Steven Menashi’s nomination to the New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit advanced in the Senate Nov. 13 despite controversy over his role as a top Trump administration legal adviser.
Lawmakers voted 51 to 44 to invoke cloture, or end debate on the nomination. That set the stage for a confirmation vote on Thursday.
Menashi has faced sharp criticism over his past writings on race, abortion and sex assault. Democrats also raised objections to the former Kirkland & Ellis partner and Supreme Court clerk over his work as a White House senior legal counsel and as a top adviser to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
They and some Republicans were unhappy with his refusal to discuss in basic detail his role in advising senior Trump White House officials on immigration policy, specifically an initiative that separated immigrant families at the Southern Border.
Democrats also tied him to Education Department policy changes that weakened an Obama-era program aimed at protecting student borrowers from predatory for-profit college lending practices.
The Education Department was found in contempt last month for continuing to collect debt from thousands of students in defiance of a court order. A magistrate judge ruled that the use of Social Security numbers and other information for calculating earnings violated student privacy rights.