Judge Daniel Bress ’05 Reflects on a Legal Career — Virginia Law Weekly | Media Pyro


Indeed, Judge Bress’ comments reflect Charlottesville’s influence on the legal world. After graduation, Judge Bress spent another year in Charlottesville as a clerk for Fourth Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III. In 2006, she began clerking for Justice Scalia, where she met Professor Aditya Bamzai, while interviewing for a clerkship. Judge Bress returned to Charlottesville occasionally to teach as an associate professor at the Law School.

So, the interview is sometimes like a meeting between two friends. Judge Bress and Professor Bamzai gave speeches and eulogies for the late Justice. Pastor Bamzai recalled a time when he, along with three other writers, pushed Justice Scalia to change his position on a judgment, even though the judge was not in power. said, “I never owed you four.” Judge Bress agreed on the important role of the clerks, and gave a detailed account of the famous character of the Judge: “There was this secret that he knew all the answers, and it was not true.” However, Justice Bress praised Justice Scalia’s “consideration of the law,” particularly of statutory interpretation and his understanding of the separation of powers. Reflecting on his time as a clerk, Judge Bress said with a laugh, “If only I hadn’t clerked for [Justice Scalia]I might follow no friend.”

Turning to his own appointment to the federal bench in 2019, Judge Bress spoke about the challenges and rewards of the position. If you’re like me, then you really want to know what the Ninth Circuit is all about. Thankfully, Judge Bress poured us a hot cuppa—in the polite and respectful manner expected of a federal judge. Unsurprisingly, Judge Bress emphasized the challenges of the Ninth Circuit’s size, noting that it has more immigration than the First and Tenth Congresses. Due to the large nature of the deposit comes a large and varied panel of judges. Judge Bress said, “We have different backgrounds and different views on the law.” The judge lamented that the lack of uniformity in the Ninth Circuit—and the nation—had hindered the proper functioning of the judiciary. “There’s a broad divide in America right now that we’d like to try to narrow it down. . . . It’s important to stick to your principles, but some conversations can be more intense than they should be. ” Judge Bress expressed hope that by returning to private practice, the community would be better served and the public’s confidence in the judiciary would be restored.

For readers looking at a twenty-nine-judge court that’s more circular than a circle and thinking, “Yeah, I can do that,” you’re in luck. Judge Bress was blessed with his thoughts and advice based on his time as a law student. “You have to keep challenging yourself. . . . The classes you fear are the ones you should take,” he said, citing Tax Law as an example. For students who got the short end of this semester’s tutorial, hopefully this will be a good sign that you’re in for a real boss—maybe a clerk or Judge Bress himself. Therefore, as the judge says, he encouraged his secretaries to work on the cases they see as “very bad”.

For those 1Ls who are fed up with procrastination, swearing, self-righteousness, or whatever your academic demons are, Judge Bress had some great advice: “In some of the senior classes, looking forward , will have more meaning. . . . Pleadings, contracts, [and] Corporations are a staple of American law, especially for the general public.” There. The kick in the pants and you have to go back to the outline. And while I remind you of the If you want to forget, Judge Bress also had advice to write law: Focus on your transactions. “

That can be a lot of pressure. Hell, I spent hours on this article, and this is the best exchange I could come up with. But I’ll close with a final thought from Judge Bress, a reminder to all of us that it’s okay not to have all the answers. Speaking about the challenges of transitioning to his judicial position, Judge Bress said, “Unlike in private practice, I can’t call. [Professor Bamzai] said, What do you think about this? Let me ask a twenty-five-year-old, fresh out of law school. So, what can go wrong? When I was twenty-five years old, what?

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