Paul Baier, appellate lawyer and law professor at Louisiana State University, penned a glowing endorsement of his former courtroom adversary and friend Kyle Duncan recently in The Hill. Mr. Duncan was nominated by President Trump to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals back on September 28, 2017 and his nomination is pending a full Senate confirmation vote.
Kyle Duncan is a magnificent nominee for the Fifth Circuit who ought to be swiftly confirmed. I have known him as a colleague and scholar of constitutional law at Louisiana State University Law School, and clashed with him as an adversary in the Louisiana Supreme Court's same-sex marriage case that followed Obergefell v. Hodges.
Mr. Duncan represented the state and its ban, while Mr. Baier represented the couple at the center of this rematch. Mr. Baier remarked:
Having battled on the front lines in the same-sex marriage litigation, I can attest to the passionate disagreement and often contentious nature of the issue…Through it all, however, I always appreciated and respected Kyle's advocacy for his client and his respect for the humanity of the same-sex couples who would be most affected by the case. While I disagreed with many of his arguments, often emphatically, I never found a trace of bias, bigotry, or any disrespect towards the same-sex individuals in the case.
Both of us strove mightily as adversaries. But we continue to eat and drink as friends.
Kyle knows well the difference between the advocate's role for his client (in the same-sex marriage case, the State of Louisiana) and what he would be called upon to decide as a judge on the Fifth Circuit. I maintain this view of Kyle even after having faced off against him in the highly charged atmosphere of same-sex marriage litigation. His ability to act as a judge and not advocate will surely carry over to other questions of public importance facing the Fifth Circuit.
Mr. Baier concluded clearly explaining his support and respect for Kyle Duncan:
Kyle Duncan is as sharp a lawyer as any of the leading Supreme Court advocates with whom I am familiar, and I have had the good fortune of observing the work of the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court for over 40 years…In my judgment, Kyle Duncan, unquestionably, will make a surpassing Fifth Circuit judge and jurist. His confirmation should be supported by all who value judges committed to fairness and scrupulous application of the law. It's time for Kyle Duncan to be confirmed.
With Congress in recess for the next two weeks, the earliest the Senate will likely take up additional confirmation hearings and votes will be the week of April 9th.
We will keep you posted on these judicial confirmations, hearings, votes, and Democrats' attempts to obstruct President Trump's excellent nominees.