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Trump is quietly moving at a furious pace to secure 'the single most important legacy' of his administration (Business Insider, 07/27/17)
Allan Smith: President Donald Trump is far outpacing President Barack Obama in early nominations for judicial vacancies and open US attorney slots. A Democratic senator said Trump's shaping of the federal bench will be his administration's "single most important legacy." Most of the vacancies Trump has attempted to fill so far are in states he won in the 2016 election.

Letter to the Editor: Haywood deserved seat on fed court (Delaware County Daily Times [PA], 07/27/17)
Kadida Kenner, Why Courts Matter – PA: Last month, the Trump administration decided to stay the course and nominate another white man for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals seat.... Sen. Pat Toomey blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Judge Rendell for the 3rd Circuit, Rebecca Haywood, when Toomey refused to submit his home-state blue slip allowing for a judicial hearing for Haywood. ... Haywood’s confirmation would have only been the 21st federal court confirmation in Obama’s last two years of his presidency, compared to Reagan with 83, Clinton with 72 and G.W. Bush with 68 ... the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania will continue to rank among the worst gender-balanced Circuit Court of Appeals in the nation. There’s still a second opening on the 3rd Circuit - Senators Toomey and Casey should renominate Rebecca Haywood.

Trump’s Anti-Environment Judicial Nominees Could Lead to Polluted Air and Water (Center for American Progress, 07/27/17)
Billy Corriher: The president has recently nominated two young lawyers—both under 40 years old—with a history of working for groups tied to the Koch brothers and other polluters to 15-year terms on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The first nominee, Damien Schiff, is a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a group that often sues the federal government when the government seeks to enforce environmental laws. Like another recently confirmed judicial nominee, Schiff has a history of writing blog posts that denigrate LGBT people and even Supreme Court justices. A few months ago, he wrote that Earth Day is “a threat to individual liberty and property rights.” Schiff once said that the EPA treats American citizens like “slaves” during an interview on CNN.... The nominations of Schwartz and Schiff are in line with the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda.... If they are confirmed, Schwartz and Schiff could make it easier for oil companies and other corporations to sue the EPA or other government agencies for compensation when regulations cost them money.

Another Voice: Renominate Sweet for federal court (Buffalo News [NY], 07/27/17)
Carl Tobias: On March 15, 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Kathleen Sweet, a longtime Western District of New York legal practitioner to an empty seat on that federal court. She is a very qualified, moderate nominee with the powerful support of New York Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sweet on a voice vote last September with no dissent. Nonetheless, her nomination expired Jan. 3 because Republican obstruction denied her nomination debate and a vote. Because Sweet is a highly qualified, mainstream nominee and the Western District of New York requires this vacancy to be filled, President Trump must promptly renominate, and the Senate must swiftly confirm, her.... Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand should urge President Trump to promptly nominate Sweet again, just as he recently renominated Judge David Nye and Dean Scott Palk, well-qualified, mainstream Obama nominees who had previously earned committee approval like Sweet.

LGBT Rights Groups Adamantly Oppose Judicial Nominees (Findlaw, 07/25/17)
U.S. Sixth Circuit Blog by William Vogeler: If attorneys John Bush and Damien Schiff were running for office, they might have been well-suited to serve in the Republican-controlled Congress. Bush has made politically polarizing comments about issues such same sex-marriage, abortion, and women's rights. Schiff has publicly disparaged gays and even said states should be allowed to criminalize consensual sodomy. But Bush and Schiff are in the running for judicial appointments. ... Schiff has been more transparent in his blogs. For Schiff, that was a problem. He called Justice Anthony Kennedy, who present for the hearing, a "judicial prostitute."

Senate confirms pro-Trump birther to be a U.S. Court of Appeals judge: Trump nominated a judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit infamous for promoting conspiracy theories (Salon.com, 07/24/17)
Matthew Rozsa: Although Republicans like Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana expressed dismay with confirming a man whose blog posts were notoriously incendiary and riddled with sourcing errors (mainly because of Bush’s reliance on alt right material), they nevertheless voted in favor of his confirmation. The fact that he was strongly supported by his fellow Kentuckian, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, most likely played a role in that.

