William Pollard III of Kornstein Veisz Wexler & Pollard was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as a judge on the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review on June 21. The court, based in Washington, D.C., reviews convictions before a military commission for errors of law and fact. It was created by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 in the wake of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunals created by President George W. Bush to try prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were unconstitutional unless prisoners were given further protections.
The court consists of both military and civilian justices and uses a hybrid of civil and military procedure. Initially, the civilian justices were appointed by the Secretary of Defense. In 2009, the law was changed to require that they be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, and the previous appointees stepped down. Pollard and Duke Law School professor Scott Silliman, confirmed on the same day, are the first civilian judges confirmed under the new law.
Pollard said he would continue to practice as a partner at Kornstein Veisz, commuting to Washington to hear appeals as necessary. He said it was impossible to say exactly what the time commitment would be, since it would depend on how many convictions came out of military commissions.
Before joining Kornstein Veisz in 1993, Pollard served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District for 11 years, where he rose to deputy chief of the criminal division. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office, Pollard was an attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1970 and a J.D. and M.B.A. from Columbia University in 1974.