The responsible press coverage so far of President Trump's nomination of Steven Menashi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has focused, understandably, on debunking the absurd, outrageous, and false claims that he is somehow a racist by virtue of having defended Israel in a 2010 law review article. For some fine examples, see the August 16 National Review article "Rachel Maddow's Racial Smear of Second Circuit Nominee Steven Menashi," the August 25 Wall Street Journal editorial "Smearing Steven Menashi," and the September 4 New York Times column by Ross Douthat, "Four Things That Are Not White Nationalism."
That's all welcome and important and true as far as it goes in explaining who Menashi is not — some sort of racist caricature. Where I have some expertise to add, personally, is in explaining who Menashi is. Before he rose to stardom as a judicial nominee, as associate White House Counsel, as acting general counsel at the U.S. Department of Education, as an assistant professor of law at George Mason University, as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, as a law clerk to Judge Douglas Ginsburg and to Justice Samuel Alito, Menashi worked as an editorial writer at the New York Sun. I was his editor and direct supervisor. He was hardworking, thoughtful, brilliant, careful, curious, empathetic, humble, honest, patriotic, skeptical, independent-minded, wise, respectful of the Constitution — in short, a wonderful colleague with what seems, in retrospect, a perfect judicial temperament. He's precisely the sort of person America needs on the federal bench. I hope the Senate confirms him rapidly.