We can't let Trump pack the court with radicals (The Hill, 07/24/17)
Ilyse Hogue: Gorsuch is not just a conservative justice — he’s an activist justice. ... John K. Bush, Trump’s newly confirmed nominee to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ... authored over 400 posts under the pseudonym “G Morris” on a Kentucky political blog. Lo and behold, Bush wasn’t an objective potential jurist seeking to call “balls and strikes,” as Chief Justice Roberts once said. He was an angry, misogynistic ideologue ... Bush’s political ideology, and his ability to infect the law with his beliefs, is precisely why he was nominated in the first place.

Trump Leaving His Mark on Federal Courts (Jost on Justice: Law & Justice Blog, 07/23/17)
Kenneth Jost: Trump picked up a win last week when the Senate confirmed an anti-gay conservative lawyer and intemperate political blogger to the federal appeals court for the four-state circuit that includes my home state, Tennessee. John Bush won confirmation to the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by a strictly party-line vote of 51-47…. the political rants that he posted for years under a pseudonym on a political blog created by his wife mark him as lacking the judicial temperament and sound judgment that are as important, if not more so, than academic and professional credentials…. With political independence in short supply among GOP senators, a president who openly disdains the rule of law is on a path to leaving a lasting, black mark on the federal judiciary.

Editorial: Maintaining an independent judiciary is critical for democracy (St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MO], 07/23/17)
"Efforts to control that independent branch of government have prompted debate on an obscure Senate rule called the “blue-slip” process. Billionaire industrialist brothers David and Charles Koch, among leaders of the effort, urged supporters at a recent private retreat to work against the rule. The 100-year-old rule keeps judicial nominees from moving forward in Senate confirmation if a home-state senator objects. … The stakes are high. Trump arrived in office with more than 100 vacancies to fill on the federal bench, partly because Senate Republicans blocked many of President Barack Obama’s nominees…. Congressional rules that aim to keep the branches of government operating within the two-party system must be carefully preserved…. Efforts by billionaires to undermine judicial independence threaten our democracy."

Letter to the Editor: Male court sustained (Times-Tribune [PA] , 07/23/17)
Kadida Kenner, Why Courts Matter – PA: Last month, the Trump administration decided to stay the course and nominate another white man for a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals seat.... Sen. Pat Toomey blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Judge Rendell, Rebecca Haywood ... Haywood’s confirmation would have been only the 21st federal court confirmation in the last two years of Obama’s presidency. There were 83 confirmed under President Reagan during the same period of his presidency, 72 under President Bill Clinton and 68 under President George W. Bush.... the 3rd Circuit in Pennsylvania will continue to rank among the worst gender-balanced appeals courts in the nation. There’s still a second opening on the court — Toomey and Sen. Bob Casey should renominate Haywood.

Pa.’s senators must promote gender diversity in federal courts (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette [PA], 07/21/17)
KADIDA KENNER, Why Courts Matter – PA: the Trump administration decided to stay the course and nominate another white man for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seat .... Sen. Pat Toomey blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Judge Rendell for the 3rd Circuit, Rebecca Haywood, when Mr. Toomey refused to submit his home-state blue slip allowing for a judicial hearing for Ms. Haywood. For nearly one year, Ms. Haywood, an African-American and highly qualified assistant U.S. attorney from Western Pennsylvania, waited ... and the 3rd Circuit continues to lack gender diversity and the perspective of an African-American woman on its bench. For anyone keeping score, Ms. Haywood’s confirmation would have been only the 21st federal court confirmation in Mr. Obama’s last two years of his presidency, compared with Ronald Reagan with 83, Bill Clinton with 72 and George W. Bush with 68 .... There’s still a second opening on the 3rd Circuit, and Sens. Toomey and Bob Casey should renominate Rebecca Haywood.

