the most conservative justices in Supreme Court history,” Feinstein wrote.

Hearron joined Morrison & Foerster in 2007 after completing clerkships with Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater of the Northern District of Texas.

Hearron represented the National Abortion Federation in its lawsuit against two anti-abortion activists for releasing secretly recorded videos of the federation’s annual meetings and of conversations with abortion providers. Hearron also argued Oracle Corp.’s successful appeal to the Federal Circuit of a U.S. Patent and Appeal Board decision invalidating patent claims that were originally part of Oracle’s landmark 2010 lawsuit against Google Inc.

Hearron and Palmore were part of a Morrison & Foerster team that filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court last year on behalf of faith-based groups opposed to the Trump administration’s ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries.

One of Feinstein’s former colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican and now senior of counsel at Covington & Burling, will shepherd Kavanaugh’s nomination on Capitol Hill. Kavanaugh expects to start meeting with senators and other Trump officials today.