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Major Louisiana associations nominate 5th Circuit judges


December 3, 2017
By Angela Underwood
Originally Posted on The Louisiana Record

Kyle S. Duncan and Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt belong in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to three major Louisiana associations.

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy officially nominated the two judges Nov. 17 as the best men to serve on the bench.

“A judge must be attentive and dedicated to ensuring that each litigant gets the finest the system can offer; only then will the process move smoothly and fairly,” Stephen Waguespack, LABI president and CEO, told the Louisiana Record. “These individuals have proven their steadfast commitment to a system that not only works, but one that is fair and committed to the rule of law.”

Duncan is a double graduate of Louisiana State University, who clerked on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana and served four years as the appellate chief for the Louisiana Department of Justice. Engelhardt currently serves as the chief judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Fifth Circuit Committee on Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions.

LOGA President Don Briggs said the two men should be swiftly confirmed into the 5th District Court of Appeals.

“The leadership, experience, and knowledge that Mr. Duncan and Judge Engelhardt possess cannot be overstated,” Briggs said in a press release. “As the business and industry community looks to clean up the legal environment in order to attract more jobs and investment in Louisiana, it is imperative that we confirm fair and impartial judges that realize the value that businesses bring to our great state.”

Pelican Institute for Public Policy CEO Daniel Erspamer said liberty, equality and the rule of law are fundamental to a free society.

“That’s why it’s so important to have good judges at all levels of our judicial system who are committed to upholding these principles and defending the Constitution of the United States,” Erspamer said in a press release. “Kyle Duncan and Judge Kurt Engelhardt are two such men.”

Waguespack said regardless of LABI support of the two men, federal judiciary nominees are appointed for life, which is why it is critical that any nominee is one that will be a strong independent jurist who is adept at interpreting the law in a fair and impartial manner rather than making the law from the bench.

“With the growth of governmental regulations and lawsuits against individuals and businesses coming from all levels of government, it is more important than ever that we have individuals appointed who can weigh the issues and make rational and sound decisions,” Waguespack said.