Letter to the Editor: Republican tactics block gender diversity on bench (Erie Times-News [PA], 07/21/17)
Kadida Kenner, Why Courts Matter — Pennsylvania: Sen. Pat Toomey blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Rendell for the 3rd Circuit, Rebecca Haywood, when Toomey refused to submit his home-state blue slip allowing for a judicial hearing for Haywood. For nearly one year, Haywood, an African American and highly qualified assistant U.S. attorney from western Pennsylvania, waited for the opportunity to have a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Haywood’s nomination ultimately expired in January, and the 3rd Circuit continues to lack gender diversity and the perspective of an African-American woman on its bench.... I’m sure Toomey will vote the party line and support the current nomination of the new nominee, University of Pennsylvania criminal law professor Stephanos Bibas, to fill the seat that rightfully belongs to Haywood. There’s still a second opening on the 3rd Circuit. Sens. Toomey and Bob Casey should renominate Haywood.

Conservative Political Blogger Confirmed For Seat On Federal Appeals Court (National Public Radio, 07/20/17)
NINA TOTENBERG: Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., caustically added that after reviewing Bush's blogs, he was "not impressed." Shortly after the hearing, a clearly disgusted Kennedy said he did not know how he would vote on the nomination, but on Thursday he joined the Senate's other Republican members in voting to confirm the nominee. Few observers thought Kennedy would ultimately vote against Bush's confirmation, in view of the fact that Bush is from Kentucky, and given that, his nomination was made not just by President Trump, but behind the scenes by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. Crossing your own party leader is not something senators like to do, and Kennedy didn't.

Anti-LGBTQ Judicial Nominees: Too Biased for the Bench (Medium, 07/20/17)
Harper Jean Tobin: Unfortunately, Bush is no outlier. President Trump’s pick for a seat in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Damien Schiff, has a record that demonstrates, in the words of a letter joined by NCTE and other LGBT advocates, “plain contempt for the rights of LGBT Americans.” Further, Schiff has flat-out denied the legitimacy of Title IX, a critical federal law that guarantees equal treatment for trans students. The shameless bias that Schiff, Bush, and other nominees freely espouse is simply unacceptable for judicial nominees, for our federal bench, and for our entire system of justice.... Another nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Stephen S. Schwartz, ... helped craft arguments that federal laws offer no protection to trans people. While a lawyer’s choice of client is not, in itself, generally considered a valid ground for criticizing nominees, Schwartz’s involvement in making far-reaching legal arguments in these high-profile cases should prompt close scrutiny of his own views and possible biases.

The one area where Trump has been wildly successful (Washington Post, 07/20/17)
Ronald A. Klain: while President Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers.... Trump’s picks are astoundingly young.... How conservative are Trump’s picks? Dubbed “polemicists in robes” in a headline on a piece by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick, Trump’s nominees are strikingly . . . Trumpian. One Trump nominee blogged that Kennedy was a “judicial prostitute” for trying to find a middle ground on the court, and said that he “strongly disagree[d]” with the court’s decision striking down prosecution of gay people under sodomy laws. Another equated the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, upholding a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion, to the court’s 19th-century Dred Scott finding that black people could not be U.S. citizens. Another advocated an Alabama law that denied counsel to death-row inmates.... Republican leaders are threatening to curtail “blue slip” rights that allow senators to block unacceptable home-state nominees; Trump is nominating candidates before they are reviewed by the American Bar Association; Judiciary Committee Republicans are arguing that nominees’ writings, legal representations and public statements are irrelevant to confirmation. Democrats should oppose these changes in the process .... Second, Democrats need to overcome their historic unease about working closely with progressive legal groups.

