Why You Should Help a MilSpouse Land Senate Confirmation


The military family community is abuzz over Patricia Millett, the prolific appellate lawyer and retired Navy spouse nominated by President Obama in June to join the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit. Nominees to the circuit must be approved by a vote in the Senate, and with the vote on Millett fast approaching, military spouse attorneys are pulling out all the stops in an effort to see her confirmed to what is arguably the most important civilian court in the country to military and military families.

Although the military has its own justice system for court martials, many other kinds of cases affecting military and veterans are heard by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, most cases about Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs policies and countless other matters implicating military, national security, and defense like the Guantanamo Bay litigation, find their way to the D.C. Circuit on appeal.

For example, this year, the D.C. Circuit made decisions that affect how sexual assault cases may be brought while serving on active duty (Klay v. Panetta), and how reservists can prove cases of employment discrimination (Potts v. Howard).

Decisions made by the D.C. Circuit set precedent by which military and veterans are bound, and then affects their everyday lives. This makes a military perspective among the judges on that court absolutely critical.

Now we have a chance to see one of our own on the bench. But to make it happen, the Military Spouse JD Network, a 900-plus member bar association for military spouse attorneys, needs your help.

“Patricia Millett is an exceptional candidate to the bench,” said Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) President Mary Reding. “She is inarguably one of the best appellate lawyers in the country, well-respected as a person and professional, and has a long history of service to her country. She is a no-brainer candidate within our profession, but her understanding of the military makes her a must-have candidate for our community.”

Millet is no stranger to the demands of military life. She managed to maintain a high-profile legal career throughout her husband’s time in the Active Duty Navy and Navy Reserves. A mother of two, she even worked at the Solicitor General’s office during deployment, arguing one case in front of the US Supreme Court and briefing five more.

MSJDN  has been working hard to spread the message about Millett’s nomination, and to pull help from the military community in seeing her confirmed as a judge. MSJDN released a profile on Millett this week, coupled with a summary of the military support her nomination has received to date. They have also been encouraging people to call, email, and tweet their support of Millett’s confirmation.

Members of MSJDN leadership will be storming the hill Oct. 28 to speak with key Senators, and urge them to vote in favor of Patricia Millett’s confirmation to the bench. MSJDN’s aim is to push the discussion beyond party politics, and focus on how critically important it is to have a military voice among the jurists on the D.C. Circuit. They will also be continuing its push for Patricia Millett next week within the military community, beginning Oct. 28 with Make it Happen Monday, a grassroots advocacy effort to call, email, and Tweet members of the senate asking them to #ConfirmPattie. Click here if you are interested in joining their efforts.


Reda Hicks is the wife of an Army helicopter pilot, mom to a three-year-old, and partner in Houston, Texas-based litigation boutique Diamond McCarthy LLP. She serves as Managing Editor for the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) overseeing, among other things, the development and production of MSJDN’s Bars and Stripes news journal. Reda is also MSJDN’s Governance Director and serves on its Government Affairs Committee. Reda writes about military family life on her site, hickshiking.com, and is also a regular contributor to legal scholarship on environmental law and natural resource issues. Follow her @Hicks426.

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