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Former Ole Miss professor confirmed to U.S. Court of Appeals

A former Ole Miss law professor has been confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Kyle Duncan, of Louisiana, has become the 15th judge confirmed after being nominated by President Trump following the Senate’s vote to confirm him by a margin of 50-47. Ron Rychlak, a current professor of law at Ole Miss, said he was proud to see his colleague reach this position, and he also noted that many have felt Duncan’s background is controversial.

“Kyle was very controversial because he is very outspoken in terms of a pro-life stance, and he has done so much of the major litigation trying to defend traditional marriage, so it was an interesting and controversial nomination, but I’m happy that a friend is going to be moving back to the area.”

In a letter co-signed by 64 of his colleagues, Congressman A. Donald McEachin from Virginia urged the Senate not to confirm Duncan because of his stance on social issues.

“Over the course of his career, Mr. Duncan has challenged the rights of LGBT Americans by working fervently to deny them equality in court,” Congressman McEachin said. “His work to allow discrimination against this community, especially transgender individuals, raises serious concerns about his commitment to fairly rule in cases concerning all individuals, regardless of their background or orientation. Given his record, I have little confidence that Mr. Duncan would administer justice fairly and impartially, and that is why my colleagues and I urge our Senate colleagues to reject his divisive nomination.”

In his new role, Rychlak knows that whatever his personal views may be, Duncan will uphold the office he has been appointed to.

“He’s a hard worker and a straight shooter. He has his views, but he is going to enforce the law,” he said.

Senator John Kennedy from Louisiana supported the nomination and says that Duncan will continue to earn the support of those around him with his work ethic and a balanced approach to the bench.

“Those who know Kyle and those who have participated in the vetting process know that he is articulate, he’s a careful thinker, he has a deep understanding of the importance of separation of powers. And for that reason he’s been supported by a bipartisan group of both current and former lawyers…. Mr. Duncan has developed an expertise in constitutional law…. If I didn’t think Kyle Duncan wouldn’t call the balls and the strikes based on the rule of law that we cherish in America, I wouldn’t be standing here today. But he will.”  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke generally of Trump’s appointments and gave a message of support for each one.

“These are men and women who try to interpret laws as written or as the Constitution seems to specify,” McConnell said.

Prior to his appointment and in addition to his time at Ole Miss, Duncan has also served as the Appellate Chief of the Louisiana Department of Justice.

The 5th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals encompasses Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

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