The Senate Just Confirmed an Anti-Gay Blogger to the Federal Judiciary (Slate.com, 07/20/17)
Mark Joseph Stern: The Trump administration’s assault on LGBTQ rights scored a major victory on Thursday when the Senate confirmed John K. Bush to the powerful 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Bush, perhaps Trump’s most controversial nominee to the lower courts, has a long history of making homophobic and sexist comments during his years as an anonymous blogger. Yet every Republican senator (except the absent John McCain) voted to confirm him. ... Bush’s record overflows with offensive, archaic, and bizarre comments, many directed toward women and sexual minorities.... In the coming days, the Senate will also vote on Damien Schiff’s nomination to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which considers environmental and regulatory lawsuits. Schiff has written that the Constitution does not bar states from criminalizing homosexuality. He also declared in 2009 that a California law prohibiting bullying wrongly taught “that the homosexual lifestyle is a good, and that homosexual families are the moral equivalent of traditional heterosexual families.” His article was entitled “Teaching ‘Gayness’ in Public Schools.”

Something else for Little Rock to live down (Arkansas Times, 07/20/17)
Arkansas Blog by Max Brantley: Think Progress expects John Bush, a Little Rock native who practices law in Lousiville, to be confirmed as a 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge in a party line 51-48 vote this afternoon. The article gives some of the many reasons Bush is unfit for the post — anti-gay, anti-women's rights, probably a birther, anti-press ... One point against him is locally relevant: Bush in Senate hearings disclaimed much knowledge of Brown v. Board of Education. Hey, one of the most important cases in the annals of the country happened before he was born. What's a guy to do? He also disclaimed knowledge of "controversy" caused by Brown. The little ol' school dustup in his hometown of Little Rock occurred before he was born, too. Maybe that wasn't controversy. ... Rep. John Lewis perhaps could inform him of a few other controversies that followed elsewhere over requiring schools to serve white and black children equally. And, I should add, the beat goes on in his very own hometown. Sad!

Oh, Look. Trump's New Judge Compared Abortion to Slavery. (Esquire, 07/20/17)
Charles P. Pierce: The selection of judges has been outsourced to the Federalist Society and to Heritage—in other words, to the cream of the conservative legal intelligentsia. And this, pretty much, is what you get.... This is not judicial temperament. This is a tryout for drive-time talk radio.

No place for bigotry on the bench (Troy Daily News [OH], 07/20/17)
Sen. Sherrod Brown - Contributing Columnist: This week, I took to the Senate Floor to shine a light on the president’s nominee to join the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, John K. Bush. This man has a clear record of promoting bigotry and discrimination that has no place in our courts, ... We cannot allow the bar to be lowered for what is considered acceptable behavior by members of the federal bench.

Senate set to confirm unhinged right-wing blogger to powerful court; The Donald Trump of judges. (Think Progress, 07/20/17)
Ian Millhiser: John Bush is a lawyer who, for many years, wrote for a conservative blog under a pseudonym.... The opposition to Bush’s nomination, which has grown to include every Democrat in the Senate, focuses less on his resume and more on his history of publishing deeply conservative views on a blog run by his wife — as well as similar views offered in various speeches.

Senate will vote today on right-wing blogger nominated by Trump for court of appeals (NC Policy Watch, 07/20/17)
Rob Schofield: Bush has recorded his extremist views in a blog full of rhetoric so inflammatory as to call into serious question his ability to serve as an impartial judge. ... he blog is full of personal attacks on those with whom he disagrees. He has no particular qualifications for the bench besides his right-wing views.... As Supreme Court expert Ian Millhiser of the Center for American Progress explains in an excellent post, “this is not normal.” What’s more, Bush’s legal views are extreme on an array of issues

