Rex Heinke Quoted in The National Law Journal on Obama Court Appointees

Rex Heinke, co-head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, has been quoted in The National Law Journal story “Are Obama Judges ‘Less Friendly’ to Business?”

The article notes that 55 judges have been confirmed to the federal appeals courts since President Obama took office in 2009, with 31 of those judges replacing Republican appointees. Heinke said he hasn’t observed an overhaul in areas of law affecting business over the past eight years, although the president’s nominees to the bench “are certainly more liberal than the judiciary when he came into office.”

Heinke continued, “There would be a dramatic shift if there were liberal justices added to the Supreme Court. For example, there have been all sorts of decisions on the Supreme Court in recent years about the use of arbitration to settle disputes, and the court has been very sympathetic to claims that agreements to arbitration be upheld. I suspect a more liberal justice on the Supreme Court might well have a different view.”

President Obama’s appointees, the article reports, have not all been alike in their rulings, deciding some cases against the government and in favor of business. Heinke said clients should be mindful of the composition of a particular court when making decisions about where and whether to appeal a case, but trying to predict how judges will rule based on the president who appointed them is a dangerous game.

“Broadly speaking you’re going to find Democratic appointees are inclined to uphold federal power, and Republican appointees are less inclined to do so,” Heinke said. But judges can surprise people, he added, including “the presidents who appointed them and the Senate who confirmed them.”