President Trump will announce 10 nominees to the lower federal courts Monday. A White House official confirmed to The New York Times the 10 nominees will be the first in what will be monthly waves of judicial appointments.
In the wake of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation, over 120 federal judge vacancies still need to be filled. Republicans no longer need to factor in filibusters that could hamper any of the incoming nominees, given the last two rule changes that happened in the Senate over the last four years.
White House counsel Donald McGahn told The New York Times the appointments were a vindication of a pledge President Trump made during the campaign “to appoint strong and principled jurists to the federal bench who will enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power and protect the liberty of all Americans.”
The Daily Caller spoke to Attorney General Jeff Sessions last weekend about the timeline of upcoming appointments and Sessions appeared confident that judicial and U.S. attorney posts would be filled on time.
“We’ve got 127 federal judge vacancies that need to be confirmed, and then we’ve got 94 United States attorneys that need to be confirmed,” Sessions stated. “So we’re moving names forward. And we’re trying to do good background checks to make sure that these U.S. attorneys are first rate because they are key leaders in the effort to reduce crime in America and create public safety.”
He added, “So, we need to get them confirmed as fast as possible. I don’t think we are much behind if at all, beyond historical times. Most U.S. attorneys are in by September or more before they are confirmed. We’re hoping to get some in as soon as possible.”
The Trump administration drew 10 appointments from the list of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees put together by the Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation and that Trump released during the campaign, but McGahn told The Times it is also referring to other sources as well.
Justice Joan L. Larsen, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and law professor at the University of Michigan, is one of the nominees on Trump’s list. She now serves on the Michigan Supreme Court and is expected to be nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati.
“President Trump is building on the success of his nomination of Justice Gorsuch with an outstanding new slate of nominees for the lower federal courts. The nominees have stellar qualifications and a record of courageous commitment to the rule of law that will make them excellent additions to the federal bench,” Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino told TheDC in a statement. “When it comes to fulfilling his campaign promise to appoint strong, principled judges, Trump is knocking it out of the park.”
Trump is also expected to appoint Justice David R. Stras. Stras was a former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas as well as a law professor at the University of Minnesota. He is now on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Judge Amul Thapar of the federal district court of Kentucky is Trump’s only lower court federal nominee. Thapar is still waiting on a Senate confirmation vote to serve on the Sixth Circuit.
Three other nominees are expected to be appointed to the federal appeals courts, including Amy Coney Barrett, John K. Bush and Kevin C. Newsom.