Trumps lower court appointments

Dame_Enda

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Trump inherits more than 100 vacancies on the lower courts. Just 80 cases reach the SC each year, compared to tens of thousands to Federal district and appeals courts. This thread is to debate the process and appointments. So far only Amul Thapar has been nominated to the 6th District court of appeals.

On Monday Trump is expected to nominate 10 lower court judges. Presently the district courts are 51% Democrat, 34% Republican and 14% vacant. Justice Joan L. Karen of Michigan and Justice David R. Stars of Minnesota are expected to be nominated to 2 federal circuit court positions. Michigan Supreme Court Judge Joan Larsen is expected to be nominated to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Trump to announce nomination of conservative federal court nominees: report | TheHill

Politico.com said:
.....Two of the nominees who will be unveiled Monday were on the list of Trump’s potential Supreme Court justices and will likely come under scrutiny by Democrats because of that inclusion: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, who will be nominated to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Justice David Stras, who sits on the Minnesota Supreme Court and is Trump’s pick to sit on the 8th Circuit.

Trump will name three other nominees to the appellate courts: Amy Coney Barrett to the 7th Circuit, John Bush to the Sixth Circuit and Kevin Newsom to the 11th Circuit. The president also plans to name four federal District Court nominees: Dabney Friedrich in the District of Columbia, Terry Moorer in Alabama, David Nye in Idaho and Scott Palk in Oklahoma, as well as Damien Schiff to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims........
Problem with Karen, Larsen and Stars is they represent two states with 4 Democratic Senators. The blue slip rules gives one Senator a veto on getting the nomination past Committee. However the blue slip rule is not the law or officially part of the Senate rules. If Sen Grassley wants, he can waive the rule but he has said he won't, though he has left the door slightly ajar by saying there are always exceptions. Presently, 9 of the 11 Circuit Appeals courts have Dem appointed majorities.

To get around the blue slip rule, Trump could do recess appointments when the Senate is next in recess, but such appointments would only last until the following recess. Also the SC recently ruled that the President cant recess appoint someone who was already the nominee before the recess (strange combo of Alito and Ginsburg dissented).
 
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Dame_Enda

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Minnesota Senator Franken (D) objecting to process of Judge Stras nomination to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (which has a 13-2 Republican majority). Illinois Sen Durbin (D) said the Dems will use the blue-slip rule (an unofficial veto Senators have over district judges from their state) while it exists.

....In a statement, Franken said he was “concerned” Stras’ nomination was "the product of a process that relied heavily on guidance from far-right Washington, D.C.-based special interest groups — rather than through a committee made up of a cross section of Minnesota’s legal community." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Trump of “continuing to outsource the judicial selection process to hard-right special interest groups” rather than consulting with senators. Democrats have long been critical that Trump's Supreme Court short list was crafted with input from the conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society.......
On the other hand, Franken praised Stras himself:

Star Tribune said:
.....U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats and both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Monday that they looked forward to meeting with Stras and reviewing his record. But while Franken called Stras "a committed public servant whose tenure as a professor ... underscores how much he cares about the law," he criticized the White House selection process.....
Also, Joan Larsen has been nominated to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. Shes currently on the Michigan Supreme Court, which means Michigan Dem Senators Stabenow and Peters can use blue slips to block her.
 
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Dame_Enda

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The current makeup of the Circuit Courts of Appeal are as follows. As of 2014 Democratic appointees are the majority. The blue slip rule - which 11 Republican Senators yesterday reiterated support for, will make it very difficult for Trump to get move leftwing courts to the Right as Dem Senators can individually veto judges they dont like from their state. Also a lot of the coastal circuits where immigration is important (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 11th) have very large Dem majorities because of the blue slip rule. Best hope for shifting balance on those courts is that more judges will take "senior status", meaning they become part time and trigger vacancies that way.



 
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Dame_Enda

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One of Trumps nominees for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, John Bush, criticised the Sullvan case that reduced protections in defamation cases for public figures. As hes from Kentucky which has 2 GOP Senators, hes likely to be confirmed. The big problem will be getting Joan Larsen confirmed to the 6th Circuit and David Stras confirmed in the 8th Circuit as all its Senators in Michigan and Minnesota are Democrats and can use the blue slip rule to block them unless Grassley decides to ditch the rule which is unlikely. Larsen is highly respected and clerked for Scalia. 35 lawyers are supporting her so far. Trump has also nominated Amul Thapar to the 6th Circuit. Both Circuits are already Republican.

Liberal group: Trump 6th Circuit nominee 'incredibly troubling' | TheHill
 
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Dame_Enda

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Amul Thapar yesterday passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 11-8. Next goes to Senate floor. Will sit on the 6th Circuit which represents N/S Ohio, E/W Kentucky, E/W/M Tennessee, and E/W Michigan. The 6th Circuit has a 9-5 GOP majority of active judges, though when those semi retired (Senior status) are included its 15-9. So when hes appointed it will be 10-5/16-9 - and thats before John Bush and Joan Larsen gets confirmed too. Bush shouldnt be a problem as both Senators in Kentucky are GOP, but Larsen will be a tough confirmation as both Michigan Senators are Democrats.

Amul Thapar, Donald Trump's first circuit judge nominee, advances to Senate for confirmation - Washington Times
 
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Dame_Enda

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Trump nominee for the 6th Circuit, John K Bush, blogged under a pseudonym 400 times, including calling Ted Cruz "a sore loser".
https://www.buzzfeed.com/zoetillman/one-of-trumps-judicial-nominees-blogged-under-a-pen-name?utm_term=.pa0ga6eW0#.leAaWN4ep


.....Bush wrote about his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which is still the subject of litigation, and in September he called for it to be repealed and replaced. He’s expressed opposition to public financing of political campaigns, called the idea of trying terrorists in civilian courts “bone-headed,” and wrote in 2008 that the “two greatest tragedies in our country” were slavery and abortion.

