Before Mr. Holmes'’ hearing, I raised concerns about the many controversial letters and columns he has written on such topics as juror racial bias, affirmative action, discrimination, and school vouchers. In these writings, Mr. Holmes derided opposing points of view and those who held them. I asked Mr. Holmes to address my concerns about how he might rule on civil rights issues and how he would treat litigants as a judge. Regrettably, Mr. Holmes' stock answers to my questions that he would follow Supreme Court precedent have not reassured me that he would be the kind of judge who understands the critical role of the courts as a protection of individual rights and civil rights.The rest of the statement is worth reading too. Holmes is a black conservative, so I'm not surprised that the opposition was so strong. He will have a lot of power on the Tenth Circuit, but I think that the real fear lies elsewhere. Born in 1961, Holmes is young enough to gain many years of experience on the Tenth Circuit and still be nominated to the Supreme Court at a fairly young age. He could be another Clarence Thomas. This is all speculation, of course. Holmes has made speeches and statements similar to Justice Thomas' views, but this does not exactly translate into the two men sharing the same legal philosophy.
Much like his new colleague Judge Gorsuch, I look forward to reading his work. Interestingly, the Tenth Circuit has become full of Republican appointed judges. With Holmes' confirmation, President Bush has appointed six of its twelve circuit judges (not counting the senior circuit judges). His father and President Reagan each have one judge on the court as well. President Clinton has the remaining four. I'm going to be spending more time on the Tenth Circuit's website in the near future. While I prefer to spend my time following my own circuit, I'm intrigued to see what this roster of judges does.