WASHINGTON, DC – The White House on Monday announced President Donald Trump’s eleventh wave of nominees for federal judgeships, comprised of nine picks for lifetime appointments, reflecting both conservative stalwarts and careful negotiations.
Four of the nominees are for seats on the U.S. courts of appeals:
Andrew Oldham is a nominee for the Fifth Circuit. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School, Oldham formerly clerked for Judge David Sentelle on the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court. He is currently general counsel to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
Michael Scudder is a nominee for the Seventh Circuit. A graduate of Northwestern University, Scudder formerly clerked for Judge Paul Niemeyer on the Fourth Circuit and Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, then worked as a federal prosecutor, in the White House counsel’s office, and as general counsel to the National Security Council. He is currently a partner at a prestigious law firm.
Amy St. Eve for the Seventh Circuit. A graduate of Cornell Law School, she is a former federal prosecutor and private litigator. St. Eve is currently a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as well as an instructor at Northwestern University’s law school.
Mark Bennett for the Ninth Circuit. Also a graduate of Cornell Law School, Bennett is the former attorney general of Hawaii and was a federal prosecutor prior to that.
The remaining five nominees are for seats on the U.S. district courts:
Nancy Brasel, District of Minnesota
Thomas Kleeh, Northern District of West Virginia
Peter Phipps, Western District of Pennsylvania
Eric Tostrud, District of Minnesota
C.J. Williams, Northern District of Iowa
These nine judicial nominees showcase the continuing work of White House Counsel Don McGahn. Several of these nominees are conservative rock stars. Oldham and Scudder, in particular, are being praised by conservatives.
Top legal analysts tell Breitbart News that Oldham is “off-the-charts brilliant,” and are confident that he will be a “warrior” for originalism and textualism who could impact the law for a generation.
Scudder is likewise seen as an outstanding pick for conservatives, one whose excellent work, quiet and gentlemanly manner, and grace under fire over the years have earned him widespread support not only in GOP establishment circles, but even from some Democrats. Former White House Counsel Greg Craig, who served under President Barack Obama, has spoken out in support of Scudder as an outstanding lawyer whom liberals should respect for his ability and demeanor.
A couple nominees are picks who might still be right-of-center, but more moderate than the overwhelming majority of President Trump’s nominees. These picks are for seats in very liberal states. One insider who spoke to Breitbart News off the record because he is not authorized to speak about internal deliberations said, “They are probably the best picks you could expect from those states, getting Democrats’ support for them in exchange for not blocking other picks.”
If so, this package carries all the hallmarks of a well-negotiated deal, one in which McGahn is the chief negotiator. McGahn is a leading member of the Federalist Society, which he joined decades ago, and is well known for his commitment to conservative legal principles. His hard-earned reputation as an unflinching defender of originalism and textualism buys him the “only Nixon could go to China” goodwill from GOP base leaders to negotiate the best possible deal on judicial selections.
President Trump is ready to produce historic numbers on judicial appointments in 2018, which entails both presidential nominations and Senate confirmations. Working with McGahn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are executing an ambitious plan to deliver those numbers by the 2018 midterm elections.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.