Tag Archives: Judge Thomas B. Griffith

One in Three Supreme Court Clerks Has Clerked on the D.C. Circuit

More than one third of the Supreme Court clerks for October Term 2012 will be former D.C. Circuit clerks Continue reading


Judge Griffith to Lecture on “Congress in the D.C. Circuit”

D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith will deliver the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section’s Leventhal Lecture on “Congress in the D.C. Circuit” at an off-the-record luncheon on Tuesday, November 15, at the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, 717 Madison Place NW. Lunch will be served at 12:00 p.m. in the Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House, and the lecture will follow at 12:45 p.m. in the ceremonial courtroom on the second floor. D.C. Bar members can register for the event here.

Judge Griffith is an engaging speaker, not to be missed.

Judge Griffith: “No member of my court would feel comfortable with the description of the D.C. Circuit as the second most important court in the land. None of us has any idea what that means. But our parents like to say that about us.”

Judge Thomas B. Griffith spoke last Thursday as part of a career lecture series at Brigham Young University, his alma mater. Before and after his career advice, Judge Griffith offered these words about his job on the D.C. Circuit and his path to the law:

About the court:

No member of my court would feel comfortable with the descriptions that the media often uses of the D.C. Circuit. Sometimes in the media it’s referred to as the second most important court in the land. I have no idea what that means. None of us has any idea what that means. But our parents like to say that about us.

About the work of an appellate judge:

[I]f you like reading and if you like writing you’ll love it, because that’s what we spend most of out time doing. . . . If you are an extrovert and enjoy interaction with a lot of different people , you ‘ll be sadly disappointed. I happen to be an extrovert, and so therefore I except invitations to come out and meet people and speak. I enjoy this a great deal. But most of my time is spent by myself reading and writing.

About writing opinions:

I’ve heard Justice Scalia say he typically has five drafts of the opinions that he writes. Judge Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit–the rumor is that he goes through about sixty drafts of opinions. I’m somewhere in between, but I’m a lot closer to Justice Scalia.

About choosing the law:

The job I really wanted growing up–I really wanted to be a minister. I was an Episcopalian. Man, if we [the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] had a paid ministry that’s where I’d be. That’s my first choice. But–dagone it–there really were gold plates, so that sort of limited my options that way. This is clearly a second choice way below that. But for somebody who’s majored in humanities and comparative literature there weren’t too many options.

About quitting law school (He went back):

I’ll tell you why I quit: Because I was really terrified. My classmates just intimidated me to death. I went to BYU and I did really, really well here. I had great grades, I was valedictorian of my college, and I had a lot of self confidence.  I went to the University of Virginia law school, and I felt completely overwhelmed by my classmates, most of whom had gone to Ivy League schools and had done well there. And I just thought, “ah, I just, I can’t . . .” Truth be known, I just–I chickened out.

The BYU student newspaper reports on Judge Griffith’s advice to the current students of his alma mater:

1. Be nice to people. “You never know who the people you deal with now are going to be,” Griffith said.

2. Pay attention to detail. “The good things have all come when I took my time and did the hard work to get the right answer.”

3. Learn to write, think and speak clearly. “Bad news . . . it takes time. Get better at it.”

4. Build the Kingdom. “See if you can find, in your motivation for your work, the Atonement of Christ.”

Judge Griffith graduated from BYU in 1978. He was Assistant to the President and General Counsel of BYU from 2000 until his appointment to the D.C. Circuit.  He is an adjunct faculty member at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School where he teaches a course on Presidential Power.

Video of Judge Griffith’s talk is available here from the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies.

(Hat Tip: Mitch Staley, Federal Judge Thomas B. Griffith imparts wisdom at David M. Kennedy Center (Oct. 7, 2011))

Prior Coverage:

Judge Griffith to Offer “Career Reflections” at BYU

D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas B. Griffith will give a lecture entitled “Career Reflections: Judiciary,” on Thursday, October 6, at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah. The lecture will take place at 4:00 p.m., in room 238 of BYU’s Herald R. Clark Building and will be followed by a question-and-answer session.   Continue reading

Oral Argument Suggests D.C. Circuit Will Affirm Denial of Habeas to Guantanamo Detainee

The panel’s fact-based questioning in Friday’s oral argument in Suleiman v. Obama, No. 10-5292, “hint[ed] at a likely affirmance, grounded on the sufficiency of the evidence underlying [Judge] Walton’s factual findings,” wrote Wells C. Bennett at Lawfare. Suleiman’s counsel, Thomas Sullivan of Jenner & Block, argued that the AUMF does not give the Government detention authority over a Taliban member on the basis of his Taliban membership alone. Questions by Judge Griffith and Judge Garland suggested Suleiman forfeited this argument by failing to raise it in the district court, and the Government agreed with that assessment. Moreover, Judge Tatel‘s questioning pointed out that the district court’s decision to deny habeas was based not just on Taliban membership but on the court’s findings about Suleiman’s presence near the battlefield and in Taliban guesthouses.

Prior Coverage:

Only One Pending Cert Petition from the D.C. Circuit Has Drawn Amicus Briefs

Out of dozens of pending cert petitions with amicus filers, so far only one comes from the D.C. Circuit. The case is Amy, the Victim in the Misty Child Pornography Series v. Michael M. Monzel, et al., No. 11-85 (S. Ct.), United States v. Monzel, Nos. 11-3008, 11-3009, 641 F.3d 528 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (Griffith, J., joined by Ginsburg & Rogers, JJ.).

The amici are

  • Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Amicus Curiae, represented by Rachel Rubenson
  • National Association to Protect Children, Amicus Curiae, represented by Russell E. McGuire
  • National Crime Victim Law Institute, Amicus Curiae, represented by Keith S. Franz

(Hat Tip: certpool.com)

D.C. Circuit Rejects HHS’s Retroactive Application of New Medicare Reimbursement Policy

Northeast Hospital Corp. v. Sebelius, No. 10-5163 (Sept. 13, 2011) (Griffith, J., joined by Garland, J., with concurrence in the judgment by Kavanaugh, J.)

In this case, the D.C. Circuit affirms summary judgment in favor of a hospital that was undercompensated by Medicare. Although the majority concludes the statutory formula for calculating a hospital’s “disproportionate share hospital” (“DSH”) adjustment is ambiguous as to how Medicare Part C enrollees should be counted, all three members of the panel agree HHS’s application of a new statutory interpretation was impermissibly retroactive. The case raises questions about the direction of the Court’s retroactivity doctrine. Continue reading