Five more of President Donald Trump’s federal district court nominees are likely to be confirmed this week, putting him over the century mark for judicial appointments.
If all clear the Senate, Trump will have appointed 102 judges to the federal bench, including Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.
More could soon follow, as the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for three more district court nominees Tuesday, all of whom are supported by their home state senators.
Trump and the Republican-led Senate have aggressively pushed to reshape the judiciary with conservatives, but Democrats have pushed back on the nominating and vetting process they say has diluted their influence.
Most nominees have been white and male. But those appearing Tuesday included one of the few black women Trump has nominated to the bench, Justice Ada E. Brown of the Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals.
Nominees up for votes this week also include two Hispanics.
Judge Rodolfo Armando Ruiz, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is a former White & Case associate who now serves on the Florida Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
Raul M. Arias-Marxuach, nominated to the District of Puerto Rico, is a capital member with McConnell Valdes in San Juan, whose practice includes civil and commercial litigation.
Trump has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 37 appeals court judges, 58 district judges and the two high court justices.
The Senate has accelerated its confirmation of district judges since shortening the required time between the end of debate and the beginning of a confirmation vote.
Nominees up for confirmation this week also include:
- Alabama Solicitor General Andrew Lynn Brasher, nominated to the Middle District of Alabama;
- Texas Deputy Solicitor General J. Campbell Barker, nominated to the Eastern District of Texas; and
- Joshua Wolson, who was nominated to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and is now a partner at Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philadelphia.
Alliance for Justice, a progressive organization that has opposed many Trump nominees, described Brasher and Barker as having “dangerous records” on abortion, LGBT, and voting rights, in a tweet Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Brown became the first black woman judicial nominee to get a hearing during the Trump administration.
The former trial court judge nominated in March to the Northern District of Texas has written over 500 opinions and presided over about 150 trials.
She’s also a former prosecutor with the Dallas County district attorney’s office, and has tried about 215 cases to verdict.
Another black woman, Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis, was nominated in March to the Eastern District of Michigan but has yet to get a hearing.
Brown on Brown
Brown declined to give her opinion about the decision, and said that Cannon 3A(6) of the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges prevented her from doing so.
But she said that Brown allowed her to attend a racially integrated school, compared to the “poor, segregated school” that her father attended.
Blumenthal said he believed the cannon was inapplicable and that Brown could have answered the question.
Brown said she would treat Brown as controlling precedent that she would follow as a district judge, in response to a question from Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas.
District court nominees Steven D. Grimberg and Magistrate Judge David John Novak also testified at the hearing, and similarly declined to opine on Brown.
Grimberg, nominated to the Northern District of Georgia, is the general counsel and managing director of Nardello & Co., a global investigations firm.
Novak is a nominee to the same district he now serves, the Eastern District of Virginia.