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Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Susan Collins urges that the Senate move expeditiously to a vote on the nomination of William Kayatta to be a Circuit Judge on the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals.  In the letter, Senator Collins emphasizes the urgency of filling the vacancy on the First Circuit bench as well as Mr. Kayatta’s indisputable qualifications to do so:

“The First Circuit bench is small – it has only six active judges – so any single vacancy hits it disproportionately hard.  It now has the highest vacancy rate of any Circuit in the country,” Senator Collins writes. 

“Bill has a stellar record, the highest ABA rating, the full support of Maine’s Republican Senate delegation, and was reported by the Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan voice vote.  There should be no reason to delay a Senate vote on his nomination any further.”

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Mr. Kayatta’s nomination with broad bipartisan support in April 2012, but the full Senate has since failed to move toward consideration of the nomination.

A resident of Cape Elizabeth, Mr. Kayatta graduated magna cum laude from both Amherst College and Harvard University, where he served as a member of the school’s law review.  After he graduated from law school, he clerked for the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, Frank Coffin. 

In 1980, he joined the firm of Pierce Atwood in Portland, Maine, where for over the 32 years he specialized in complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. 

He has served as Chairman of both the Maine Professional Ethics Commission and the Maine Board of Bar Examiners, and as President of the Maine Bar Foundation.

In 2002, Mr. Kayatta was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, and in 2010 he was elected by his peers to the College’s Board of Regents. 

He has simultaneously maintained a very substantial pro bono practice.  In 2010,
he received the Maine Bar Foundation’s Howard H. Dana Award for career-long pro bono service on behalf of low-income Mainers.

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court appointed him a Special Master in Kansas v. Nebraska and Colorado, an original water rights case – an indicator of the Court’s confidence in his legal abilities. 

Mr. Kayatta has earned the American Bar Association's highest rating – “unanimously
well-qualified” –reflecting the ABA's assessment of his credentials, experience, and temperament.