Trump announces new judicial picks despite past vetting concerns

President Donald Trump nominated a ...

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 10:02 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 10:02 AM

President Donald Trump nominated a new slate of judges Wednesday, including several more seasoned jurists than the controversial nominees that the administration has had to withdraw in recent weeks.

The nominations reflect a determination by the White House to push forward with its goal of reshaping the judiciary, undeterred by criticism that the nomination process should slow down so the Senate can give closer scrutiny of nominees. Already, the Senate has broken records by confirming 12 appeals court judges in Trump's first year.

Nominations reflect Trump's determination to reshape the judiciary

Senate has broken records by confirming 12 appeals court judges in Trump's first year

Many of the names put forward Wednesday include candidates with experience as magistrate judges or government and private lawyers. Three were previously nominated by former President Barack Obama, though they were not moved to the end of the confirmation process by a Republican Senate.

The new list includes Joel M. Carson III, Susan Paradise Baxter, Marilyn Jean Horan, William F. Jung, Jill Otake, Maryellen Noreika, Gordon P. Giampietro, Chad F. Kenney, Kari A. Dooley and Colm F. Connolly.

Carson is up for a seat on the powerful US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. He currently serves as a part-time US magistrate judge in Roswell, New Mexico, where he also works at the firm of Carson Ryan. According to his law firm biography, he is a former general counsel of one of New Mexico's largest producers of oil and gas. After law school, he served as a clerk to Judge Bobby R. Baldock of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Baxter, Horan and Jung are up for federal district court judgeships and were previously nominated to the posts by Obama. Connolly was nominated by former President George W. Bush for the same district court position in 2008.

The 10 judicial nominations announced Wednesday come after the testimony of a different nominee - Matthew S. Petersen - went viral last week. The clip depicted an exchange with Sen. John Kennedy, R- Louisiana, who asked Petersen basic legal questions during his confirmation hearing. Petersen stumbled badly and later withdrew his name from consideration, saying in a letter to the President that he did not want to become a distraction. "I had hoped that my nearly two decades of public service might carry more weight than my two worst minutes on television," Petersen wrote.

Petersen, a commissioner for the Federal Election Commission, was up for a seat on the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Earlier, Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked the White House to reconsider two other nominees, Brett Talley and Jeff Mateer. Talley had failed to disclose on his Senate questionnaire that his wife was a top aide to White House Counsel Don McGahn. As CNN first reported, Mateer said in 2015 that transgender children are part of "Satan's plan." The speech had also not been disclosed on his Senate questionnaire. A White House official said later that neither nomination would move forward.

After the withdrawals, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, released a statement saying she hoped that the White House and Senate Republicans "learn a lesson".

"This is a clear signal that the White House isn't properly vetting nominees but instead counting on Senate Republicans to jam them through with minimal review," she said.

Asked about vetting procedures on MSNBC Wednesday, Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, said the administration has "great vetting procedures." He acknowledged the three recent withdrawals and said, "A couple have not made it across the finish line, and I'm not worried about that."

And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Trump Wednesday for the rapid pace at which he's nominated judges that the Senate could confirm.

"Mr. President, thanks to your nominees, we put 12 circuit court judges in place -- the most since the circuit court system was established in 1891," McConnell said at a White House event celebrating the passage of tax overhaul legislation. "You hold the record."

Trump also nominated two federal prosecutors Wednesday. He picked Billy J. Williams to serve as United States Attorney for Oregon and William M. McSwain for United States attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Liberal groups have decried how quickly the Trump administration is moving forward.

