By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, February 11, President Barack H. Obama (D) nominated US District Judge Abdul Kallon to fill a vacancy on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
US Representative Terri Sewell (D-Selma) announced her support for the nomination. Rep. Sewell said in a statement, “I enthusiastically express my support of President Obama nomination of Judge Kallon today to the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit! This historic nomination could appoint the first African American from Alabama to this appellate bench.”
Judge Kallon is an immigrant from Sierra Leone who previously worked for the Birmingham based law firm of Bradley, Arant, Boult, & Cummings. President Obama appointed him to the US District Court over Alabama’s Northern District in 2009.
President Obama said in a statement, “Judge Kallon has a long and impressive record of service and a history of handing down fair and judicious decisions. He will be a thoughtful and distinguished addition to the Eleventh Circuit, and I am extremely pleased to put him forward.”
If confirmed he would be the first Black from Alabama to ever serve on the Eleventh Circuit.
Judge Kallon came to the United States in 1980 when he was eleven years old. He received a degree from Dartmouth College in 1990 and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1993. Following graduation he clerked for US District Judge for North Alabama U.W. Clemon. From 1994 to 2009 he worked for Bradley, Arant, Boult & Cummings working his way up from associate to partner in 2001.
According to his bio at theIslamicworkplace.com Kallon at the time of his 2009 appointment was: “Listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.” He represented employers on labor and employment issues and provided legal assistance during affirmative action compliance proceedings. Abdul routinely represented employers in federal and state courts and administrative agencies in a number of areas including defending against allegations: of discrimination (race, gender, age and disability), sexual and racial harassment, FMLA compliance and wrongful terminations. Kallon maintained an extensive practice in affirmative action compliance and represented employers in OFCCP compliance reviews and administrative enforcement actions. He has assisted them with the preparation of their affirmative action programs and provided them advice on how to comply with Executive Order 11246.
Abdul Kallon was the President of the Board of Directors of Children’s Village, Vice-Chairperson of the Sister Cities of Birmingham, and served on the Board of Directors of Girls Inc., the Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education, and the Bethel Baptist Historic Community Restoration Fund. Abdul is the past president of the Legal Aid Society of Birmingham Board of Trustees, a former big brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as a former member of the Board of Directors. Kallon was a member of the Alabama Bar Association, the Birmingham Bar Association, and the Magic City Bar Association on which he was President in 2002.
The challenge for Judge Kallon will be getting the support of U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R) and Jeff Sessions (R). With Republicans in control of the Senate, it would be possible for them to hold up the appointment for the next 11 months to let the next President (possibly a Republican) fill the vacancy on the powerful federal appeals court, which hears federal appeals from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
Congresswoman Sewell said, “What an awesome nomination! So excited by President Obama nominated Judge Kallon for the US Court Of Appeals. Judge Kallon has the integrity, keen legal acumen, and judicial temperament to make him a highly qualified appellate jurist! Our Senators should support his confirmation as they did in his 2009 appointment to the federal bench!”