Adam Liptak reports that President Trump is announcing 10 lower-court judicial nominees (so far only District Judge Amul Thapar’s elevation to the Sixth Circuit was the only nomination besides that of Justice Neil Gorsuch). Jonathan Adler, who appeared with me Saturday on a panel at Cato’s 40th anniversary celebration, is quoted as saying that they’re “ ‘incredibly strong nominees’ who were within the judicial mainstream and should ‘have an intellectual influence on their courts.’” As they say in Congress, I wish to associate myself with that analysis.
With this excellent slate, Trump continues fulfilling his campaign promise—perhaps his most important one, in terms of securing the Republican coalition—regarding judicial nominations. For example, the two state justices who were on the potential Supreme Court list, Joan Larsen and David Stras, are engaged jurists who will make terrific circuit judges. Kevin Newsom is a serious lawyer and public servant who will serve the nation well. Pacific Legal Foundation’s Damien Schiff, with whom I’ve worked on many cases, is an inspired pick for the Court of Federal Claims.
The main person missing from this first list of nominees is Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court, who was also on the SCOTUS list and merits appointment to the Fifth Circuit. That would definitely be a bigly move. Of course, if some grand bargain is planned is where two other Texans are named to the Fifth Circuit openings and Willett is held in reserve for the next Supreme Court vacancy, I’ll take that artful deal.
In any case, let’s hope there’s more where this came from.