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  • Scudder

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 1:00 am

Dwenger grad tapped for 7th Circuit

Once worked for National Security Council

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated Fort Wayne native Michael Y. Scudder Jr. to become a judge on the 7th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

A 1989 graduate of Bishop Dwenger High School, Scudder is a partner with the Chicago law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He specializes in commercial litigation and white collar-crime, according to the firm's website.

His nomination as a federal judge will require confirmation by the Senate. The 7th Circuit Court in Chicago hears cases from Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Scudder's law firm said he was unavailable for comment Monday.

Scudder was general counsel of the National Security Council from 2007 to 2009 under President George W. Bush. He earlier was a national security counsel for the Justice Department and an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York during the Bush administration. 

In a profile of Scudder published in 2010, Chicago Lawyer magazine reported that the U.S. attorney who hired him was James Comey – who would go on to become the FBI director Trump fired in May.

“I could tell that he was going to be a star, to be honest,” Comey, then general counsel for Lockheed Martin, said about Scudder in the Chicago Lawyer story. “I thought that he was not only incredibly smart, but a person of great common touch – that is, an ability to work with police officers and agents and victims.”

Bill Burck, who had been deputy counsel to Bush, told the magazine that Scudder “really was someone who tried to look at the issues from an objective perspective, taking into account all of the competing views. ... You knew you weren't just getting some particular political or ideological perspective when you talked to him.”

Scudder always remained calm during the “most high-pressure national security issues” facing the White House, Burck told the magazine, a publication of Law Bulletin Media.

“He never panicked. You never even saw him sweat,” Burck told writer Robert Loerzel.

Scudder clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1999-2000 and before that for federal Judge Paul Niemeyer of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, in Richmond, Virginia.

He practiced law in Cleveland before joining the Justice Department.

Scudder is a 1998 graduate of the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he is an adjunct professor, and he received a bachelor's of business administration from Saint Joseph's College in Rensselaer, where he was co-valedictorian.

He has been a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. 

Scudder worked for the Ernst & Young accounting office in Fort Wayne from July 1993 until August 1995.

“The kid just wanted more responsibility, as much as you could give him,” Ron Kaufman, then a local partner at Ernst & Young, told The Journal Gazette in 1998 when Scudder was chosen to clerk for  Kennedy.

bfrancisco@jg.net