Allison Eid is a United States circuit judge on the US Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado. She was reportedly on the shortlist to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy when he stepped down from the Supreme Court. Last June, Trump nominated her to take over Neil Gorsuch’s spot on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Gorsuch was leaving the seat to join the Supreme Court, and many observers wondered whether Eid would follow in his footsteps.
More recently, some have mentioned Eid as a possible nominee when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg steps down from the Supreme Court. Abortion is expected to be a hot-button issue in the confirmation process of the next Supreme Court justice. This may be an advantage for Eid. Not only is she a woman, but she has almost no public record on either side of the abortion debate. Pro-life advocates are divided when it comes to Eid. Some support her; others denounce her. Neither side of this debate has much evidence to go on, which, again, may be an asset to Eid if she makes it to the confirmation hearings.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Eid Grew Up With a Single Mother Who Struggled to Make Ends Meet
Eid grew up in Spokane, Washington. When she was a little girl, her father abandoned the family. Eid’s mother was a stay at home mother at the time, with no means of supporting herself and her two children. The family struggled, but Eid’s mother always found a way to make ends meet.
Eid went on to graduate from Stanford University and then earned a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.
Katherine Yarger, who clerked for Eid, told Bloomberg that growing up with a single mother had given Eid an incredible work ethic. “I think a lot of Justice Eid’s incredible work ethic and sense of sacrifice and commitment to something greater than herself comes from that experience of watching her mom and watching what she went through to raise her family,” Yarger said.
Eid is married to Troy Eid, a former US Attorney who is now in private practice. Eid is Egyptian-American. The couple has two children.
Yarger told the Denver Post that Eid is a dedicated mother who always prioritizes her children and her husband. She said, “At the same time she serves Colorado, Eid prioritizes her family. As a clerk I saw how involved she was in the mundane tasks that keep a family running. I appreciated that she did not hide her personal obligations and never apologized for them. She managed to fulfill her commitments to her family and to the people of Colorado while maintaining an unending supply of good spirit and kindness.”
2. Eid is Close to Clarence Thomas
Eid clerked for Clarence Thomas earlier in her career. When Eid was in the running for a seat on the Colorado Supreme Court, the conservative justice wrote her a letter of recommendation. Thomas wrote, “Allison did not vacillate because others disagreed,” Thomas wrote. “Rather, she engaged in constructive debate about very difficult matters, always looking for a way to solve the problem.”
Eid got the job, and Thomas attended her swearing in ceremony.
3. Civil Rights Groups Say Eid Has a “Troubling” Record on Police Brutality
A coalition of over 200 human rights groups known as The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights protested Eid’s nomination to the Court of Appeals for the tenth circuit. The group said that Eid had “a demonstrated record of conservative extremism” and that she had “consistently rejected civil rights and public interest claims.”
They pointed to the case of People v. Vigil, in which police allegedly got a man to confess after they beat him brutally. The court ruled that this evidence could not be used. Eid was the only dissenting opinion.
In the case of People v. Ramodon, a police officer told the plaintiff that he would be deported to Iraq if he did not confess. The court later ruled that Ramodon’s confession had to be thrown out because it was obtained under duress. Eid was the only judge who dissented.
The group Alliance for Justice has also criticized Eid for “turning a blind eye” to police misconduct. AFJ said, “like her former boss, Justice Clarence Thomas, Eid repeatedly turns a blind eye to police misconduct, narrowing critical constitutional protections for those accused of committing crimes. ”
4. Eid is Accused of Being Too Close to Big Corporations and Energy Companies
Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke out against Eid’s nomination to the 10 Circuit Court of Appeals, saying that Eid “has used her power as a state Supreme Court Justice to shield corporations from accountability. She has voted to make it harder for individuals to bring class action lawsuits against huge corporations that break the law.”
The League of Conservation Voters, which scrutinizes public officials’ behavior on environmental issues, says that Eid has a terrible record when it comes to environmental and public health laws. They note that she has a record of siding with oil companies to make it easy for them to obtain drilling permits.
The group warned that, “if Eid is confirmed to serve a lifetime appointment on the federal bench, it could prove disastrous for environmental laws and regulations.”
The organization Alliance for Justice also blasted Eid’s environmental record. The group pointed to Eid’s decision in the case of Larson v. Sinclair Transp. Co. In that case, Eid dissented from the majority and ruled that the oil company in the case could use “eminent domain” to build a gasoline pipeline.
Alliance for Justice pointed out that Eid has also opposed letting groups use eminent domain to build public parks on otherwise unused or condemned land.
5. The Native American Bar Association Supports Eid
When Eid was being considered for a spot on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Native American Bar Association published an open letter supporting her. The letter noted that “Justice Eid has demonstrated deep understanding of federal Indian law and policy matters, as well as significant respect for tribes as governments.”
The association praised Eid’s decision in the case of Pawnee Well Users v. Wolfe, a water rights case, and in the Indian Child Welfare Act. The group also praised Eid for her support of tribal rights to operate casinos.
Eid’s husband, Troy, specializes in Federal Indian law and Native American and Alaska Native tribal law.