President Donald Trump released his 12th wave of judicial nominees Tuesday, announcing appointments to federal appeals courts in Philadelphia and Atlanta and 16 federal trial courts.
Two of the nominees are state Supreme Court justices who were added to Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees in November 2017.
Conservative advocacy groups were quick to praise Trump’s latest picks.
“Congratulations to President Trump for releasing yet another outstanding list of nominees for the federal courts, fulfilling his campaign promise to appoint brilliant and principled judges,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network. “We encourage the Senate to move swiftly to confirm them.”
The nominees include two candidates for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, David Porter and Paul Matey. Porter is an attorney in private practice who serves on the board of trustees of Grove City College, a conservative, evangelical institution in northwest Pennsylvania. He is also president of the Pittsburg lawyers chapter of the Federalist Society.
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Porter’s name was floated for a federal trial court appointment under former President Barack Obama. Pennsylvania’s two senators, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey, reached a deal through which Porter would be nominated along with three other candidates selected by Casey. Progressive activists mobilized in opposition to the arrangement and successfully scuttled the deal.
Matey is senior vice president at University Hospital in Newark, N.J. and served in former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. Matey appears to be a friend and former collaborator with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. The pair produced a paper on securities fraud class actions, and wrote an opinion piece on the same subject for the National Law Journal. Both men practiced at Kellogg Hansen Todd Figel & Frederick PLLC, a boutique practice in Washington, D.C.
Porter and Matey are Trump’s second and third appointments to the 3rd Circuit. His first nominee, Judge Stephanos Bibas, was confirmed in Nov. 2017. Bibas was previously a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Trump’s sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, served on the 3rd Circuit from 1999 to 2011, when she assumed senior status.
A third nominee, Supreme Court of Georgia Justice Britt Grant, was named to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Grant’s name was added to Trump’s list of possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees in November 2017. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and clerked for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative jurist on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit widely seen as a frontrunner for the next Republican appointment to the Supreme Court.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Patrick Wyrick was also added to Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist concurrently with Grant. Wyrick was nominated Tuesday to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the federal trial court in Oklahoma City, Okla. Prior to service on the state Supreme Court, Wyrick was Oklahoma Solicitor General, the state’s top appeals practitioner. In that capacity, he served under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, then Oklahoma’s attorney general. Pruitt effusively praised his nomination to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Wyrick represented Oklahoma in Glossip v. Gross, a constitutional challenge to the use of midazolam during lethal injections. His involvement with the case is likely to elicit scrutiny from Senate Democrats, as Oklahoma made a number of incorrect representations to the high court in legal briefs they filed before arguments. The inaccuracies prompted a searing rebuke from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
“I am substantially disturbed that in your brief you made factual statements that were not supported by the cited sources,” the justice told Wyrick during oral arguments in April 2015.
“So nothing you say or read to me am I going to believe, frankly, until I see it with my own eyes,” she added.
There are currently 152 vacancies on the federal courts, according to the U.S. Judicial Conference.
The full list of Trump’s nominees is available at this link.
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