What makes for a “bad judge draw” on the D.C. Circuit in a Voter ID Case?

February 20th, 2012

Rick Hasen posts that Kollar, Kottely, Bates, and Kavanaugh makes for a “bad judge draw.”

First, the brain power on this panel is unbelievable.  The quality of the DC judges is very high to begin with but this is a very smart panel.  Second, this draw is probably not great for South Carolina.  Judge Kollar-Kotelly was a tour de force in writing one of the mammoth opinions in the three-judge court case McConnell v. FEC upholding most of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.  The Ninth Circuit ended up following her decision.  She’s going to be skeptical of South Carolina’s arguments about the constitutional problems with section 5 of the VRA.  John Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, recently issued two opinions (Shelby County and the LaRoque (Kinston) case) rejecting constitutional challenges to section  of the Voting rights Act.  Judge Kavanaugh, while very conservative, has proven himself no activist when it comes to the election case; he rejected a recent argument to blow a hole in the McCain-Feingold law’s soft money provisions on grounds that it was for the Supreme Court, not the lower courts, to overturn earlier precedent.

Do other panels have less-unbelievable, or less smart, brain power? Something about this post seems somewhat off.