White House Announces 51 Judicial Picks, Including Two for Liberal Ninth Circuit

The White House on Tuesday announced the re-nomination of 51 federal judicial nominees left over from the previous Congress, supporting the effort of the administration to appoint more conservative judges after GOP activists worried that such appointments had stalled, Fox News informed.

Nine of the 51 nominations are for posts on prestigious and influential federal appellate benches, including two on the mostly liberal San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which President Trump has often derided as “disgraceful” and politically biased.

Neomi Rao, the president’s “regulatory czar,” who would assume the vacated position of the Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is on the list.

Jonathan H. Adler, a Case Western University School of Law professor and Washington Post commentator, stated that when Rao joined the administration “Trump’s selection of Rao suggests the administration is serious about regulatory reform, not merely reducing high-profile regulatory burdens.”

The list contains the name of Brian Buescher, for the position of U.S. district judge for the Nebraska District. In December, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, raised concerns about the Omaha-based lawyer’s membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization – prompting legal commentators to suggest the Democrats were engaging in religious discrimination.

“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” Hirono said in a questionnaire sent to Buescher. “For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”

The liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against the travel ban and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.”

“Because of Democrats’ unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees, we now have significantly more vacancies than when President Trump took office,” Judicial Crisis Network Chief Counsel and Policy Director Carrie Severino said in a statement.

“Senator McConnell has restated his commitment to filling the vacancies and has maintained that this is a Senate priority. It’s time for Democrats to end the bullying and smear campaigns and confirm the judges,” Severino added.

The White House, along with the Senate GOP leaders, has made appointing conservative judges and justices a key priority. The Trump administration has already appointed 85 federal judges, a list including the Associate Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and 30 appellate judges.

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