Bar Fees Lapsed for Lawyer Nominated for Appeals Court

Bar Fees Lapsed for Lawyer Nominated for Appeals Court

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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- A Utah lawyer nominated for a federal appeals court failed to pay his bar association dues for three years, in essence invalidating his license to practice.

Thomas Griffith, a former general counsel for the Senate, was nominated for the U-S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He's President Bush's pick for the opening that Democratic senators blocked Hispanic lawyer Miguel Estrada from getting last year.

The lapse was attributed to a clerical oversight, possibly by an employer, which was corrected as soon as it was brought to light. Still, the issue could complicate Griffith's confirmation.

Griffith disclosed the lapse himself in a nominee questionnaire to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He continues to have the backing of the Bush administration and Sen. Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Still, critics say the confirmation should be upheld until the license lapse is more closely examined.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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