Who Is Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle

by Michael Abdoney - 05/05/2022 -Tampa

Tampa U.S. District judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle caused a nationwide public uproar after her Monday ruling that no longer requires travelers to wear masks. The decision became a political issue, with some commentators praising the decision and others criticizing it.

This decision also caused the controversies around her appointment in 2020 to resurface on social media. Kathryn was only 33 when she was appointed to the position in the Middle District of Florida, including the Tampa Bay area.

Before the appointment, she only had eight years of experience as a lawyer, which is one of the main reasons why the controversies rose. Judicial nominees usually have more experience, which led people to question her qualifications and ability to perform duties under the position.

The complexity and sweep of her 59-page opinion were also a subject of interest, with the legal observers noticing how thorough it was.

A University of Richmond School of Law professor studying judicial selection says that while she might have been a heroine before the appointment, she has a long way to go. He says that people build judicial reputations over lifetimes, and her little experience fades compared to other people in the field.

Things to Know About Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle was born in 1987 in Lakeland, Polk County. She attended Lakeland Christin School, graduated in 2005, joined Covenant College in Georgia, and graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree.

She later joined the University of Florida, where she got her law degree in 2012. Kathryn Kimball Mizelle earned both her degrees summa cum laude.

Before she was appointed district judge, she was not a well-known name in the Tampa legal community. However, she has had notable career highlights like being a clerk in the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clearance Thomas for a year.

She also served as the clerk in the Atlanta-based US Court of Appeals for U.S. District Judge William H. Pryor Jr. and Tampa Judge James S. Moody.

In 2014, she got a position as a federal prosecutor and worked in Washington DC and Virginia. From 2017-2018, she served as the counsel to the associate A.G. After that, she worked in the U.S. Court of Appeal, where she clerked for Gregory G. Katsas for the D.C. Circuit, then moved to clerk for Thomas.

Before being nominated to the federal bench, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle worked in a Washington DC-based international law firm, Jonas Day, as an associate attorney.

She is also in the Federalist Society, whose members read and interpret the constitution how it was meant for people to understand when it was initially written. They also advocate the theory that people should interpret the law based on plain text meaning instead of other things such as the legislative intent.

Controversies Surrounding Her Nomination

Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle was nominated to the federal bench by President Trump in 2020. However, an American Bar association committee wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee a letter saying she is not qualified.

One of the things they highlighted was her eight years’ experience, saying that federal judicial nominees must have 12-year's experience or more.

The association chairman said that she is an intellectual with a good resume and strong work ethic. He also added that they do not question her demeanor and intelligence. Although she has many people supporting her judicial nomination, he said that her good qualities don't make up for her little experience in practicing law and lack of significant trial experience.