Ex-Kavanaugh Clerk, Gibson Dunn Partner Tapped for Judgeships (1)

Feb. 12, 2020, 7:55 PMUpdated: Feb. 12, 2020, 10:29 PM

President Donald Trump plans to nominate a former Brett Kavanaugh clerk and a Gibson Dunn partner, both women, to federal judgeships in New York, the White House said.

Saritha Komatireddy is the intended nominee for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. She served as a clerk for Kavanaugh, now a U.S. Supreme Court justice, while he served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Komatireddy is currently deputy chief of general crimes in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which includes Brooklyn. She previously was in private practice at Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick.

Trump also announced plans to nominate Jennifer H. Rearden to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, which includes Manhattan. Rearden is a partner in the litigation and crisis management practice groups at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in New York. She previously practiced at Davis Polk & Wardwell and King & Spalding.

Judicial nominations require Senate confirmation.

While New York has struggled to get its district seats filled in the past, it recently found some success. A few New York district court nominees were confirmed in December in an end-of-year push and another was confirmed Wednesday.

Blue-State Focus

The intended nominations come as the White House and the Republican-led Senate reignite efforts to get judicial nominees confirmed. Nominations work halted during Trump’s Senate impeachment trial.

Since Trump’s acquittal, efforts have included announcing and confirming district court nominees in blue states, including Illinois and New York. Filling those appears crucial for the administration to avoid a slowdown of one of its most successful priorities since Trump took office in 2017. It’s also a 2020 Republican campaign theme.

The majority of vacancies left in the federal judiciary are in states with two Democratic senators. That makeup of vacancies poses a potential hurdle for the administration as senators have a say in who gets nominated to their state. Democrats could use that custom to their advantage with the prospect for more favorable nominees on the horizon if the presidential and Senate elections go their way in November.

Bipartisan Show

Some states may be easier to get nominee through than others. Earlier Wednesday both senators in Alabama showed bipartisan support for district nominee Anna Manasco at her confirmation hearing. Sens. Richard Shelby, a Republican, and Doug Jones, a Democrat, both showed up at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to speak on her behalf.

Jones, who was a federal prosecutor in the same Alabama district to which Manasco is nominated, said she had an “impressive career” and “excellent reputation.” Jones is considered vulnerable for re-election this fall in deeply red Alabama.

(Updates with details on nominees, details from hearing, and adds confirmations. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at malder@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; John Crawley at jcrawley@bloomberglaw.com

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