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While media obsesses over Russia, Trump continues reshaping federal judiciary

While media obsesses over Russia, Trump continues reshaping federal judiciary

Trump rolls out Sixth Round of conservative nominees, but showdown nears as Democrats stall confirmations

For several months we have been highlighting the unique opportunity presented to Donald Trump to reshape the federal judiciary.

That opportunity has largely been lost in a liberal media trying to take down Trump over Russia, Russia, Russia, as I previously wrote, While you were focused on COMEY, Trump nominated another group of CONSERVATIVE Judges:

While everyone was focused on Comey’s prepared statement, Trump went about his business filling vacancies in the federal judiciary.

I wrote about this a month ago, Trump begins counter-packing federal courts, Dems can’t stop him thanks to Reid Rule:

As we have pointed out repeatedly, Trump has an unprecedented opportunity to nominate a substantial percentage of the federal judiciary.

There are currently over 100 vacancies, and many more are likely to open up, Liberal nightmare: Trump could appoint half federal judiciary. Yet Democrats, so blinded by the light of #TheResistance, appeared oblivious to the approaching Tsunami of Trump lower court nominations.

Month after month Trump rolls out 10 nominees. Last night was round six, via The Washington Times:

President Trump announced Thursday night his intention to appoint a new round of 10 federal judges, the sixth group of judicial nominees since he took office, and five more federal prosecutors.

The president is tapping attorney Michael B. Brennan of Wisconsin to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a seat that has been vacant since 2010, longest in the appellate system. Mr. Brennan served for nine years as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Mr. Trump also is nominating attorney L. Steven Grasz of Nebraska to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Mr. Grasz spent more than eleven years as Nebraska’s chief deputy attorney general.

The other judicial nominees are attorney Donald C. Coggins, Jr., for the District Court of South Carolina; Louisiana state Judge Terry A. Doughty to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana; attorney Michael J. Juneau of Louisiana to serve as a district judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana; attorney A. Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr., for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina; Assistant U.S. Attorney Holly Lou Teeter of Kansas for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas; federal magistrate Judge Robert E. Wier of Kentucky for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky; attorney Elizabeth Ann Copeland of Texas to serve as a judge on the U.S. Tax Court; and Justice Department attorney Patrick J. Urda of Indiana for the U.S. Tax Court.

Those Circuit court nominations are so critical. If you don’t believe that, just consider what happened in the 4th and 9th Circuits with regard to the Travel Order litigation.

What’s particularly important is that as to Brennan for the 7th Circuit, Trump didn’t wait for a Wisconsin judicial commission to rule. Trump isn’t required to do so, anymore than he is required to wait for “blue slips” from Senators to move forward. Those and other non-binding traditions have been used by Democrats to slow down the process.

Wisconsin News 3 reports:

Sen. Tammy Baldwin says a bipartisan Wisconsin commission that signs off on federal nominees never approved a Milwaukee attorney that President Donald Trump has picked to fill a federal appellate court vacancy.

Trump announced Friday that he had chosen Michael Brennan to fill a vacancy on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The slot has been open since 2010. The seat is designated for a judge from Wisconsin.

Potential federal appointees from Wisconsin typically get vetted by the bipartisan Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission.

Baldwin’s office said the commission did not recommend Brennan as the nominee. Baldwin said in a statement that she’s troubled Trump has taken a partisan approach that disrespects Wisconsin’s process.

This is consistent with what we reported in June, that the Chuck Grassley was prepared to force nominees through the Judiciary Committee due to Democrat stalling tactics. But he has to move more quickly given Democrat determination to slow things down.

US News reports on those stalling tactics:

The GOP’s well-laid plans to move the federal courts to the right, however, has been ambushed by the Democrats’ counterattack.

Using the political equivalent of guerrilla warfare – insisting on following arcane legislative rules, withholding approval of home-state nominees and generally throwing sand in the Senate machinery – the minority party has ground Republicans’ judicial agenda to a halt. Those tactics have kept Trump and his Senate allies from addressing a judicial system with so many vacancies that legal experts on both sides have called it a crisis.

“We have the Democrats playing politics and putting up huge roadblocks to confirmation,” says Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network. “They’re attempting to use every procedural tactic that they can to block [Trump’s] judges.”

