CCA's Puryear is SOL


[image-1] We're at the point now where our favorite GOP golden boy has as good a chance of being nominated to the federal bench as Diane Neighbors does of cracking down on a wayward developer. Today, a national law journal is reporting that the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on five district court nominees, none of whom are named Gus Puryear. With Bush's term winding down, it seems unlikely that the Democratically controlled judiciary committee will consider the nomination of the 39-year-old CCA corporate counsel anytime soon, particularly given his widely panned performance before them last winter. Since then, CCA has been the subject of blistering stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post, making his long-shot bid to to don a robe for life even more unlikely. If Puryear goes down, it would mark a painfully embarrassing defeat for Sen. Lamar Alexander, who backed Puryear despite a thin legal career honed largely in a corporate boardroom in Burton Hills. While many staples of the local bar insist that Puryear would make a skillful judge and laud his legal mind, other attorneys, including some Republicans, snicker that his dearth of courtroom experience would make it difficult for him to try the many complicated criminal and civil cases that come before a federal judge. Don't forget, too, the series of controversies in Puryear's professional and personal life, from his company's handling of an an inmate's brutal death to his membership in the intentionally exclusive Belle Meade Country Club. (Guys, any progress on the David Ewing front? Call me.) It makes you wonder why the local GOP couldn't find a nominee like Ed Yarbrough, the acclaimed defense attorney and former prosecutor, who along with John Hollins Sr., helped keep Jeffrey Womack out of prison for 33 years, even though police unfairly targeted him for the murder of Marcia Trimble. Last year, when Bush tapped Yarbrough to be the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Democrats and Republicans praised the selection, and he was easily confirmed. Couldn't the Repubs have found someone like Yarbrough for the federal bench? Because next year, under an Obama administration, they're going to wish they tapped a GOP judge when they had the chance.

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