Corporate Lawyers, GCs Press Obama for High Court Nominee

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By Che Odom

March 9 — Corporate attorneys and general counsel from companies such as Google Inc. are urging President Barack Obama and Senate Republican leaders to move on filling the empty U.S. Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“The impact of a stalemate at the Supreme Court may have a profound effect on our economy, creating uncertainty for the financial industry, major corporate employers, as well as small businesses,” said a letter sent March 9 to the president and GOP Senators Chuck Grassley (Iowa), chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

The letter was signed by 250 senior attorneys from major law firms and companies.

The letter asked the president to nominate a successor and for the Senate to grant that candidate fair consideration and a full Senate vote.

Some Senators have suggested that the president leave the nomination to his successor, but Obama has said his search is underway.


Scalia died in his sleep in mid-February following an afternoon of hunting and dining at a Texas ranch. Court observers say his opinions tended to tilt in favor of corporations .

In recent developments, Dow Chemical Co. said it agreed to pay $835 million to settle an antitrust case pending before the Supreme Court after Scalia's death reduced its chances of overturning a jury award .

Risk of Deadlock

The attorneys' letter noted that the high court's cases implicate the interests of major corporations, private-sector organizations and businesses across the country. With an eight-member court, the risk of a stalemate on important matters is greater than with nine members, the letter said.

“Allowing the Court to proceed for two terms with an open seat would be unprecedented and have damaging collateral consequences that would be felt across our entire federal judicial system,” the letter said, adding that the “corporate legal community and business interests represented herein seek the assurances that come with a fully staffed nine-member Court.”

Among those signing the letter are partners from Bradley, Arant, Boult, Cummings LLP, Perkins Coie LLP, Arent Fox LLP, Arnold & Porter LLP, Foley & Lardner LLP, Reed Smith LLP, McDermott, Will & Emery, Hogan Lovells and Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Che Odom in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at