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Thomas B. Griffith

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Confirmed June 14, 2005

  • Thomas Griffith, currently Assistant to the President and General Counsel of Brigham Young University, is a highly respected attorney with overwhelming bipartisan support.
    • President Bush has nominated Mr. Griffith to the D.C. Circuit, which hears appeals from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and reviews the decisions of a number of administrative agencies.
    • Mr. Griffith has the support of a broad, bipartisan group of attorneys and law professors, including: Abner Mikva, former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, David Kendall, Lanny Breuer, and Seth Waxman.
  • Mr. Griffith would bring a broad range of experience to the D.C. Circuit. He has experience in civil and criminal litigation, as well as regulatory matters. Mr. Griffith also worked in the legislative branch and assisted in projects dedicated to international legal reforms.
    • Mr. Griffith has served as Assistant to the President and General Counsel of Brigham Young University since August 2000. As General Counsel, he is responsible for advising the university on all legal matters, including management of all litigation involving the university.
    • Between March 1995 and April 1999, Griffith served with distinction as Senate Legal Counsel, having been appointed to the nonpartisan position by a unanimous resolution sponsored by the Republican and Democratic Leaders.
      • As the chief legal officer of the Senate, Mr. Griffith represented the Senate, its committees, Members, officers, and employees in litigation relating to their constitutional powers and privileges; advised committees about their investigatory powers and procedures; and represented the institutional interests of the Senate in the impeachment trial of President Clinton, in the Line Item Veto Act litigation (see Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811 (1997), and Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417 (1998)), and in numerous committee investigations.
    • Mr. Griffith practiced as a partner in the litigation and government affairs practice areas at the Washington law firm of Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP. At Wiley, he worked on complex commercial, corporate, employment, and First Amendment litigation, and government investigations.
    • Between May 1985 and December 1989, Griffith worked at the Charlotte, North Carolina law firm of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. There, he handled a variety of transactional, securities, corporate governance, and litigation work.
    • Mr. Griffith serves as an Advisory Board Member to the ABA Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), and as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Friends of the CEELI Institute. CEELI is a project that advances the rule of law in the world by supporting the legal reform process in Central and Eastern Europe and the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
  • Mr.Griffith has an outstanding academic record.
    • Griffith obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in 1978 from Brigham Young University, receiving High Honors with Distinction from its Honors Program.
    • He received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1985, serving on the editorial and articles review board of the Virginia Law Review.
  • Mr. Griffith has frequently volunteered his time to pro bono service and public service groups tackling important and complicated legal issues of the day.
    • While in private practice, Mr. Griffith undertook the significant pro bono representation of a death row inmate, which led to a commutation of the inmate’s sentence by the Governor of Virginia.
    • In 1999, at Virginia Governor James Gilmore’s request, Griffith agreed to serve as General Counsel to the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, created by Congress to study the implications of the growth of electronic commerce on tax policies for states and the Nation. Griffith advised the Commission on a host of important matters relating to the Commission’s statutory authority and rules.
    • From 2002 to 2003, Griffith served on the Secretary of Education’s Commission on Opportunity in Athletics, commonly known as the Title IX Commission. On a Commission charged with examining and suggesting reforms on the issue of athletic opportunities in higher education for women and men, Griffith helped create a consensus on ways to vindicate Title IX’s principle of nondiscrimination.
  • Thomas Griffith is a man of community and family.
    • Griffith has stated that "the highest and most noble role of a lawyer . . . is to help build communities founded on the rule of law." Lawyers and the Atonement, reprinted in Life in the Law: Answering God’s Interrogatories at 236 (Brigham Young Univ. 2002).
    • Mr. Griffith is a lay leader in his church and has dedicated significant amounts of time to his congregation. He is responsible for a project that sends university students from several congregations to tutor disadvantaged Latino immigrant children in a local elementary school, to visit the elderly in nursing care facilities, and to visit youth confined to detention centers.
    • Mr. Griffith and his wife are natives of McLean, Virginia and were educated in the public schools of Fairfax County, Virginia. They are the parents of five daughters, two of whom are married, and a son.


David Kendall and Lanny Breuer, former Special Counsel to President Clinton:.

"For years Tom has been a leader in the bar and has shown dedication to its principles. The federal bench needs judges like Tom, an excellent lawyer who supported across the political spectrum…" Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, June 11, 2004.

Bill Ide and Sandy D’Alemberte, former Presidents of the ABA (and 11 other attorneys):

"Each of us has had extensive contact with Tom and believes him to be extremely well qualified for service on the D.C. Circuit. For years Tom has been a leader in the bar and has shown dedication to its principles. The federal bench needs people like him, one of the best lawyers the bar has to offer. We urge the Senate to confirm his nomination." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 14, 2004.

William J. Stuntz, Professor, Harvard Law School:

"I know a great many talented men and women in America’s legal profession; I’ve taught more than three thousand students at three top law schools, and I have friends scattered across the country in various kinds of law practice and in academics. I do not know anyone whom I would rather see on the federal bench than Tom Griffith. If he is confirmed, he will not just be a good judge. He’ll be a great one." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 21, 2004.

Richard E. Wiley, Wiley Rein & Fielding:

"Tom is an outstanding lawyer, with keen judgment, congenial temperament and impeccable personal integrity. He would bring great expertise and fair-minded impartiality to the bench and, in my judgment, would be a considerable credit to the D.C. Circuit and the Federal Judiciary as a whole." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 21, 2004.

Mark S. Ellis, Executive Director, International Bar Association:

"The duty of a judge is to administer justice according to law, without fear or favor, and without regard to the wishes or policy of the governing majority. Tom Griffith will fervently adhere to this principle. As is natural in a democracy, people will not always agree with Tom’s decisions from the bench. I will certainly not always agree with those decisions. However, there will never be a question as to the veracity behind them." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 22, 2004.

Thomas W. Brunner, Wiley Rein & Fielding:

"I offer these views from the perspective of a life-long and politically active Democrat. While Tom and I don’t always agree on partisan political issues, I have the highest regard for his integrity and for his open-mindedness. As a judge, he would approach each case without prejudice, with a willingness to be educated about considerations he did not previously understand and a rock-solid commitment to fairness." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 22, 2004.

Constance Lundberg, Associate Dean and Professor of Law, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University:

"[Tom] is also a lawyer of unexcelled ability. He understands the differences between law and policy and has a deep understanding of the powers and prerogatives of each of the three branches of government. He is immensely fair and compassionate. The laws and Constitution of the United States could not be in better hands." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 25, 2004.

David Tolbert, Deputy Registrar, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia:

"Mr. Griffith is without question one of the best professionals with whom I have worked, given not only his capability as a lawyer but his integrity as a person. He also shows an open-minded approach to legal and other issues, and I have discussed many issues with him, a number of which we come at somewhat different angles, and his intellectual honesty and integrity are outstanding." Letter to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, June 22, 2004.