HE ISN’T BACKING DOWN
Josh Kindred sailed through his Senate Committee hearing on Wednesday, evidently unfazed by the less-than-kind marks given by the liberal legal establishment in Alaska.
Although Kindred has worked in the private sector, in state government, and at the federal level, and although he has testified in front of congressional committees and has been involved in some of the most important cases facing Alaska, the grades he got from his fellow attorneys were essentially akin to an “F,” — just like the treatment they dished out to the last Trump nominee for the United States District Court for the District of Alaska.
Kindred is the regional solicitor for the Alaska Region of the U.S. Department of the Interior in Anchorage. Before that, he was environmental counsel to the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, was an Assistant District Attorney and Violent Unit Supervisor for the State of Alaska, and is a graduate of both University of Alaska Anchorage and Willamette University School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Willamette Law Review.
“I first met Josh a decade ago … when I was Alaska’s Attorney General,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, as he introduced Kindred to the committee. “He was working with me as a prosecutor in the Criminal Division. I was impressed then, and continue to be impressed, with his fierce commitment to equal justice under the law, respect for all, and (his) deep understanding of Alaska’s unique legal landscape.”
The thing that evidently irks the lawyer community of West Anchorage is that at 42, he’s too young, and the Alaska Bar Association poll participants marked him down for his age.
That same ageism discrimination made the first nominee, Jonathan Katchen, withdraw his name from consideration last year, in spite of the fact that he had a more “blue blood” education — Boston College BA and MA and University of California Hastings College of Law JD.
Likely, the real reason the two were marked so harshly by the Alaska legal establishment had to do with blocking a Trump nominee, embarrassing the president, and denying him a victory.
But Kindred didn’t withdraw, and although just 15 percent of those Alaska lawyers voted him “extremely” or “well” qualified, he muscled through the insult and went to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he received no pushback.
The Alaska Bar Association polls its members and makes a recommendation on judgeships. This can go both ways, but generally, the Alaska Bar Association is a bastion of liberalism, and a Trump nominee is not going to poll well.
Kindred is the son-in-law of the late Sen. Chris Birch, a Republican. His nomination is to fill the seat vacated by Judge Ralph R. Beistline, who took senior status in December of 2015.
The committee has not yet voted on Kindred’s nomination; if he passes muster, his name will be sent to the full Senate for confirmation, which will likely go along party lines for the same reasons — Democrats will try to deny the president another judge confirmation.
As of Dec. 5, the Senate has confirmed 172 judges nominated by President Trump, including two Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, 48 judges for the United States Courts of Appeals, 120 judges for the U.S. District Courts, and two judges for the U.S. Court of International Trade.