Nominations, Hearings, Confirmations:
Trump: President Trump will update his Supreme Court list by September 1. John Doe had argued that he would.
Biden: Will Biden release a Supreme Court list? Prominent Ds are advising him not to.
DC Circuit: The Senate confirmed Justin Walker 51-42 to the DC Circuit. This is Trump's third appointment to "the second most influential appeals court in the nation". Walker is a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Walker's seat on WD-KY will soon be open for another nominee.
5th Circuit: The Senate confirmed Cory Wilson 52-48 to the last open appeals court seat. He finally fills a MS seat that has been open since 2017. The 5th circuit should finally have a solid conservative majority, with 10 conservatives, 2 moderates, and 5 liberals.
New Jersey: There are still no nominations for district court in New Jersey. Carl Tobias tries blame President Trump, but given that most blue states have had nominees confirmed, it is clear that D senators are to blame.
Thurmond rule: Will Senate Rs ignore the 'Thurmond rule'? This is actually tradition, not a rule, that says the senate won't confirm judges nominated near the end of a president's term. This 'rule' has often been violated, and is much more likely to be applied when the Senate and Presidency are in opposite hands.
Senate Judiciary Committee hearings:
July 2 (business): Some district court nominees may be held over.
The Federal Judiciary:
Supreme Court: The Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County "by a vote of 6 to 3 that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status constitutes discrimination “because of … sex” in violation of Title VII." Justices Gorsuch and Roberts joined the court's four liberals. Ed Whelan discusses the dissents by Justices Alito and Kavanaugh.
Trump judges: This article debunks the myth that Trump's judicial appointees are less qualified than those of previous presidents.
Whitehouse: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has long railed against the Federalist Society, claiming it is just a conduit for wealthy special interests to stack the courts. However, there are many well-funded leftist groups that try to influence the courts. Also, Whitehouse got a major D donor, John McConnell, a federal judgeship (D-RI).
DC-CA: Chief Judge Cormac Carney has stepped down after less than a month as chief judge. He described a court official, a black woman, as "street smart". Some, including him, considered the comment racially insensitive. While he was appointed to federal court by W, he was appointed to a state court by Governor Gray Davis (D). He also declared California's death penalty unconstitutional in 2014, a decision unanimously overturned by the 9th Circuit (!), so he doesn't appear to be any sort of conservative.
MD-FL: Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington (appointed by W) will take senior status on July 12, her 65th birthday.
State Supreme Courts:
Kansas: Kansas Supreme Court Justice Carol Beier will retire. D Governor Laura Kelly will get her third appointment to the famously liberal court, as liberal judges see a chance to get favorable replacements.
Michigan: Republicans currently hold a 4-3 majority on the court, but moderate Republicans Elizabeth Clement and David Viviano hold the balance of power. There are two full-term seats up for election on the Michigan Supreme Court. They are those of D Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and conservative Stephen Markman, who is age-limited. McCormack is likely safe, while the open seat will be hotly contested. Court of Appeals judge Brock Swartzle and assistant St. Clair County prosecutor Mary Kelly are running for R nominations. Candidates who are women, Irish, and especially Irish women have an advantage in Michigan judicial races, as former justices Marilyn Kelly and Mary Beth Kelly can attest.
New Jersey: Governor Phil Murphy has appointed Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the New Jersey Supreme Court. She is the first African American woman on the New Jersey Supreme Court. The court will have 3 appointees from D governors and 4 appointees from R governors, though it is unclear whether any of the R appointees are conservatives.
West Virginia: The (officially nonpartisan) election of three seats was held on June 9. The court will maintain a 3R-2D balance.
Place 1: Incumbent Tim Armstead (R), a former state House Speaker, was reelected.
Place 2: Trial lawyer Bill Wooton (D) narrowly beat a more conservative candidate.
Place 3: Appointed incumbent John Hutchison, a supposedly conservative D appointed by Governor Justice, was reelected.
Numbers and Trivia:
President Trump has had 200 judicial confirmations for Article III courts. That includes four judges (Quattlebaum, Phipps, Brasher, and Walker) confirmed to both district and appeals courts. Trump has 53 appeals court appointments, compared to 55 for Obama's two terms. Trump has 143 district court appointments. Obama had 141 district judges in his first term, and 268 total.
7th Circuit: As of July 4, Diane Sykes will be the Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit, taking over from Diane Wood. Sykes was appointed by W, and is on President Trump's Supreme Court list. The Presidents who appointed chief judges of the 13 appeals courts are Clinton (2, 4, 6, 9), W (1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, Fed), and Obama (DC).
Roberts: In light of Justice Roberts' recent string of disappointing rulings, it is enlightening to return to Ann Coulter's columns (one, two, three) criticizing Roberts' appointment in 2005.
Bench Memos (National Review)
The Vetting Room
Senate Cloakroom (Twitter)
Senate Judiciary Committee
ABA Judicial Ratings
Wikipedia-US Appeals Courts
Senior Status Spreadsheet
Future Judicial Vacancies
BostonPatriot diaries: History Trump DC-5 6-11 9th
Ballotpedia-State Supreme Court Vacancies
The Supreme Courts
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