Legislative Alert | Labor Law

Letter Supporting Nomination of Todd Edelman to the U.S. District Court

Dick Durbin, Chair
Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member
United States Senate Committee on Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Durbin and Ranking Member Grassley:

I am writing on behalf of the AFL-CIO to urge your support for Judge Todd Edelman's nomination to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Throughout his career as a public defender, labor lawyer, and judge, Judge Edelman has demonstrated a dedication to the principles of equal justice under the law, a work ethic and intellectual rigor, and a concern for the access of low-income and working families to our courts that would make him an outstanding federal judge.

Judge Edelman is a well-qualified candidate for the federal bench and has a long demonstrated commitment to the principles of equal justice and opportunity for all people, including working people. As a lawyer, Judge Edelman spent 15 years fighting for economic justice and the rights of low-income and working people. In his work as a trial lawyer at the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia and a clinical professor at Georgetown Law's Criminal Justice Clinic, he represented hundreds of indigent men and women facing criminal charges of all types. After leaving PDS, Judge Edelman became of Counsel at Bredhoff & Kaiser PPLC, one of the nation's leading union-side labor law firms. At Bredhoff & Kaiser, he represented working people and their labor representatives – firefighters, office cleaners, bus drivers, postal workers, grocery clerks, and other workers across the country – in matters ranging from arbitrations regarding the discipline of individual employees to complex litigation in federal and state courts.

Judge Edelman was confirmed for his current position as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 2010. Judge Edelman has presided over cases in the Superior Court's Criminal, Domestic Violence, and Civil Divisions. He currently serves as the Deputy Presiding Judge in the Civil Division. As a judge, Judge Edelman is respected for his ability to efficiently manage lengthy criminal and civil trials and to resolve complex motions posing novel legal issues. Just as importantly, he is known for the respectful and compassionate manner in which he treats lawyers, pro se litigants, and other parties, and for the sensitivity he has shown in his decisions to the rights of defendants, prisoners, employees, and consumers. In addition to his work on the cases that come in front of him, Judge Edelman has also sought out other opportunities to make the District's court system more local and more humane: he serves on the Court's Criminal Justice Act Implementation Committee, the Committee on Pro Bono and Affordable Counsel, and the Joint Standing Committee on Fairness and Access to the D.C. Courts.

The depth and breadth of Judge Edelman's experience make him an unusually wellqualified candidate for the federal judiciary. He has participated in cases and seen the impact of the law on people's lives from a variety of perspectives: as a public defender, a lawyer in private practice, a clinical law professor, and a judge. As a public defender and a union lawyer, Judge Edelman had the experience of standing beside low-income and working people as he fought for their rights; he saw the cases and the court system through their eyes, and learned what the law can mean in the lives of individuals. This type of experience – which animates Judge Edelman's work as a Superior Court judge just as it would on the United States District Court – is unfortunately uncommon on the federal bench, to the detriment of working people and to the principle of equal justice under law.

For these reasons, the AFL-CIO enthusiastically endorse Judge Todd E. Edelman for the position of United Stated District Judge for the District of Columbia.

William Samuel
Director, Government Affairs