Press Release

Bress Is Wrong for the Ninth Circuit

May 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 17, 2019  – Alliance for Justice today released a report on the record of Daniel Bress, a Trump nominee for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. AFJ President Nan Aron made the following statement:

“President Trump is on a crusade to push the Ninth Circuit to the far right, so much so that he didn’t even bother to look within the California legal community for a nominee to this seat, which historically has been held by a judge from that state. Instead he tapped Daniel Bress, who has been an ultraconservative D.C. attorney for years now.  This nomination is being rammed through over the objections of both California senators, Sens. Feinstein and Harris, who have pointed out Bress’s minimal ties to the state. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are now blatantly refusing to respect the rights of these senators — one of whom is the Ranking Member on the committee — when it comes to judicial nominations, and that is truly disturbing.”

Among other things, the AFJ report finds that:

  • Bress is nominated to fill a California seat on the circuit, but both California senators have rightly highlighted his lack of connection to the state. As Senator Feinstein wrote, “[W]e raised concerns about Daniel Bress since he lives in Washington, D.C., not California, is quite young and has no judicial experience.”
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham initially appeared to acknowledge that Senator Feinstein’s concerns were legitimate. He then chose to override these concerns of his committee’s ranking member with no further explanation, by scheduling a hearing for Bress.
  • This is not the first time California’s senators have been overridden in their objections to federal judicial nominees for seats assigned to their state. The nominations of Kenneth Lee and Daniel Collins have also proceeded despite the senators’ opposition.
  • Absurdly, Bress appears to be pretending he is based in California by changing his contact information online. Bress’s contact information on his law firm’s website gave only a Washington, D.C. phone number up until late 2018.  Following news that Bress was being considered for a California seat on the Ninth Circuit, a San Francisco number was added. This is a dishonest ploy unworthy of a potential federal judge.
  • Bress litigated pro bono to convert a public elementary school to a charter school in Anaheim County, California, under a controversial California “parent-trigger”
    law. The far-right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has utilized the California law as a template for other state parent-trigger bills.
  • Bress has repeatedly opposed the right of people to band together in class action lawsuits and hold corporations accountable, not just in his professional capacity as an attorney representing clients but in writings he has published in media.
  • Bress has repeatedly defended large corporate interests at the expense of workers and consumers, including his defense of a corporation, BASF Catalysts, against a lawsuit filed by thousands of asbestos injury victims. The victims sued because, among other claims, the corporation allegedly deceived and misled plaintiffs into settlements by lying about important facts.

Read the full report here.