Roswell at­tor­ney named to court of ap­peals

Joel Car­son to re­place Paul J. Kelly Jr. on the fed­eral bench

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - BY MICHAEL COLE­MAN

WASH­ING­TON — Joel Car­son, a Roswell en­ergy lawyer and part-time mag­is­trate judge, was con­firmed by the U.S. Sen­ate on Tues­day for a life­time ap­point­ment to the fed­eral bench as a mem­ber of the 10th Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals.

Car­son is slated to re­place Paul J. Kelly Jr., who will as­sume a more lim­ited, se­nior sta­tus on the court.

Car­son, 46, is a prin­ci­pal at Car­son Ryan LLC, a law firm spe­cial­iz­ing in oil and gas law, reg­u­la­tory is­sues, lit­i­ga­tion and ap­pel­late cases. He has also served as a part-time mag­is­trate judge since 2015.

Al­though Car­son’s nom­i­na­tion was not with­out op­po­si­tion — he was ap­proved 77-21 — it proved less di­vi­sive than some of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s other nom­i­na­tions to the fed­eral bench.

“Judge Car­son has a distin­guished ten­ure as a U.S. mag­is­trate judge,” Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell, R-Ky., said in an­nounc­ing the Tues­day vote on Car­son. “His peers say his in­tegrity, fair­ness and re­spect for the dig­nity of oth­ers are top-notch, and a bi­par­ti­san group of New Mex­ico lawyers have ex­pressed con­fi­dence he’ll be an ex­cel­lent ad­di­tion to the 10th Cir­cuit.”

Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Hein­rich, both D-N.M., voted for Car­son’s nom­i­na­tion.

“I be­lieve that Joel will bring New Mex­ico values — in­tegrity, com­pas­sion and re­spect for those with op­pos­ing view­points — to the fed­eral bench,” Udall said af­ter the vote. “These values will serve him, and New Mex­ico, well on the cir­cuit court.”

Hein­rich, who had been non­com­mit­tal about Car­son’s nom­i­na­tion for months be­fore Tues­day’s vote, did not pro­vide any pub­lic state­ment on Car­son’s con­fir­ma­tion.

Some Democrats and lib­eral groups had been skep­ti­cal of Car­son’s pro­fes­sional back­ground rep­re­sent­ing en­ergy com­pa­nies.

“Joel per­son­i­fies the traits of an ef­fec­tive and honor­able judge — hu­mil­ity, in­tel­li­gence, pa­tience, and com­mon sense,” said Christo­pher Lau­d­er­man, an at­tor­ney at Car­son Ryan, in a state­ment to the Jour­nal. “Joel’s broad ex­po­sure to all ar­eas of civil lit­i­ga­tion com­bined with his ex­pe­ri­ence as a United States mag­is­trate judge gives us great con­fi­dence that he will make an out­stand­ing cir­cuit judge.”

Carl To­bias, a law pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Rich­mond who tracks the ju­di­cial nom­i­na­tion process closely, noted that most West­ern sen­a­tors backed Car­son.

“I look for the ex­per­tise some­one brings, and he cer­tainly brings oil and gas, pub­lic lands and en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­pe­ri­ence and you need that on the 10th Cir­cuit,” To­bias said. “I ex­pect him to be bal­anced.”

Joel Car­son

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