There are also some off-color remarks. Bush, as G. Morris, live-blogged the Republican convention last year, and in a July 17 post noted that there was a protest by naked women.

“You know Trump is onto something huge when he causes people to shed their underwear,” Bush wrote, a few months before the Washington Post released the now-infamous tape from 2005 in which Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women.

Bush also wrote that, “The Democrats are trying to win with the same game plan as in 2008, only substitute woman for Black.”

Bush did not return a request for comment on Friday. The White House and Cruz’s office also did not immediately respond to questions about Bush’s blogging.........
NB: I reject Buzzfeeds definition of the tape as "Trump bragged about assaulting women". I regard it as bragging about consensual conquests.
 

Dame_Enda

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Big news today. GOP looking at watering down the aforementioned "Blue Slip Rule" so it only applies to district but not Circuit Courts. Sen Orrin Hatch (Utah-R) opposed. If the rule goes, Trump will be able to put 4 conservatives on the controversial 9th circuit with 51 votes, reducing its liberal majority to 18-11, and fill the other 16 vacancies on Circuit Courts.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/334296-gop-talks-of-narrowing-blue-slip-rule-for-judges

.....Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Judiciary Committeee, told The Hill this week there are exceptions to the rule.

“It’s going to continue to be around, but there are exceptions and don’t forget there’s different standards,” he said.

“It’s very much more dispositive in the case of judges at the district court level. At the circuit court level, it’s considered the White House under both Republican and Democrat administrations that tend to have more choice, more leeway, so I suppose that’s where you’d find more exceptions to the blue-slip rule.”.......
 
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Dame_Enda

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GOP defeats attempted Dem fillibuster of Amul Thapar 52-48 a few hours ago for 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Confirmation vote due Thursday.

Amul Thapar, Trump's circuit court nominee, advances over Democrats' attempted filibuster - Washington Times

Turns out one of Trumps nominees for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kevin Newsom , clerked for David Souter, who was a George HW Bush nominee to the SC who then voted with the liberals on issues like LGBT rights and abortion. Also Trump is re-nominating Obama nominee David Nye for a federal judgeship in Idaho.
 
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Dame_Enda

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Today Trump nominated another 11 district and appeals court judges. Judge Allison Eid nominated for Gorsuchs old seat on the 10th Circuit court of appeals. Stephanos Bibas nominated to 3rd Circuit and Ralph Erickson to the 8th Circuit.

Trump's other nominations Wednesday included Michael Allen, Amanda Meredith and Joseph Toth to be judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; Dabney Friederich, Timothy Kelly and Trevor McFadden to be district judges on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; Stephen Schwartz to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and Claria Horn Boom to be a district judge on the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky.
Trump nominates new round of federal and district judges | TheHill

Sen Bennett hasn't said whether he will use the blue slip rule to try to block the appointment as she comes from his state and sits on its SC, but GOP talking about possibly only allowing the bsr for district not Circuit courts. This could also be a problem for Bibas on the 3rd Circuit as Pennsylvania has on Dem Senator and one GOP.

During her tenure on the Colorado Supreme Court, Eid has staked out positions on the conservative side of the judicial and political spectrum.

She dissented, in part, when the state’s high court rejected a school voucher program in Douglas County that could have been used to pay for religious schooling — arguing that the prohibition risked perpetuating a past bias against Catholic education.

Eid also wrote a 2015 opinion that made clear employers still can fire workers for marijuana use, because it remains illegal on the federal level despite Colorado’s legalization.

And she has taken a position against the government practice of eminent domain, which allows the government to take private property in exchange for compensation.
 
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Dame_Enda

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Has p.ie now become your personal scrapbook?
 

Dame_Enda

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Has p.ie now become your personal scrapbook?
This is an important thread but not the site is not my personal scrapbook. The spirit of Politics.ie lies in its members. I think the thread has done p.ie some service because Trumps most lasting legacy will be in remaking the lower courts where 80,000 cases are decided.
 

Dame_Enda

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Sens Peters and Stabenow (Michigan) still have not returned their blue slips to allow the Senate Judiciary Committee consider the nomination of Judge Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court to the 6th Circuit, despite a "well qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.
 

Dame_Enda

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4 of Trumps judicial appointments today cleared the Senate Committee en route to a floor vote. Damien Schiff for Court of Federal Claims 10 yr term, and John K Bush for life term on 6th Circuit got through on party line votes. Kevin Newsom (for 11th Circuit which includes Florida and Georgia), and Timothy Kelly (DC Circuit) got through with bipartisan support. DC Circuit seen as second most powerful Circuit as has jurisdiction over important federal agencies. The DC Circuit has a 7-4 Dem majority of active judges, though when you include semi-retired ones (known as Senior Status judges), its about equal.

Trump would love to flip the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit which obstructed his travel ban. It only has 4 vacancies, but he would probably only get to fill one of them sooner (Judge Barry Silverman's vacancy in Arizona) as Arizona has 2 GOP Senators, meaning the blue-slip (traditional Senatorial veto for a judge from your state) wouldnt get in the way there. He hasnt nominated someone for there yet. When a judge decides to get Senior Status, a vacancy arises on the court. The 9th Circuit has a two thirds majority for Dem appointees. Also Grassley has recently hinted he might not apply the blue slip rule for Circuit courts, but only for district courts. We'll see.
 
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