Trump nominates UF law school alum and former SCOTUS clerk to federal bench

by | Aug 12, 2020


Florida may have another home grown federal judge in the near future. University of Florida law school alum Kathryn Kimball Mizelle has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Mizelle is currently in private practice at Jones Day, where she focuses on appellate litigation. She is a former federal prosecutor, and also served as an advisor to the Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the former third-highest ranking official at the Department of Justice. Mizelle is a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  ​

Though her nomination requires confirmation in the United States Senate, Mizelle appears to have strong support from both Florida Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. That support is crucial to fast track Mizelle’s confirmation, which is now likely to get a quick hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, a key step before confirmation by the full Senate.

Rubio and Scott both made public statements praising Trump’s pick after the announcement:

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:

“I am pleased the President nominated Kat Mizelle to serve as a federal district court judge for the Middle District of Florida,” Rubio said. “Mizelle is a highly qualified nominee having served in various legal roles both in the public and private sector. Notably, she has served as a law clerk at every level of the federal judiciary, most recently as clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. I look forward to her Senate confirmation process as Senate Republicans continue to fill judicial vacancies by confirming well-qualified judges to the federal bench.”

U.S. Senator Rick Scott (via Twitter):

Congrats to Kathryn Mizelle on her nomination by @POTUS to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of FL! I look forward to supporting her nomination in the Senate & appreciate @senatemajldr ’s commitment to acting swiftly on federal judicial noms.

Alongside her work at Jones Day, Mizelle also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Her appointment has already won support among the state’s top conservative leaders. In addition to Rubio and Scott, many top legal minds and elected leaders in Florida and around the nation offered similar praise of Mizelle’s nomination.

Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva:

“Congratulations are in order for Florida attorney Kathryn Kimball Mizelle on her appointment today to the federal bench, and much appreciation to President Trump for this strong appointment. It is certainly a moment of great pride to see such a qualified and principled Floridian called upon for this esteemed position of service.”

Bill Galvano – Florida Senate President

“I am grateful to President Trump for another strong selection for the federal bench and congratulate Kathryn Mizelle on her appointment.  President Trump made a commitment to appoint judges who respect the separation of powers and the limited role of the Judiciary contemplated in our Constitution. I am certain Kathryn Mizelle will be a tremendous addition to his already robust track record of judicial appointees. Graduating at the top of her class and becoming the first UF College of Law Alumna to clerk for the United States Supreme Court, Kathryn Mizelle has very strong academic and professional credentials. Congratulations!”  

Ashley Moody – Florida Attorney General (via Twitter)

“Congrats to Kat Mizelle, a former law clerk to Justice Thomas and the other Judge Moody. Wishing her the best in her new role.”

Chris Sprowls – Member and Speaker Designate, Florida House (via Twitter)

@realDonaldTrump continues to hit home runs in selecting judges. A respected constitutional conservative, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle will make an outstanding addition to the Middle District of Florida.’

Bob Jerry – Former Dean of the University of Florida Levin College of Law

“Kathryn is smart, has impeccable integrity, and works hard.  She will apply the law fairly and justly.  These are the characteristics we need most in our judges.”

Dennis Calfee – Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law

“Kathryn, a Florida native, is one of the most outstanding individuals ever to attend the University of Florida Levin College of Law.  She is an example for us all both professionally and personally. I applaud her dedication to public service and her constant, unselfish efforts to always make a positive difference.  She possesses every characteristic necessary to serve as a federal judge.”

Two former Trump Administration officials also weighed in:

Donald F. McGahn II – Former White House Counsel to President Trump

“The President, in consultation with Senators Rubio and Scott, has made another outstanding judicial selection for the state of Florida by nominating Kat.  She has impeccable academic credentials, including government and courtroom experience at the state and federal levels, and judicial clerkships at every level of the federal judiciary, including the U.S. Supreme Court.  Her experience as a state and federal prosecutor, senior advisor at the Department of Justice, and high-stakes litigator at Jones Day has prepared her well to excel as a jurist.”

Jesse Panuccio – Former Acting Associate Attorney General of the United States, who worked with Mizelle at the Justice Department.

“Kat Kimball Mizelle is a trailblazer who has already distinguished herself as one of Florida’s leading legal lights.  She has all the qualities that make for an excellent judge—brilliance, diligence, and fair-mindedness.  Her nomination is great news for the Florida judiciary.”

Here’s the full text of the White House press release regarding Mizelle:

Today, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate:

Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, of Florida, to serve as Judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Kathryn Mizelle is an attorney at Jones Day, where her practice focuses on complex civil and criminal litigation and appeals. Ms. Mizelle previously served at the Department of Justice as Counsel to the Associate Attorney General, a Trial Attorney in the Tax Division, and an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Ms. Mizelle also serves as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Mizelle served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court, Judge Gregory G. Katsas of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Chief Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and Judge James S. Moody, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Ms. Mizelle earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Covenant College, and her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she served as the Executive Notes & Comments Editor of the Florida Law Review.


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