The Senate confirmed four of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to federal appeals courts this week, bringing his total number of circuit court appointments to 21.
Two nominees to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Michael Scudder and Amy St. Eve, were confirmed on unanimous votes Monday, as they were selected in consultation with Illinois’ two U.S. senators, Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.
Senators generally have special prerogatives for judicial vacancies arising in their states, and the 7th Circuit is based in Chicago.
“The unanimous, swift confirmations of Judges St. Eve and Scudder attest to the value of a collaborative selection process,” University of Richmond School of Law professor Carl Tobias told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“White House Counsel appeared to carefully consult home state Democratic Senators Durbin and Duckworth, who strongly supported the nominees.”
“Two experienced, mainstream individuals rapidly and smoothly joined the court and reduce its vacancies without the rancor and divisiveness that have attended other circuit nomination and confirmation processes,” he added.
Though neither nominee has a high profile in Washington, both are well thought of in conservative legal circles.
Scudder was a partner in the Chicago offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom concentrating in commercial litigation and white-collar crime.
He previously worked for the George W. Bush Justice Department, served as general counsel of the National Security Council, and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
St. Eve was a judge on the federal trial court in Chicago. She was a federal prosecutor and worked on the Whitewater investigation prior to her appointment to the bench in 2002.
Scudder and St. Eve are the president’s third and fourth appointments to the Chicago-based federal appeals court. The Senate confirmed Michael Brennan on May 10 and Amy Coney Barrett in November 2017. There are 11 judges on the 7th Circuit.
Senators confirmed another two nominees Tuesday. Joel Carson, a part-time federal magistrate and partner in the law practice of Carson Ryan LLC, was confirmed to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 77-21 vote. The 10th Circuit is based in Denver and covers six states in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain West.
The chamber also confirmed John Nalbandian to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on a 53-45 vote. Nalbandian spent most of his career in private practice at Taft Stettinius & Hollister in Ohio and is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The Senate has now confirmed 21 Trump nominees to the federal appellate courts. The 13 circuit courts issue final decisions in the overwhelming majority of federal cases.
There are currently 32 district court nominees and one circuit court nominee pending before the Senate.
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