Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Ho, Ho, Ho!

With the Senate’s confirmation today of Fifth Circuit nominee James Ho, President Trump has now had twelve nominees to the federal court of appeals confirmed this year – on top, of course, of the confirmation of Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch. Twelve sets a record (I’m reliably informed) for the most federal appellate nominees ever confirmed during a president’s first year in office.

Congratulations go first and foremost to President Trump but also to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, and White House counsel Don McGahn. Special credit also goes to former Senate majority leader (and Democrat) Harry Reid, whose leadership in abolishing the filibuster for lower-court (and executive-branch) nominees back in November 2013 paved the way for this achievement.

The caliber of the confirmed appellate judges is as impressive as their number. Overall, they have excellent credentials (seven of the twelve, by my quick count, clerked for Supreme Court justices) and reputations, and six of the twelve are on Trump’s list of Supreme Court candidates.

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