PANTS ON FIRE: Trump’s Judicial Pick John Bush Lies to the Senate About Comparing Abortion to Slavery; Unreported testimony shows a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals nominee transparently lied to the Senate about his extremist views. (Daily Beast, 07/19/17)
Jay Michaelson: Bush will become both the most appalling extremist on the federal bench, and a judge who lied to Congress. As has been well reported, Bush has had long career as an extreme right-wing blogger, under his own name and under the pseudonym ‘G. Morris.’ This has led to significant liberal opposition and even a hashtag, #StopBush.. But what has gone unreported until now is how duplicitous, evasive, and outright deceptive Judge Bush was in defending the statements to the Senate, as revealed in the official record of his answers to questions senators posed to him. Bush’s responses to Senators who pressed him on these statements indicate that he is unrepentant, uncooperative, and uninterested in the democratic process by which judges are confirmed.... they are so baldly, shamelessly, transparently preposterous that they cannot be maintained to be true. Which means that he is also a liar.

Letter: Federal Court gender imbalance continues in Pennsylvania (Lebanon Daily News [PA], 07/19/17)
Kadida Kenner, Why Courts Matter – PA: Senator Toomey blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Judge Rendell for the 3rd Circuit, Rebecca Haywood, when Toomey refused to submit his home-state blue slip allowing for a judicial hearing for Haywood. For nearly one year, Haywood, an African-American and highly-qualified Assistant U.S. Attorney from Western PA, waited ... I’m sure Senator Toomey will vote the party line and support the current nomination of the Heritage-Foundation-approved nominee, University of Pennsylvania criminal law professor Stephanos Bibas, to fill the seat that rightfully belongs to Rebecca Haywood. And with Bibas’ nomination, the Third Circuit in Pennsylvania will continue to rank among the worst gender-balanced Circuit Court of Appeals in the nation. There's still a second opening on the 3rd Circuit - Senators Toomey and Casey should renominate Rebecca Haywood.

Casey, Toomey need to right the gender and racial imbalance on Pa.'s 3rd Circuit Appeals Court: Opinion (PennLive [PA], 07/18/17)
Guest Editorial By Kadida Kenner, Why Courts Matter - PA: the Trump administration decided to stay the course and nominate another white man for the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals seat, a seat soon to be vacated due to the retirement of former Pennsylvania first lady, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell. Even with Rendell on the bench, Pennsylvania has the second worst gender imbalance of all the federal courts in the nation at 17 percent. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., blocked former President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Judge Rendell for the 3rd Circuit, Rebecca Haywood, when Toomey refused to submit his home-state blue slip allowing for a judicial hearing for Haywood. For nearly a year, Haywood, an African-American and highly-qualified Assistant U.S. Attorney from western Pennsylvania, waited .... Haywood's confirmation would have only been the 21st federal court confirmation in Obama's last two years of his presidency, compared to Reagan with 83, Clinton with 72 and G.W. Bush with 68 ... There's still a second opening on the 3rd Circuit - Toomey and and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., should re-nominate Rebecca Haywood.

“Pa. needs more diversity in federal appeals courts” (CA3blog, 07/18/17)
Matthew Stiegler: Kadida Kenner of Why Courts Matter PA, had this letter today on LehighValleyLive. The letter decries the Third Circuit’s gender imbalance. It also calls for the renomination of Rebecca Haywood to fill the second open PA seat on the court, noting: "For anyone keeping score, Haywood’s confirmation would have only been the 21st federal court confirmation in Obama’s last two years of his presidency, compared to Ronald Reagan with 83, Bill Clinton with 72 and George Bush with 68 confirmations during their final two years."

Pa. needs more diversity in federal appeals courts | Letter (Express-Times [PA], 07/18/17)
Kadida Kenner, Why Courts Matter-PA: Last month the Trump administration nominates another white man for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals seat, a seat soon to be vacated by the retirement of Judge Marjorie Rendell. Even with Rendell on the bench, Pennsylvania has the second worst gender imbalance of all federal courts at 17 percent. Sen. Pat Toomey blocked President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Rendell for the Third Circuit, Rebecca Haywood. For nearly a year, Haywood, an African-American and highly-qualified assistant U.S. Attorney from western Pennsylvania, waited for the opportunity for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. ... Haywood's confirmation would have only been the 21st federal court confirmation in Obama's last two years of his presidency, compared to Ronald Reagan with 83, Bill Clinton with 72 and George Bush with 68 confirmations during their final two years. Because of obstruction by Senate Republicans, there are more than 120 vacancies on our federal court benches.... There's a second opening on the Third Circuit. Toomey and Sen. Bob Casey should renominate Rebecca Haywood.

