Meet the 36-Year-Old Pick for 4th Circuit

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

President Trump has a plan to appoint younger judges, and Allison Jones Rushing fits that plan.

At 36, Rushing is the youngest nominee to a federal appeals court in 15 years. She also fits the generally youthful profile for potential judges who made the president's recent short list for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Rushing will have to put in some years on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals before she makes that list. Of course, she has to make it to the appeals court first.

How Qualified?

Some court-watchers see Rushing's lack of experience as a problem. The American Bar Association, for example, prefers nominees have at least 12 years' practicing law.

Rushing has been practicing for about seven years. The ABA, which has not rated Rushing yet, has said five of Trump's nominees were not qualified.

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr from North Carolina -- the nominee's home state -- said Rushing has the right experience for the Fourth Circuit. Sen. Thom Tillis, also of North Carolina and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, agreed.

"Allison Rushing has an incredible wealth of judicial experience and is regarded as one of the best legal minds in the country," he said.

"Rising Star"

According to the National Law Review, Rushing began practicing with Williams & Connolly in 2011. Before that, she had clerked for federal judges -- including Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas.

She graduated magna cum laude from Duke University Law School in 2007, and served as executive editor of the journal there. She was named a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers.

She is not the youngest nominee ever, nor the only to be named to an appeals court without prior judicial experience. Joseph Story was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court at age 32 without any judicial experience.

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