Senator McConnell Once Again Nominates Cincinnati Lawyer to Represent Kentucky Interests – Can’t he find qualified Kentucky lawyers for advancement?


Kentucky has 16,000 licensed lawyers.   Our state is full of highly competent lawyers who practice law here, were educated here, and have spent their adult lives as participants in legal activities here.  However once again our Senior Senator has nominated a Cincinnati lawyer to represent the interests of Kentuckians.

The last Federal Judge appointed in Kentucky was also raised elsewhere, practiced law for a Cincinnati law firm, and merely lived in Northern Kentucky where he commuted from to his job in Cincinnati before he was appointed U.S. Attorney for Kentucky and then was appointed to the Federal Bench.  Amul Thapar was appointed U.S. District Judge in 2006 by President Bush after being nominated by Sen. McConnell.  Thapur was the U.S. Attorney to whom then Attorney General Greg Stumbo sent 100,000 documents relating to the investigation of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.  Other U.S. attorney’s had sought indictments and obtained convictions for other (Democrat) politicians who were charged for activities similar to those for which Fletcher was investigated. Thapur never acted on the allegations against Fletcher and was subsequently rewarded with appointment to the federal bench.

Before being appointed as a U.S. Attorney in Kentucky  Thapar was  assistant  U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., from 1999 to 2000, and assistant for the Southern District of Ohio in 2002.

President Barack Obama in following precedent of honoring the wishes of the states’s senators  announced this week his intention to nominate lawyer John Nalbandian of Boone County to the board of the State Justice Institute.  Nalbandian, a Republican, was recommended to the nonpartisan board by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

The institute was established by federal law in 1984 to award grants to improve the quality of justice in state courts and foster better coordination between state and federal courts. “I’m excited about it,” Nalbandian said. “I’m looking forward to it. It sounds like an interesting board.” There are a lot of interesting issues arising in state courts, he said, adding that it will be a way to see what state initiatives are working and could be expanded across the country.

The appointment, which requires Senate confirmation, will add Nalbandian as one of four public members of the 11-person board of the institute. Six members are sitting state court judges; one is a state court administrator. Nalbandian is a partner in the litigation department of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP in downtown Cincinnati.

He has represented clients in legal areas including antitrust, product liability, intellectual property, employment, white collar crime and class actions.

Nalbandian is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, Nalbandian clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the 5th U.S. Court of Appeals. He moved from the Washington area in 2000.

We assume that Nalbandian is highly qualified for the job. We also assume that Judge Thapur is well qualified.  However, we wonder why Senator McConnell can’t seem to find qualified Kentucky Republicans attorneys (or Democrats) for appointment to offices affecting Kentuckians.   We just don’t see why the list of lawyers with weak connections to Kentucky are favored over lawyers who have practiced law here. When McConnell became a U.S. Senator he abandoned the policy established by former Senator Wendall Ford to make bipartisan appointments to the federal bench.

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