Trump nominates hyper-partisan conservative activist to NC federal court vacancy: Why this is not “business as usual” and should not be condoned (NC Policy Watch, 07/18/17)
Rob Schofield: the GOP-dominated Senate is moving quickly to approve a bevy of new hardliners – including a conservative blogger from Kentucky named John K. Bush who authored scores of offensive posts under a pseudonym before Trump saw fit to nominate him to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.... Last week, the conservative courts putsch reached North Carolina when Trump nominated a right-wing activist lawyer named Thomas Farr to fill a seat on U.S. District Court for the Eastern District – the oldest vacancy in the federal system. As readers will no doubt recall, the Eastern District seat has stood vacant for more than a decade – including the entire Obama presidency – thanks to Senator Richard Burr’s stubborn refusal to allow either of President Obama’s two nominees to receive a hearing. ... Unlike both of the individuals advanced by President Obama (federal prosecutor Jennifer May-Parker and veteran state court judge Patricia Timmons-Goodson) Thomas Farr is not an experienced public servant. Rather, he is a lifelong partisan activist who has spent four decades advancing the hard right agenda.... the hard and striking reality that: a) Farr is yet another white male being nominated in an region that has never, in the entire history of the nation, been served by a federal judge of color (both May-Parker and Timmons-Goodson are African-American), b) the Eastern District includes all of the counties in the state that are greater than 50% African-American in population and has the greatest percentage of African-Americans of any region in the state, and c) Farr has dedicated big chunks of his career to abetting controversial conservative efforts with respect to voting rights of African-Americans,

Blue Slips: Safeguard or Relic for Federal Judicial Appointments? (Nonprofit Quarterly, 07/18/17)
Carole Levine: The makeup of the Senate almost ensures that nominees who are voted out of the Judiciary Committee will receive the needed 51 votes for approval in the Senate, especially since the filibuster is no longer an option. But if blue slips are honored by Grassley, they could stop a nominee from advancing to a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.... The practice of using blue slips to halt a nomination is, perhaps, now more important than ever before.

Your view: Renominate Obama pick for Third Circuit (Times Leader [PA] , 07/18/17)
Kadida Kenner: the Trump administration decided to stay the course and nominate another white man for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a seat soon to be vacated due to the retirement of former Pennsylvania first lady, Marjorie Rendell. Even with Rendell on the bench, Pennsylvania has the second-worst gender imbalance of all the federal courts in the nation at 17 percent. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, blocked former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Rendell, Rebecca Haywood, when Toomey refused to submit his home-state blue slip, allowing for a judicial hearing for Haywood. For nearly a year, Haywood, an African-American and highly qualified assistant U.S. attorney from western Pennsylvania, waited for the opportunity to have a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing .... There’s still a second opening on the Third Circuit. Toomey and Casey should renominate Rebecca Haywood.

Every LGBTQ Rights Group You’ve Ever Heard Of Opposes Two Of Trump’s Judicial Picks: John Bush and Damien Schiff “would cause grave harm” to LGBTQ people and women, reads a new letter to senators. (Huffington Post, 07/17/17)
Jennifer Bendery: A whopping 27 LGBTQ rights groups on Monday urged the Senate to reject two of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, John Bush and Damien Schiff. In a letter to all senators, groups including Lambda Legal and the Human Rights Campaign say both nominees’ views on civil rights “are fundamentally at odds with the notion that LGBT people are entitled to equality, liberty, justice and dignity under the law.”