Last week, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Professor Stephanos Bibas of the University of Pennsylvania Law School to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. As Orin noted, Bibas is among the nation’s most prominent and well-respected criminal law scholars.
Bibas is a prolific scholar. His SSRN page lists some 58 items. He has also written non-academic articles, such as a National Review cover story on mass incarceration and this remembrance of Charles Colson. There are not many judicial nominees who were more prolific before being nominated to the bench. (Professor Michael McConnell is one obvious example, but it’s hard to think of too many others.)
Before he became a law professor, Bibas also wrote letters — letters to the editor, that is. Among his letters published in New York Times were these items on the history of the writ of habeas corpus, streamlining judicial process in capital cases and identifying stolen art. Here’s another, written as a professor, on criminal use of disposable cellphones.)
Part of the modern confirmation process is reviewing a nominee’s work — and his or her writing — in search of some potentially disqualifying tidbit. As a consequence, some lucky Senate Judiciary Committee staffers will likely spend a few weekends getting to read every published word written by Bibas. If nothing else, it will provide them with a thorough education in key aspects of contemporary criminal law.