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Trump Appeals Pick Clears Test Vote Despite Rights Opposition

Feb. 10, 2020, 11:30 PM

A Donald Trump appeals court nominee opposed by civil rights groups moved closer to likely confirmation.

The Republican-led Senate voted along party lines 46 to 41 to invoke cloture, or end debate, on the nomination of Andrew Brasher to the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Brasher sits on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, a position he’s held for under a year.

He’s opposed by Democrats and the NAACP and other civil rights groups who point to his work on cases involving voting and LGBT rights in his role as Alabama’s solicitor general as evidence of bias.

But that opposition likely won’t derail his appointment as a successful cloture vote typically precludes successful confirmation. His confirmation vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

If confirmed, Brasher, 38, would be one of the youngest circuit judges in the country.

While Democrats have pointed to positions he took in voting rights cases, Republicans have defended Brasher, saying nominees shouldn’t be criticized for positions they took for their client. That has been a consistent argument in confirmation hearings for nominees who served as private attorneys, prosecutors or solicitors general.

Brasher received a unanimous “Well Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association to serve on the circuit court that includes Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

In an effort to make good on the president’s 2016 campaign promise to reshape the federal bench with conservatives, Trump has worked with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to appoint 183 federal district and appeals court judges, and two Supreme Court justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Fifty are in circuit courts, which means more than a quarter of judges at that level are Trump appointees. Those courts sit one rung below the Supreme Court and are the final stop for all but a very small number of federal appeals.

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