Trump’s consistent pace at nominating conservative judges still has not caught on with the liberal media, which is too focused on Russia, Russia, Russia.

James Warren at Poynter.org laments that lack of media attention, The biggest political story most journalists are missing:

Donald Trump’s mercurial, chaotic ways are the overriding narrative of his early White House days. But most of the press misses his discipline in one crucial area: filling vacancies on federal courts.

He may be lax in filling many administrative posts, but it’s just not true with the courts….

As Allan Smith of Business Insider makes clear, “When it comes to nominating judges to the federal bench, Trump is moving at a breakneck pace. And the number of nominees for vacant U.S. attorney positions, a crucial area, is dwarfing” that of Barack Obama, at least at this stage.

If these picks could be the ultimate Trump legacy, consider that “through July 14, roughly a week shy of Trump’s six-month anniversary in office, he had nominated 18 people for district judgeship vacancies, 14 for circuit courts and the Court of Federal Claims, and 23 for US attorney slots. During that same timeframe in Obama’s first term, Obama had nominated just four district judges, five appeals court judges, and 13 U.S. attorneys. In total, Trump nominated 55 people, and Obama just 22.”

In The New Yorker, Jeffery Toobin cites the nomination of Kevin Newsom for the Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering cases in Georgia, Alabama and Florida) as prototypical: he’s got “excellent formal qualifications, including a degree from Harvard Law School, a Supreme Court clerkship, and a stint as the solicitor general of Alabama, where he excelled at defending the state’s imposition of capital punishment against legal challenges.”

And, importantly, he is young — just 45 — and a political conservative who’s been a member of the right-leaning Federalist Society….

In so many ways, Trump is short-sighted and haphazard. But not in all. It’s a story most are totally missing.

There have not yet been as many confirmations as I would have hoped, but with Grassley signaling that the days of playing nice on nominations are over, hopefully the pace will pick up. Indeed, Grassley has stated that when it comes to Judiciary Committee scheduling, judicial nominees come first.

You can see a list of all judicial vacancies here. The list of pending nominees is here.

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Comments

casualobserver | August 5, 2017 at 9:35 am

Agree about the contrasts in Trump’s behavior, chaotic and rash in some ways, and methodical and determined in others. His patience with Congress and the ineffective DC protocols everyone seems to want to maintain are causing him to be more frustrated. So more intemperate actions may come.

But with all due respect I get really tired of hearing that a Harvard or Yale background is a significant plus for elected and appointed roles in DC. So far, perhaps we should assign that background to much that is wrong and dysfunctional. I’d like to see even more from state law schools, for starters.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to casualobserver. | August 7, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    RE: ” the contrasts in Trump’s behavior” – make for some great distraction of the Leftists, and great cover, no?

So sick of ‘The Process’. We have 52 Senators plus the Vice President. Don’t we control The Process or is Mitch hiding behind it?

    clintack in reply to rdmdawg. | August 5, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Who’s “we”?

    Yes, 52 senators control the process. But how many senators would vote to violate the “blue slip” gentleman’s agreement of the Senate? As time goes on, more and more Republican senators are losing their patience with the Democrats. But we need to be almost unanimous to actually change the process — and “we” are not unanimous. That’s the price of the Big Tent that gives us our majority.

    However, the 72 confirmations at the very end of the extended session this week gives me some hope. The GOP is slowly pushing back more and more.

I can only hope these nominees are, in fact, conservative.

So many of T-rump’s appointments are decidedly NOT.

McMaster, who I was giving the benefit of several doubts, is showing a very disturbing mind-set.

    rdmdawg in reply to Ragspierre. | August 5, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Not to split hairs, I’m going to go ahead and split hairs. There is a big difference between administrative picks and judicial picks. Have you seen any problems yet with any of Trumps judicial picks? I havn’t. Does Gorsuch meet your standards?

      Ragspierre in reply to rdmdawg. | August 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Gorshuch…so far…is swell.

      What do you know about any of these judicial nominees? If you know their conservative creds, share them. I’ve admitted I don’t know anything about any of them. What does T-rump “know” about them, and from what source(s)?

      What’s the “big difference” between administrative picks and judicial picks? ‘Cause I ain’t seeing that “big difference”.

      Do the POUTUS’s picks of people closest to him fill you with confidence in his “conservatism” or his judgment?

