Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Trump names 10 judicial nominees to fill federal courts

Before that she was a University of MI law professor, a Justice Department lawyer during President George W. Bush's administration, and a clerk for the late US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. If confirmed, Stras will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

-David Nye, an Idaho state judge, nominated to the federal court in Idaho.

The New York Times, which first reported Stras was a Trump pick, said that the Monday announcement of 10 nominees was the first of many to fill 120 federal court openings.

President Trump is taking aim at the federal courts on Monday as he plans to roll-out several conservative nominees for judicial vacancies.

According to the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that focuses on civil service, 465 positions requiring Senate confirmation remain unfilled. Trump plucked his first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, from that list.

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Larsen, a senior judge on Michigan's Supreme Court, is being nominated for the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, while Stras, a judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court, has been tapped for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. At the end of Bush's presidency, 10 of the 13 circuit courts had a majority of judges nominated by Republican presidents.

Rounding out the appellate nominations is Kevin Newsom to serve on the 11th Circuit. That makes his eventual appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court all the more likely, building his already extensive résumé.

Heritage Foundation legal analyst Hans von Spakovsky said he is impressed with Mr. Trump's choice of lawyer Damien Schiff of the Pacific Legal Foundation for the little-known U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Trump also tapped Magistrate Judge Terry Moorer of the Middle District of Alabama to become a judge on that same court.

The Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit has jurisdiction over federal appeals arising from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. But while a revised ban was later released, that too was blocked by the courts.

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"If Democrats go that extreme, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley [Iowa Republican] may be forced to curtail the 100-year-old blue-slip tradition", he said. Now, instead, with Justice Gorsuch having taken his seat on the bench, Kennedy is once again at the center of American law. With Gorsuch's staunch conservativism seemingly confirmed during his Senate hearings, Justice Kennedy's swing vote appears to be critical on the high court.

"With a Republican Senate, now is the best time to nominate solid judges", Adams said.

"Starting with a Supreme Court vacancy, which has now been filed, President Trump certainly has a very good opportunity early on to have an impact on the federal bench", Malcolm said. "The president should work with members of both parties to pick judges from within the judicial mainstream, who will interpret the law rather than make it". Three of the nominees on Trump's list came from states with Democratic senators.

Obviously the nine justices of the Supreme Court have the final say on what the law is, to paraphrase first Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. Stras has also clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and shares his belief in a limited role for the judiciary. For instance, there is Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, who served in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration and who is known as a strong advocate of executive power and as a proponent of the use of presidential signing statements. In 2007, the court's conservative majority ruled 5-4 in favor of challengers to the school system.

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