A whisper campaign to get U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan nominated to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is now loud and clear.
The Miami judge had been rumored to be the top candidate for a position that opened when Judge Susan Black took senior status in February. Backers say he would be an ideal pick for President Obama: a rare Cuban-American Democrat.
The Cuban American Bar Association got behind Jordan on Monday with a letter to President Obama signed by 30 past presidents in their first joint effort. The letter also went to Florida’s U.S. senators and Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Judge Jordan has stellar academic credentials and professional experience, including having clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor,” the letter states. “Those who have had the pleasure of being before him in court are effusive in their praise of his keen legal mind and demeanor.”
Attorney Roland Sanchez-Medina, CABA’s president in 2009, said the group wanted to act fast after word leaked earlier this month that Jordan was under consideration.
But it wasn’t easy getting all the signatures.
“There are 36, 37 past presidents, and you are talking lawyers, so getting them to agree the sky is blue can be painful,” Sanchez-Medina said. “There was absolute unanimity in the impeccable qualifications of Judge Jordan.”
Sanchez-Media, a partner at Sanchez-Medina Gonzalez Quesada Lage Crespo Gomez & Machado in Coral Gables, said Miami attorney Manuel Morales, another past president, did a lot of the legwork.
He drove to a number of homes and met Coral Gables attorney Hector Lombana at a Cuban eatery in South Miami.
Four past presidents didn’t sign the letter: The late Judge Manny Crespo, Katherine Fernandez Rundle because of her position as Miami-Dade state attorney, Miami-Dade Judge Antonio Marin because he is a sitting judge and Raymond Abadin, a partner at Abadin Cook in Miami and a member of the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, Sanchez-Medina said.
CABA tells Obama that Jordan’s appointment to the Atlanta-based court would make strides for diversity on the bench, noting Hispanics already constitute the nation’s largest minority group.
“The Hispanic population is particularly strong in the region served by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals,” the letter states. “Nonetheless, our appellate court has only one Hispanic judge.”
That would be Judge Rosemary Barkett.
CABA’s former leaders said Obama can address the lack of diversity by nominating Jordan and get the best candidate for the position as well.
All the support for Jordan seems to be working. Sanchez-Medina said he understand the judge is being vetted by the FBI, one of the last steps before nominations.