William J. Kayatta Jr.

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William Joseph Kayatta Jr.
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Assumed office
February 14, 2013
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Kermit Lipez
Personal details
Born William Joseph Kayatta Jr.
(1953-10-27) October 27, 1953 (age 64)
Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Education Amherst College (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)

William Joseph Kayatta Jr. (born October 27, 1953) is a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Early life and education[edit]

Kayatta was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1953. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1976 from Amherst College and then earned a Juris Doctor in 1979 from Harvard Law School.[1] After law school, he served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Frank M. Coffin of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1979 to 1980.[2]

Professional career[edit]

In 1980, Kayatta joined the Portland, Maine, law firm Pierce Atwood LLP as an associate.[1] He became partner in 1986 and has focused his practice on complex trial and appellate litigation.[1] He also has argued two cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.[1] In 2010, he served as the lead investigator for the American Bar Association committee that reviewed the qualifications of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.[3] In April 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States appointed him to serve as special master in an interstate water-rights dispute, Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado.[4] Approximately four years later, after he had become a Judge, the United States Supreme Court adopted his Special Master's Report in full.

He has served as president of the Maine Bar Foundation.[5] In 2010, the Maine Bar Foundation presented him with the Howard H. Dana Award for his career-long pro bono efforts on behalf of low-income Maine citizens.[6] He has also received special recognition awards from the Disability Rights Center of Maine, the Maine Equal Justice Partners, and the Maine Children's Alliance for his pro bono representation of disabled Maine children.[7] Kayatta is also a former Chair of the Professional Ethics Commission for Maine lawyers.

Federal judicial service[edit]

On January 23, 2012, President Obama nominated Kayatta to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.[1] He received a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 14, 2012,[8] and his nomination was reported to the floor on April 19, 2012, by voice vote, with Senator Sessions and Senator Lee recorded as voting no.[9]

Kayatta's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was uncontroversial.[10] His nomination needed only confirmation by the full Senate, but the process was stalled by GOP filibusters for a series of tactical reasons, such as to block the consideration of another of President Obama's judicial appointments, Robert E. Bacharach.[11] With the adjournment of the Senate session on January 2, 2013, the nomination expired.

On January 3, 2013, he was renominated to the same judgeship.[12] On February 7, 2013, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported his nomination to the floor by voice vote, with Senator Jeff Sessions recorded as a no vote.[13] The Senate confirmed his nomination on February 13, 2013, by a vote of 88 ayes to 12 nays.[14] He received his commission on February 14, 2013.[15] Kayatta assumed the seat vacated by Judge Kermit Lipez, who took senior status at the end of 2011.[16]

Personal[edit]

Kayatta lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. His wife is Anne Swift-Kayatta.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e White House: "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the US Court of Appeals," January 23, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012
  2. ^ Bangor Daily News: Judy Harrison, "Judge, lawmaker Frank Coffin dies," December 8, 2009, accessed June 5, 2012
  3. ^ Portland Press Herald: Trevor Maxwell, "Portland lawyer leads panel reviewing Kagan," July 3, 2010, accessed June 5, 2012
  4. ^ Maine News Simply: Supreme Court Appoints Attorney William J. Kayatta Jr. as Special Master," April 5, 2011, accessed June 5, 2012
  5. ^ Maine News Direct: Pierce Atwood's Kayatta Elected President," April 15, 2004, accessed June 5, 2012
  6. ^ Portland Press Herald: Trevor Maxwell, "Lawyers told volunteering to help poor more critical," February 26, 2010, accessed June 5, 2012
  7. ^ Maine Forecaster: Amy Anderson, "Obama picks southern Maine lawyer for federal appeals court," January 24, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012
  8. ^ Portland Press Herald: "U.S. circuit-court nominee's hearing goes 'very smoothly'," March 15, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012
  9. ^ Portland Press Herald: Ann S. Kim, "Senate panel endorses Kayatta for judgeship," April 20, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012
  10. ^ Riskind, Jonathan (15 March 2012). "U.S. circuit-court nominee's hearing goes 'very smoothly'". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Lisa, Mascaro (30 July 2012). "Senate GOP blocks popular judicial nominee, halts confirmations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "President Obama Re-nominates Thirty-Three to Federal Judgeships, January 3, 2013". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kayatta judicial nomination bound for Senate floor vote". The Forecaster (Maine). February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 1st Session". 
  15. ^ "Kayatta, William Joseph, Jr. - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov. 
  16. ^ Portland Press Herald: "Maine on the Hill: Signs favorable for Cape Elizabeth nominee to appeals court," March 11, 2012, accessed June 5, 2012

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Kermit Lipez
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
2013–present
Incumbent