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Trump Renominates 11th Circuit Pick as Senate Returns for 2020

Jan. 3, 2020, 10:52 PM

President Donald Trump renominated four of his judicial selections Jan. 3, including appeals court nominee Andrew Brasher, after Senate inaction on the nominations before the end of the last session caused them to lapse.

All four of the nominees already had hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the past year, which means they likely won’t need to be reheard by the panel. That could put them at the top of the list for a vote by the committee as the new congressional session begins.

Brasher was appointed several months ago by Trump to a federal trial court in Alabama before being selected for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit this past fall.

In an effort to make good on the president’s 2016 campaign promise to reshape the federal bench with conservatives, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have worked to appoint 183 federal judges to lifetime appointments. Of that total, 50 were appointed to appeals courts, which means Trump is responsible for more than a quarter of federal circuit court judges.

If confirmed, Brasher would replace a judge who said he plans to retire and fill one of the few appeals court seats left for Trump to appoint someone to.

Only one true vacancy remains in the federal appeals courts, but the White House didn’t renominate its pick for that seat in its first batch of names returned to the Senate. Halil Suleyman Ozerden, a federal trial court judge in Mississippi, was nominated to the Fifth Circuit last year. He faced opposition from two Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and his nomination stalled.

The other picks renominated Jan. 3 were Joshua M. Kindred, who is tapped for the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska; Matthew Thomas Schelp, who is nominated to the Eastern District of Missouri; and Stephen A. Vaden, who is nominated to the U.S. Court of International Trade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Madison Alder in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; John Crawley at