"For decades, the federal courts have arguably been the most important backstop in protecting the rights of those most vulnerable in our country, and each federal judge, each case, and each decision has an impact on an unquantifiable number of Americans," Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at Lambda Legal said in a statement Wednesday. "Each of these confirmed judges will outlast this administration and have the potential to decimate civil rights in the Trump's vision for generations to come."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97638

Reported Deaths: 2067
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27372932
Ramsey11088322
Dakota7635126
Anoka6238137
Stearns407724
Washington388355
Scott262533
Olmsted251928
Nobles197716
Blue Earth17266
Wright16957
St. Louis165941
Carver14377
Clay141741
Rice13438
Mower13425
Sherburne116914
Kandiyohi10552
Winona91318
Lyon7224
Waseca6898
Benton5603
Crow Wing55518
Steele5552
Freeborn5464
Nicollet54517
Watonwan5304
Chisago5131
Todd5042
McLeod5012
Le Sueur4744
Otter Tail4624
Beltrami4505
Martin43010
Goodhue3829
Itasca34715
Pine3430
Douglas3372
Polk3224
Isanti3151
Becker2812
Carlton2761
Morrison2682
Dodge2570
Pipestone23210
Cottonwood2280
Chippewa2231
Meeker2132
Wabasha2020
Sibley1993
Brown1962
Yellow Medicine1902
Cass1844
Redwood1773
Rock1760
Murray1722
Mille Lacs1693
Renville1578
Unassigned15452
Jackson1491
Faribault1470
Swift1441
Fillmore1330
Houston1280
Kanabec1278
Roseau1250
Koochiching1233
Pennington1201
Hubbard1171
Lincoln1160
Stevens1041
Pope990
Aitkin831
Big Stone830
Wadena720
Wilkin703
Lac qui Parle651
Grant634
Lake600
Norman540
Marshall531
Mahnomen491
Red Lake451
Traverse340
Clearwater280
Lake of the Woods231
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 86860

Reported Deaths: 1315
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk16010262
Woodbury555467
Johnson517027
Black Hawk450990
Linn4101113
Story346217
Dubuque333241
Scott304528
Dallas280738
Pottawattamie215939
Buena Vista199912
Marshall179134
Sioux16803
Wapello134057
Webster128014
Plymouth116121
Clinton113021
Muscatine112155
Crawford11005
Cerro Gordo105921
Warren9666
Jasper86432
Des Moines8008
Marion7697
Henry7554
Tama73932
Carroll6855
Lee6437
Wright5961
Dickinson5306
Boone5178
Bremer5027
Washington47211
Louisa43115
Delaware4233
Mahaska41519
Floyd3543
Jackson3523
Franklin35118
Lyon3514
Winneshiek3406
Clay3344
Hamilton3323
Benton3281
Winnebago31713
Hardin3071
Poweshiek3078
Buchanan2861
Jones2843
Kossuth2800
Butler2752
Emmet27010
Clarke2683
Shelby2681
Allamakee2666
Chickasaw2661
Sac2650
Clayton2633
Cherokee2552
Cedar2521
Guthrie2527
Harrison2523
Fayette2312
Madison2272
Grundy2243
Iowa2161
Palo Alto2050
Hancock1952
Howard1927
Humboldt1913
Mitchell1910
Calhoun1873
Mills1831
Page1710
Cass1692
Osceola1690
Pocahontas1652
Monona1601
Monroe16011
Lucas1566
Appanoose1423
Jefferson1391
Union1383
Taylor1321
Davis1274
Ida1261
Fremont1210
Van Buren1151
Keokuk1141
Worth1090
Greene1030
Montgomery975
Audubon871
Wayne872
Adair721
Decatur670
Ringgold532
Adams330
Unassigned140
Rochester
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 57°
Mason City
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 57°
Albert Lea
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 59°
Austin
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 59°
Charles City
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 57°
Winds pick up for Wednesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Governor Walz Shares Thoughts Before Presidential Debate

Image

Voting based on your values and faith-based beliefs

Image

Governor Walz weighs in ahead of debate

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Tuesday

Image

Local protest over SCOTUS nominee

Image

Opioid crisis during pandemic

Image

Spots Mallet makes it on TV

Image

Domestic Violence Awareness Forum

Image

Pumpkin shortage

Image

Minnesota traffic fatalities

Community Events