Appeals Court Nominations & a Decision With Teeth

Appeals court nominations

Congratulations are in order for the three nominees by President Obama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. In no particular order, they are:

Patricia Ann Millett – D.C. attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld who has, according to Wikipedia, argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than any woman in private practice today.

Cornelia Pillard – A Georgetown University Law Center professor.

Robert Leon Wilkins – Honorable U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Columbia.

Hefty congratulations are also due to the Honorable Sri Srinivasan, who was nominated to the D.C. Court of Appeals and unanimously confirmed by the Senate last month. There are 95 appellate and federal judgeship vacancies to be filled by year’s end. Of these, 29 are pending nominations awaiting Senate confirmation. To keep well-informed on the nation’s federal judge nominations, including Senate Judicial Committee review questionnaires, hearings and full Senate votes, check out judicialnominations.org.

Bright Smile for FTC Appellate Win

A recent decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in an antitrust suit the Commission brought against the North Carolina Dental Board.

The case involved the N.C. Dental Board’s objection to teeth whitening services provided by non-dentists in the state. Usually found in malls and other consumer outlets, the non-dental providers charged significantly lower prices for the same service offered by dental practitioners in the state. When dentists complained to the Board, it ultimately sent out 47 cease-and-desist letters to the unlicensed companies.

This caught the FTC’s attention, and in 2011, the FTC issued a decision finding the Board’s actions illegal vis-a-vis antitrust law. The N. C. Dental Board contested the decision based on principles of the state action doctrine by petition to the Appeals Court for the 4th Circuit.

The FTC countered that the state action exception did not apply to the Board because it was a state agency in name only, consisting mainly of private actors with vested interests in the dental industry.

On May 31, the 4th Circuit agreed, noting that at the time the cease-and-desist letters went out, several Board members were dentists who themselves offered teeth whitening services.

 

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