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Ten Federal Court Nominees

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Debra Cassens Weiss reports for the ABA Journal:

President Donald Trump nominated 10 lawyers Monday for federal judgeships, including two state judges from his list of 21 potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
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The two judges from the Supreme Court list are Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, nominated to the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court, nominated to the St. Louis-based 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Larsen is a former University of Michigan law professor and a former law clerk to late Justice Antonin Scalia. Stras is a former University of Minnesota law professor and a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas.

The nomination of another judge from the Supreme Court list, U.S. District Judge Amul Thapar of Kentucky, is pending. He has been nominated to the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His is the only other nomination to the lower federal courts so far.

Other nominees are:
• Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, nominated to the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Barrett is a former Scalia law clerk.

• John Bush, a Louisville, Kentucky-based lawyer, nominated to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush is a co-chair of the litigation department at Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

• Kevin Newsom, a Birmingham, Alabama-based lawyer, nominated to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Newsom is a former Alabama solicitor general and former clerk to Justice Scalia.* He is a partner at Bradley Arant Boult.

• Dabney Friedrich, nominated to the federal court in Washington, D.C. Friedrich is a former member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

• U.S. Magistrate Judge Terry Moorer, nominated to the federal court in the Middle District of Alabama.

• David Nye, an Idaho state judge, nominated to the federal court in Idaho. Nye had been nominated by President Barack Obama but didn't receive a vote in the full Senate.

•Scott Palk, an assistant law dean at the University of Oklahoma, nominated to the federal court in the Western District of Oklahoma.

• Damien Schiff, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, nominated to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

*  That is an error.  He actually clerked for Justice Souter, but I wouldn't hold that against him.

5 Comments

"I wouldn't hold that against him"

You continue to be a more generous man than I.

P.S. The Scalia clerks had their annual reunion at the Supreme Court Friday night, at which Justice Gorsuch gave very gracious remarks. I had a chance to meet and talk with him a bit.

Take this for what you will, but he looks and sounds a good deal like my old buddy from the US Attorney's Office, Jim Comey.


"• David Nye, an Idaho state judge, nominated to the federal court in Idaho. Nye had been nominated by President Barack Obama but didn't receive a vote in the full Senate."

This is an olive branch.

Michigan's senators are both democrats. Does that bode for a delay or even a fight over return of blue slips on the Larsen nomination, do you think?

Good question. It would be politically problematic for the senators to obstruct the nomination of a well-regarded woman law professor from their state, one who is already on the state supreme court. When we encountered this problem in White House Counsel's Office, we made sure the senators were aware that the seat could be moved to politically friendlier state in the same circuit if they wanted to fight about it. It has also happened that deals have been made, and indeed this happened once before in Michigan. That's how Helene White got on the Sixth Circuit during the Bush Administration.

Thanks. Here's hoping they use good judgment and don't hang the nomination up over the blue slips. I think Grassley has indicated an intent to honor the blue slip procedure---unless it is abused.

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