WASHINGTON, DC – Vice President Mike Pence broke a tie vote to confirm President Trump’s nomination of Jonathan Kobes as a judge on the Eighth Circuit after Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) once again opposed a conservative pick for the federal bench.
Kobes is a graduate of Harvard Law School who clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which Kobes now joins. During his career, he has served as a federal prosecutor and an attorney at the Central Intelligence Agency. Most recently, he has served as counsel to Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD).
The American Bar Association (ABA) – a left-wing organization that most lawyers refuse to be members of – rated Kobes “not qualified.” Previously, the ABA unsuccessfully opposed another Trump nominee for the Eighth Circuit, Judge Steve Grasz, for his conservative views. This ideological bias has led many conservatives to call for the Senate to officially regard the ABA’s judicial ratings as worthless.
The ABA justified its opposition to Kobes on the basis that he has never published a law review article and has litigated only six cases. But most law review articles are written by law professors, and Kobes spent his private-sector years as a regulatory lawyer, many of whom do not make courtroom arguments.
Left-wing groups like the Alliance for Justice made clear the real reason for opposing Kobes, condemning him for being a member of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, as well as being pro-life.
Flake continued to oppose judicial nominees because the Senate is not voting on legislation to shield Robert Mueller, legislation that many legal scholars deem unconstitutional.
With Flake’s no-vote, the Senate tied 50-50 on the nomination. Pence exercised his constitutional power to break the tie, confirming Kobes 51-50.
President Trump has now successfully appointed 30 federal appeals judges with Kobes’ confirmation, continuing to surpass the previous all-time two-year record of 23 judges.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.