The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Trump Picks Judges—Round 12

President Trump may have a hard time hiring defense attorneys, but he knows how to pick judge pickers.


There are few constants in the Trump White House. Judicial nominations may be it. The Trump Administration has put forward judicial nominees at a steady rate, ensuring that the confirmation queue remains filled as the Senate votes to confirm. Even more notably, with a few high profile exceptions, the Trump Administration's judicial nominees have been quite strong—surprisingly so.

Today the Trump Administration announced its twelfth slate of judicial nominations, and it is a strong list, including three nominees to federal appellate courts.

Topping today's list of nominees is Justice Britt Grant of the Georgia Supreme Court who will be nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Justice Grant is a Bush Administration and former state Solicitor General, who was also identified last November as a potential Supreme Court nominee.

The White House named two nominees for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Pittsburgh-based attorney David Porter and former Christie Administration attorney Paul Matey. Porter and Matey are nominated for Pennsylvania and New Jersey seats, respectively. I know David Porter, and expect he will make an excellent judge.

Today's list also include 16 district court nominations. Most notably, the Administration will nominated Justice Patrick Wyrick of the Oklahoma Supreme Court to a federal district court. Justice Wyrick, like Justice Grant, is a former state Solicitor General and was also listed as a potential Supreme Court nominee last fall. Justice Grant and Wyrick are not alone. The Administration is also nominating Alabama Solicitor General Andrew Brasher and former Florida Solicitor General Allen Winsor to district courts in their respective states.

Closer to home (my home, that is), the Trump Administration finally moved to fill some of Ohio's six federal court openings, tapping Judge Pamela Barker and Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation CEO Sarah Morrison for seatss on the federal courts for the Northern and Southern Districts. With these nominations there remain two additional district court openings (one in each district), and two openings on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (to replace Judges Alice Batchelder and Deborah Cook). I look forward to seeing nominations for at least some of these spots in the near future.

The Administration also tapped Covington & BUrling partner Emin Toro for the U.S. Tax Court today (an excellent pick!), but there are still no nominees for the U.S. Court of International Trade. Given the importance of trade to the Administration's policy agenda, this latter omission is striking.

For a full list of current and future court vacancies, check out this website maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.