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Chris Kratovil Quoted in Texas Lawyer Article on Upcoming Presidential Appointments to Fifth Circuit

Appellate Lawyer Notes that Politics Could Play Key Role

December 17, 2013

Christopher D. Kratovil, a Dallas-based member of Dykema’s Litigation group whose practice focuses on appellate matters, is extensively quoted in an article—“Then There Were Three: Committee Looking at Trio of Texas for Fifth Circuit Spots”—that appeared in the December 9, 2013 issue of Texas Lawyer.

In the article, Kratovil offers his perspective on President Obama’s likely decision to appoint three Texans to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, to fill vacancies created by judges taking senior status. The Fifth Circuit, based in New Orleans, is one of 13 United States Courts of Appeals with appellate jurisdiction over district courts in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Kratovil provides insight into one of the likely Obama nominees for the Fifth Circuit: Gregg Costa, a U.S. District Court judge from Galveston, and a classmate of Kratovil’s at the University of Texas School of Law.

With Costa having been approved in 2011 by the U.S. Senate for his current post, Kratovil believes his chances of confirmation for the Fifth Circuit are excellent. “I think it's a powerful talking point that someone was approved by essentially the same Senate and the same senior Texas Republican senator (Sen. John Cornyn-R) that sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” says Kratovil.

Kratovil is quick to point out, however, that at least one of Costa’s rulings—Voting America v. Steen—might pose a challenge. In that case, Costa enjoined enforcement of a new Texas voting law that made it harder for voluntary deputy registrars to receive and deliver completed voter registration applications. This decision was later overruled by the Fifth Circuit.

Kratovil not only stands by Costa’s credentials--“he’s remarkably qualified in all respects and has a fantastic temperament”—but indicates that “if the GOP prevents or stops his nomination, Republicans should be estopped from complaining when a qualified nominee is blocked through filibuster.”