Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal
WASHINGTON – The White House is considering five names to replace retiring Judge Paul Kelly Jr. of Santa Fe on the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals – including one surprise contender who is raising eyebrows in New Mexico’s legal community because of his lack of roots and legal experience in the state.
The list submitted by the White House to the state’s congressional delegation for review includes four candidates who fit the typical profile for what has traditionally been a New Mexico “seat” on the federal appeals court. They include Judge James Browning of the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque; Judge Miles Hanisee of the New Mexico Court of Appeals; Joel Carson, a lawyer with Carson Ryan law firm in Roswell and a part-time U.S. magistrate judge; and Ben Allison, a partner in the Santa Fe law firm of Bardacke Allison.
The surprising fifth name is William Levi, a 33-year-old Washington lawyer with the Sidley Austin firm, whose relatively short legal career has included stints clerking for Judge Anthony J. Scirica on the U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. He also served as chief counsel for Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Levi’s family has owned the Ranney cattle ranch in Corona since 1968, according to the ranch’s website, but Levi told the Washington Examiner in 2016 that his hometown was Fair Oaks, Calif.
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