One of the key arguments that ended up winning over a lot of Trump-skeptic conservatives in November was the desperate need to reverse the liberal activist direction of the federal courts, which, as the "nutty 9th Circuit " repeatedly demonstrates, is increasingly resulting in the violation of the separation of powers. But would Donald Trump, who spent most of his life donating a lot more to Democrats than Republicans, actually follow through on his promises to nominate conservative judges? So far the answer is a resounding yes.
Trump's most celebrated decision so far among staunch conservatives is his selection of Neil Gorsuch to replace the deceased Antonin Scalia, who was a steadfast conservative voice on the Supreme Court. But Trump has quietly done much more than that to reverse the direction of the courts. He has now appointed over 20 strong, conservative candidates for lower court positions. As Legal Insurrection's William Jacobson pointed out Wednesday, while the media frenzy over the highly anticipated James Comey testimony was approaching its crescendo, Trump announced a second slate of conservative federal judicial appointments that has inspired cheers from conservative legal minds and "dismay" from progressives.
As Jacobson put it earlier in the month, "Trump has an unprecedented opportunity to nominate a substantial percentage of the federal judiciary," currently around 100 vacancies. In early May, Trump nominated a group of 10 solidly conservative judges, celebrated by the Right and decried by the Left. On Wednesday, he named another 11.
"These nominations follow the successful nomination and confirmation of associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, the successful nomination and confirmation of Judge Amul R. Thapar of Kentucky to serve as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the nomination of numerous candidates to other judgeships," the White House said in a statement Wednesday (full statement below).
Like the first group, the 11 appointees have conservatives, like law professor Jonathan Adler, thrilled. "Today, the Trump administration announced another slate of incredibly strong judicial nominees, including three nominees for federal appellate court," wrote Adler, who went on to note that many of the names (five of the nine circuit court nominees) are "current or former law professors," like him. Adler drew a comparison to the Reagan administration, which likewise believed that "appointing academics is one way to maximize its influence on the federal judiciary." One of those Reagan nominees was Antonin Scalia.
Below is the full statement released by the White House on Wednesday:
President Donald J. Trump today announced his fourth wave of Federal judicial nominees. These nominations follow the successful confirmation of Associate Justice Neil M. Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, the successful confirmation of Judge Amul R. Thapar of Kentucky to serve as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the nomination of numerous candidates to other judgeships.
The President today announced his nomination of these individuals to the following Federal judgeships.
If confirmed, Allison H. Eid of Colorado will serve as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Justice Allison Eid currently serves as the 95th Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. Justice Eid was appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court in 2006 and retained by the people of Colorado in 2008. Before assuming office, Justice Eid served as Colorado’s Solicitor General and as a tenured Associate Professor of Law at the University of Colorado School of Law, where she authored several articles on federalism and taught courses on constitutional law, legislation, and torts. Before joining the University of Colorado faculty, Justice Eid practiced commercial and appellate litigation with the Denver office of Arnold & Porter. Justice Eid has served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Federal Appellate Rules, and she is currently a member of the American Law Institute. Earlier in her career, Justice Eid clerked for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court and for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Justice Eid received her A.B. with distinction from Stanford University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and her J.D. with high honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as Articles Editor of the University of Chicago Law Review.
If confirmed, Ralph R. Erickson of North Dakota will serve as a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Judge Ralph Erickson currently serves on the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota. He has served on the District Court of North Dakota since 2003. Judge Erickson served as the Chief Judge of the District of North Dakota from 2009-2016. Prior to his appointment to the Federal bench, Judge Erickson was a judge on the North Dakota state district court for eight years. He currently serves as the chair of the United States Sentencing Commission’s Tribal Issues Advisory Group. Judge Erickson graduated from Jamestown College, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in History, and received his J.D. from the University of North Dakota, where he served on the North Dakota Law Review.
If confirmed, Michael P. Allen of Florida will serve as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Michael P. Allen serves as a Professor of Law and Director of the Veterans Law Institute at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, where he teaches courses in civil and constitutional law, as well as veterans’ benefits law. Professor Allen is a recognized expert on the law of veterans’ benefits and has testified before Congress and published widely in the field. Before joining the Stetson law faculty sixteen years ago, Professor Allen spent nine years as a civil trial attorney at the law firm Ropes & Gray in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Allen received his B.A. in American history and political science, summa cum laude, from the University of Rochester, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.
If confirmed, Dabney L. Friedrich of Washington, D.C., will serve as a District Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Dabney Friedrich has a lengthy career of distinguished public service. Most recently, Ms. Friedrich served as a Commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission. Before that, Ms. Friedrich served as an associate counsel to the President during the George W. Bush Administration, as Chief Crime Counsel to Senator Orrin G. Hatch, as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, as a trial attorney at the Department of Justice, and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of California. Before holding those positions, Ms. Friedrich clerked for Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the District of Columbia District Court. Ms. Friedrich received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Trinity University, her Diploma in Legal Studies from Oxford University, and her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she served as a senior editor on the Yale Journal on Regulation.
