Judicial nominees

Grounds for optimism on the confirmation front? I’m not convinced

Featured image Some of us have been clamoring for Mitch McConnell to take special measures to break the logjam on Senate confirmation of Trump nominees for the judiciary and key sub-cabinet positions. One such measure would be to limit the number of hours nominees can be debated on the Senate floor, as the Senate agreed to do when Obama nominees were waiting their turn. Another would be to have the Senate work »

Dave Begley: At the Grasz investiture [updated]

Featured image Our occasional correspondent David D. Begley reports on the investiture of Steven Grasz to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. Dave is himself an Omaha attorney. Dave’s report on the investiture of Judge Grasz takes up many of the threads we have followed over the past year and adds Dave’s own insightful analysis. Dave writes: For many conservatives the presidency of Donald Trump has been about winning the battles we »

Schumer voted no on judicial nominee because he is white

Featured image Chuck Schumer today voted against the confirmation of Marvin Quattlebaum for a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. His reason? Quattlebaum is white. Schumer explained: The nomination of Marvin Quattlebaum speaks to the overall lack of diversity in President Trump’s selections for the federal judiciary. Quattlebaum replaces not one, but two scuttled Obama nominees who were African American. Actually, Quattlebaum replaces Judge Cameron McGowan »

David Stras confirmed to Eighth Circuit

Featured image Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras had essentially the entire Minnesota professional community supporting his nomination by President Trump to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Thanks to Al Franken, however, the nomination sat in limbo for six months. Mistah Franken–he dead. He revealed his true jerkhood in the matter of Justice Stras. The single blue slip veto applicable to federal appellate court nominees was interred with his bones. Today »

With Alex Acosta history repeats itself

Featured image Bloomberg reports that Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta is “keeping a low profile in this first year in office, possibly because he has his eye on another job.” “Low profile” means keeping Barack Obama’s left-wing program in place. “Another job” means a high-level federal judgeship. “Possibly” means certainly. Here’s how Bloomberg’s Ben Penn puts it: There is widespread discussion that Acosta, a former United States Attorney and law school dean, »

Judicial confirmation hearings, then and now

Featured image John wrote today about Matthew Petersen, President Trump’s nominee for a federal district judgeship. Petersen is a substantial guy, as John shows, and he was rated “qualified” to serve as district court judge by the American Bar Association. My strong preference, though, is for district court judges with a fair amount of experience litigating. I would not have wanted to have try a case before a judge who had little »

Is Ridicule of Federal Judge Nominee Justified?

Featured image The Democrats are trying to embarrass President Trump with a video of one of his nominees answering questions in a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The video was tweeted by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and has now been viewed millions of times. You can watch it here, along with an account by the Associated Press: A lawyer nominated by President Donald Trump to be a federal judge has become »

Grasz set to be confirmed [UPDATED]

Featured image Steve Grasz is President Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He’s well qualified for that position, having served for more than a decade as Chief Deputy Attorney General in the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office and having worked for the past 15 years as a litigator with a top Omaha law firm. I discussed his credentials as an appellate and Supreme Court advocate here. However, »

The new Al Franken, Part Three

Featured image Paul gave a good account (here and here) of the November 29 Senate Judiciary Committee on the nominations of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit and Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit. I want only to add a few personal notes along with the video of the hearing below. I am a fan and admirer of Justice Stras. He will make a great contribution to the »

The new Al Franken, Part Two

Featured image In addition to questioning Alex Azar during the confirmation hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee yesterday, Al Franken made it to the Judiciary Committee to question court of appeals nominees David Stras and Kyle Duncan. The new Al Franken was on display in that proceeding too. From the old Al Franken, one would have expected fireworks. After all, Franken held up Stras’ nomination for months by »

Kyle Duncan addresses Sen. Kennedy’s concern [UPDATED: Kennedy is a “yes”]

Featured image Kyle Duncan, President Trump’s nominee for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday (along with Justice David Stras, a nominee for the Eighth Circuit about whom more in another post). I watched a portion of the proceedings and found both nominees to be excellent. You can watch here and judge for yourself. Sen. John Kennedy of Duncan’s home state of Louisiana has been critical »

David Stras and Kyle Duncan finally get their hearing

Featured image As I write this post, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the nominations of David Stras and Kyle Duncan to, respectively, the Eighth Circuit and the Fifth Circuit court of appeals. Sen. Amy Klobuchar just finished a gracious introduction of Judge Stras, notwithstanding their ideological differences. You can watch the proceedings on the Committee’s website. Stras and Duncan are the two nominees held up by the refusal »

Senate confirms Greg Katsas

Featured image When President Trump nominated Greg Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, I called the pick a home run. But before circling the bases, you have to get to first. Katsas got to first base yesterday when the Senate confirmed him by a 50-48 vote. The tally suggests the usual (these days) straight party line vote. In fact, however, two Senators broke ranks — one »

Feel Good Headline of the Day

Featured image From the most unlikely of places—The Guardian. Savor this one for all of its yummy schadenfreude: Trump’s judicial picks: ‘The goal is to end the progressive state’ . . .  The makeup of America’s judges is quietly becoming the site of one of Trump’s most unequivocal successes: nominating and installing judges who reflect his own worldview at a speed and volume unseen in recent memory. Trump could conceivably have handpicked »

On blue slips, Grassley pulls the trigger

Featured image Yesterday was a bad day for Al Franken. In the morning Leeann Tweeden posted the photograph of the sexual assault committed by Franken on her along with the compelling first-person account of her mistreatment by Franken. That was a shot heard round the world. Then in the afternoon Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he would not let Franken’s withheld blue slip block the nomination of Minnesota Supreme »

Willett’s defense

Featured image Senator Patrick Leahy is the Democratic former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He remains a member of the committee. He must be one of the Senate’s unfunniest senators and most partisan hacks. Vice President Cheney spoke for a lot of us with his imprecation to Leahy back in 2004. Serving on the Judiciary Committee with Minnesota’s own Al Franken, however, has probably dimmed Leahy’s bulb in all departments. Leahy »

The blue slip variations: Grassley speaks

Featured image On early Monday morning I wrote about the November 2 memorandum to news media disseminated by the Senate Judiciary Committee Majority. I wrote that the memo would probably not have been disseminated without Senator Grassley’s blessing as chairman of the Judiciary Committee and that the memo read like a backgrounder for reporters explaining a course of action that is about to be taken (and should be). Later that day Senator »