Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
The White House on Monday will announce 10 of President Trump’s nominees for the federal courts, a source familiar with the nominations process told BuzzFeed News — making a faster move on changing the face of the judiciary than any new president in the past quarter century.
Trump’s list include five nominees for the federal appeals courts: two state supreme court justices who were on Trump’s list of US Supreme Court contenders, one law professor, and two lawyers from private practice. The White House also will announce four nominees for the federal district courts and one for the Court of Federal Claims, which hears civil lawsuits against the federal government.
The New York Times first reported the upcoming nominations earlier Sunday evening.
There are 129 open seats on the federal courts — making up about 14% of all active lower court judgeships — and 21 upcoming vacancies have already been announced.
Trump’s move — which will take his total number of judicial nominees to 12 — marks the administration’s first attempt at making a sizable dent in the large number of vacancies across the federal judiciary.
It was the end of July in President Obama’s first year in office before he had announced a dozen judicial nominees. President George W. Bush did not even name his first court nominee until May 9, 2001. President Clinton put forth his first group of would-be judges in August 1993.
Trump’s White House in March announced the president’s first lower court nominee, Judge Amul Thapar, with no fanfare in the midst of confirmation hearings for Trump’s first judicial nominee: US Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Thapar, whose nomination is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a nominee for one of several vacancies on the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He also was one of the 21 names on Trump’s list of possible Supreme Court nominees.
Two of the appeals court nominees set to be announced on Monday were also on that list: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, who will also be nominated for the 6th Circuit, and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, who will be nominated for the 8th Circuit.
Kevin Newsom, a private practice lawyer in Alabama and the state’s former solicitor general, is to be nominated for the 11th Circuit; John Bush, a private practice lawyer in Kentucky, for the 6th Circuit; and Amy Coney Barrett, a law professor, for the 7th Circuit. (That Newsom was being considered for a judgeship was previously reported by BuzzFeed News.)
The lower court nominees are to be:
Dabney Friedrich, a former member of the US Sentencing Commission, for the US District Court for the District of Columbia. (That Friedrich was being considered for a judgeship was previously reported by BuzzFeed News.)
US Magistrate Judge Terry Moorer, for the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Judge David Nye, a state court judge in Idaho, for the US District Court for Idaho — a position for which he previously had been nominated by President Obama.
Scott Palk, an assistant dean at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, for the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma — also previously nominated for the position by Obama.
Damien Schiff, a senior attorney at the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, for the Court of Federal Claims.