If confirmed, Timothy J. Kelly of Washington, D.C., will serve as a District Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Timothy Kelly is currently chief counsel for national security and senior crime counsel to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley. He also serves as the Republican staff director for the Senate’s Caucus on International Narcotics Control. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kelly spent a decade as a Federal prosecutor, serving first as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and then as a trial attorney in the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division. Mr. Kelly also spent several years as a civil litigator at Arnold & Porter. Mr. Kelly clerked for Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He received his A.B., cum laude, from Duke University, and his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a senior associate editor of the American Criminal Law Review.
If confirmed, Trevor N. McFadden of Virginia, will serve as a District Judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Trevor McFadden currently serves as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Before assuming that role, Mr. McFadden was a partner in the Compliance, Investigations & Government Enforcement Group in the Washington, D.C. office of Baker & McKenzie LLP. Earlier in his career, Mr. McFadden served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and as counsel to the United States Deputy Attorney General. Mr. McFadden also has extensive experience as a law enforcement officer, having served as both a Deputy Sheriff in the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and as a police officer with the Fairfax County Police Department. Mr. McFadden clerked for Judge Steven M. Colloton on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Wheaton College, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review.
If confirmed, Amanda L. Meredith of Virginia will serve as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Amanda L. Meredith serves as the deputy staff director and general counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, chaired by Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia. She previously served as general counsel to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and as benefits counsel to Ranking Member Richard Burr of North Carolina and Ranking Member Larry Craig of Idaho. Prior to her service on the Committee, Ms. Meredith served as director of the Task Force for Backlog Reduction for the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and as a law clerk and executive attorney to Chief Judge Kenneth Kramer, United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Ms. Meredith received her B.S. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, summa cum laude, and her J.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, magna cum laude, where she was a member of the Buffalo Law Review.
If confirmed, Stephen S. Schwartz of Virginia will serve as a Judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims. Stephen S. Schwartz is currently a partner at Schaerr Duncan LLP in Washington, D.C, where he litigates civil, constitutional, and administrative law matters in Federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. Prior to joining Schaerr Duncan, Mr. Schwartz served as counsel at Cause of Action, a public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C. Before joining Cause of Action, he was an associate in the litigation practice of Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington, D.C. Mr. Schwartz joined Kirkland after serving as a law clerk to Judge Jerry E. Smith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Schwartz received his B.A., with distinction, from Yale and his J.D., with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review.
If confirmed, Joseph L. Toth of Wisconsin will serve as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Joseph L. Toth is a veteran of the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Navy. In 2011, he served as a field officer in the Rule of Law Field Force Afghanistan (ROLFF-A), where he was stationed with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division in the Zhari District of Afghanistan. In Zhari, Mr. Toth partnered with Afghan prosecutors to establish the rule of law in the district where the Taliban was formed, and he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his service. He also served as Senior Defense Counsel in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he defended Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guard personnel at courts-martial. Following his military service, Mr. Toth clerked for Judge Daniel A. Manion on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Judge Robert J. Conrad of the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Most recently, he served as an associate Federal public defender in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mr. Toth received his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his J.D. from the Ave Maria School of Law.
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Judicial Candidates
The President today also announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to the following Federal judgeships.
If confirmed, Stephanos Bibas of Pennsylvania will serve as a circuit judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Professor Bibas serves as Professor of Law and Criminology and as Director of the Supreme Court Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. One of the Nation’s leading experts in criminal law and procedure, Professor Bibas has published two books and more than sixty scholarly articles, and he has argued six cases before the United States Supreme Court. Before joining the law faculty at Penn, Professor Bibas taught at the University of Chicago Law School and the University of Iowa College of Law, after completing a research fellowship at Yale Law School. From 1998 to 2000, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted more than one hundred cases. Before that, Professor Bibas litigated at the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. and served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court and to Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Professor Bibas received his B.A. from Columbia University, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, his B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was on the editorial board of the Yale Law Journal. While at Oxford, he won the First Place Speaker award at the World Universities Debating Championship.
If confirmed, Claria Horn Boom of Kentucky will serve as a district judge on the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky. Claria Horn Boom is currently a partner in the Lexington office of Frost Brown Todd LLC. Before joining Frost Brown Todd LLC, Ms. Horn Boom served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and before that, practiced at King & Spalding in Atlanta, Georgia. Before holding these positions, Ms. Horn Boom clerked for Judge Pierce Lively of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Ms. Horn Boom grew up in the Martin County, Kentucky courthouse , where her mother served as clerk of the court. Ms. Horn Boom earned her undergraduate degree from Transylvania University and her J.D. from the Vanderbilt University Law School.
H/T William Jacobson.