President Donald Trump submitted another slate of judicial nominees to Senate Thursday, naming candidates to the powerful federal appeals courts based in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, Calif.
The White House announced that Trump has named Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the nation’s second most powerful judicial panel, and Ryan Bounds to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the West Coast appeals court and primary antagonist of the early days of the Trump presidency.
Katsas’ nomination was widely expected. He currently serves as deputy White House Counsel and has played a major role in the administration’s early judicial nominations. Before entering government service he practiced in the Washington offices of Jones Day, a white-shoe practice intimately connected to Trump from the earliest days of the campaign. Katsas is a seasoned appellate practitioner, and clerked on the Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas after graduating Harvard Law School.
Leonard Leo, the White House’s judicial selection guru, lavished praise on the nominee.
“I have known Greg Katsas for nearly 30 years and he is among the most honest, fair, humble and intelligent people I have ever met,” he said in a statement. “He understands the awesome responsibility associated with wearing a judicial robe and I have no doubt that he will always place the search for truth, fairness and justice first.”
Bounds is a federal prosecutor with a glittering resume, which made him an earlier frontrunner for the 9th Circuit seat vacated by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, the conservative stalwart for whom he clerked after graduating Yale Law School. Bounds is a veteran of the Bush administration where he served in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, the unit charged with coordinated judicial nominations and advising the attorney general on policy initiatives. Above the Law’s David Lat characterized Bounds as a strong contender for a 9th Circuit appointment given his west coast roots and D.C. ties.
The nomination is Trump’s first to the 9th Circuit, the country’s largest appellate court which has continually stymied administration priorities. There are currently four vacancies on the court.
Other nominees the president named include Judge Lisa Branch of the Georgia Court of Appeals for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and 13 nominees for district courts in Alabama, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Georgia, and the District of Columbia.
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