      Is McMaster someone you give your endorsement to?

        clintack in reply to Ragspierre. | August 5, 2017 at 11:06 am

        You’re listening too much to the MSM talking points.

        Last month, Jeff Sessions, fresh off being a secret White Supremacist, was now a GOPe-plant and part of the anti-Trump slow coup. Do you remember?

        This month, it’s McMaster in the media crosshairs.

        Next month maybe they’ll try to fire up the racism that they just know lurks in our tiny little conservative hearts with effusive praise for how Ben Carson is undercutting the whole of the Trump agenda.

        McMaster serves at the pleasure of the President. Trump can fire him and replace him without any Senate consultation or process. He hasn’t. So I take the anonymously-sourced stories that McMaster is openly sabotaging the President’s policies to be nothing but rumors.

          randian in reply to clintack. | August 5, 2017 at 2:18 pm

          If it’s true McMaster extended Loretta Lynch’s security clearance then he is openly sabotaging the President.

          Ragspierre in reply to clintack. | August 5, 2017 at 9:30 pm

          No, the idea that I listen too much to MSM talking points is simply false. I listen to many of them not at all, or just in passing.

          What I DO listen to are the FACTS that McMaster DID renew Lynch’s clearance, that he seems openly against Israel and in favor of the “Palestinians”, etc.

          Milhouse in reply to clintack. | August 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

          You mean Rice, and renewing her clearance isn’t necessarily a story, because it’s routine to renew the clearances of all former cabinet-level people unless there’s a good reason not to.

          In Rice’s case the good reason would be if she really did abuse her position to unmask US people for the purpose of having someone else leak their names, but as Andrew McCarthy pointed out if there’s really a scandal there Trump could easily confirm it by releasing all the information, so the fact that he doesn’t may indicate that there’s no substance to it.

        Barry in reply to Ragspierre. | August 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        The professor provided a list. Look em up.

        Or maybe your desire is just to bitch.

          Ragspierre in reply to Barry. | August 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm

          You confuse asking rational questions with “bitching”.

          This is because you are no longer rational.

          Barry in reply to Barry. | August 6, 2017 at 10:28 pm

          If you wanted an answer to “rational questions” you would look them up for yourself.

          The professor provided commentary. If you disagree with it, then tell us who are the lefty appointments, or just bitch.

          I suspect you know the truth. You just don’t like it since it goes against your prog version of events.

    casualobserver in reply to Ragspierre. | August 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    My first reaction to you question is to wonder if you were expecting some kind of Vulcan mind-read to determine what was in the hearts and minds of the nominees. I have yet to see any conservative outlet or watchdog criticize them. And trusted minds (to me) like Eugene Volokh and his surrogate Jonathan Adler have been heaping high praise on every round of nominations.

    But thinking about it further, many GOP presidents have been burned, especially at the SCOTUS level. So it seems fair to play the wait-and-see game. Funny how Dem presidents choosing liberal appointees and nominees rarely get burned. A lot more cohesion I guess on “that side.”

      Ragspierre in reply to casualobserver. | August 5, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      And yet Barracula was bench-slapped more times by the Supremes…often unanimously…than (I believe) any POTUS in history.

      So there is that…

        Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | August 6, 2017 at 10:27 am

        That’s because he defied the constitution more often and more brazenly than any other POTUS.

        Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | August 6, 2017 at 11:19 pm

        And yet, logically, according to some here “…the rule of law is dead”, so that can’t be it.

        Can it?

        And, also according to some here, the left is one cohesive tribe of “evil”. So that can’t be.

        Can it?

        And, according to some here, asking questions is a “prog” thing. That can’t be.

        Because “progs” don’t question much. Neither do T-rump sucking cultists.

        In fact, they try to suppress questions and critical thinking. Which is very “prog”.

Just a spectator here. When Trump maneuvered the MSM into demanding Comey’s firing, Trump fired him. When he badmouthed Sessions, the MSM defended Sessions. Just before Sessions announced he would subpoena members of the press.

So he has accused Mueller of conducting a witch hunt, and the MSM responds by saying he should be impeached if he fires Mueller.

Is there a pattern here? Is McMasters part of that pattern?

In general, it’s been the GOP establishment’s foot-dragging that’s slowed down the appointment process. They refuse to end the Democrats’ stalling tactics, and rely on some sense of institutional comity that hasn’t existed in a decade.

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