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A project tracking federal judicial nominations and courts.

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7 Reasons Feminists Should Resist John Bush’s Appointment to a Federal Bench (Ms. Magazine, 06/20/17)
Ciarra Davison: President Trump nominated Kentucky lawyer John Bush for the 6th Circuit Court. With the power to make important decisions regarding the well-being of citizens—including persecuted communities—the position of a federal judge must not be considered lightly. Unfortunately, Bush has proven himself to be a dangerous nominee. For these seven reasons and more, feminists should resist Bush’s appointment....

Edit Memo: Trump’s Judges: This is Not Normal (People For blog, 06/20/17)
Paul Gordon: The nominations of John K. Bush and Damien Schiff are truly bizarre, and their confirmation would spread the decay of our democratic norms into the judicial branch, the most important bulwark we have against Trump’s overreaching and corruption. Both men have records so atrocious that it’s amazing they could even be considered for the federal bench. PFAW has explained why the Judiciary Committee should reject Damien Schiff’s nomination to the Court of Federal Claims and why John K. Bush should not be confirmed to the 6th Circuit. Here is a quick summary ... In any other administration, these men would never have made it through the vetting the process. And in any other time, even if they somehow were nominated, they would face unanimous opposition from the Judiciary Committee.

Liberals Hope To Take Down Trump’s Judicial Nominee With A Controversial Blogging Past (BuzzFeed, 06/19/17)
Zoe Tillman: At a Senate hearing last week for one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, John Bush, the harshest criticism came from an unexpected source: a Republican. ... Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee pressed Bush about his controversial writings as a pseudonymous conservative political blogger, including his comments comparing abortion to slavery, and posts about President Obama’s Kenyan heritage. ... But when it was Sen. John Kennedy’s turn to speak, the Louisiana Republican, ... had only one thing to say. “Mr. Bush, I’ve read your blogs,” Kennedy said, shaking his head. “I’m not impressed.” ... North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis did say he had “concerns” about Bush’s blogging. He asked if Bush believed that impartiality on the bench was an aspiration or an expectation. “[Impartiality] is an aspiration,” Bush said. “I will do my best to be impartial.” That was not the answer that Tillis was looking for. “I actually have a concern with someone who thinks that impartiality is aspiration. I think it’s an expectation,” Tillis said. Notably, the lone member of the Senate Judiciary Committee whom Bush directly criticized in his blog posts, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, wasn’t at the hearing.

Despite its other failures, GOP poised to move courts to the right (Maddow Blog {MSNBC], 06/19/17)
Steve Benen: Many conservatives who recognized Trump’s profound flaws last year voted for him anyway because they wanted to move the judiciary to the far-right, and they knew a Republican White House and a Republican Senate could deliver, filling vacancies McConnell created by blocking Obama-era nominees.... they’re embracing jurists who are ridiculous even by 2017 standards. Indeed, Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick had a striking piece the other day, explaining that the White House and Senate Republicans are advancing “polemicists and bomb-throwers, performance artist lawyers who have spent their intellectual lives staking out absurd and often abhorrent legal positions.” In a 2007 post on his personal blog, [37-year-old Damien Schiff, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims] wrote, “It would seem that Justice [Anthony] Kennedy is (and please excuse the language) a judicial prostitute, '" ... John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky, is in some ways worse. ThinkProgress noted last week that the conservative jurist used his blogging platform to highlight, among other things, content from WorldNetDaily, a fringe conspiracy theory website.

Juan Wilder: Sen. Franken peppered Atty. Bush with a variety of questions to probe into the nominee’s birther beliefs and conspiracy theories. If he were looking to embarrass Bush, he succeeded ...suggesting that he appears unfit to serve on the circuit court because he cannot answer how he decides if a news source is credible or not when blogging

Meet One of Trump’s New Judicial Nominees (Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog, 06/19/17)
Ed Brayton: A lawyer named John Kenneth Bush has been nominated by Trump for a spot on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Michigan, and he has a long track record of quoting fake news and making outrageous claims in a blog he wrote under a pseudonym.... his excuse, offered with a straight face: I was being “political” and a judge is never political, so it’s all cool.... If I were on the Senate Judiciary Committee, here’s the question I would have asked after he said that: “Mr. Bush, precisely how stupid do you think we are?” His blog promoted birtherism and all manner of bizarre, racist claims. He also has written that New York Times v Sullivan, an absolutely crucial ruling in protecting freedom of the press in this country, was wrongly decided. ... It was a 9-0 decision, which tells you how far outside the judicial mainstream this guy is.

WATCH: Al Franken hammers Trump judicial appointee for pushing ‘conspiracy theories and white nationalism’ (Raw Story, 06/17/17)
Bob Brigham: A conservative attorney seeking approval after President Donald Trump nominated him to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ran into a buzzsaw on Thursday when Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) confronted him with his history of pushing racist conspiracy theories online. Judicial nominee John Kenneth Bush posted over 400 blog stories under the alias ‘G. Morris’ that included links to such dubious publications as World News Daily.

Trump Is Appointing Racist Fake News Purveyors to the Federal Bench: A radical transformation of the judiciary is underway.  (Nation, 06/16/17)
George Zornick: this week featured some remarkable moments as Democrats pressed several appointees of President Donald Trump on their exceptionally radical views. Trump nominated John K. Bush, a lawyer from Louisville, to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. ... he frequently espoused phony stories from paranoid right-wing internet corners, including those that advanced the racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. He often quoted stories from WorldNetDaily.... Damien Schiff, Trump’s nominee for the US Court of Federal Claims, also ran a blog ... he called Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute.” ... This was too much for Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who made it clear he thinks Schiff was nominated because of his far-right views, particularly on the rights of corporations, ... Trump is rapidly filling up the federal bench, which is relatively barren thanks to eight years of Republican obstruction in the Senate. ... And the records of his nominees are unprecedented. Kristine Lucius worked for fourteen years as a top legal and policy adviser to former Senate Judiciary Chairman and ranking member Patrick Leahy. She is now an executive vice president at the Leadership Conference, and told The Nation she was shocked by the Schiff and Bush nominations. “I’ve literally worked on hundreds of judicial nomination hearings, and I have never seen one with records like this,” she said. “I have found it stunning that two individuals with this kind of controversial written record made it through the vetting process.”

5 Things You Should Know About Trump’s Court of Federal Claims Nominee (National Women's Law Center blog, 06/16/17)
Jillian Edmonds: He once described Justice Anthony Kennedy as a “judicial prostitute.”... He has said that Title IX should not apply to high school sports, despite decades of policy and precedent.

Another day in Trumplandia: A fake-news blogger is tapped for the federal bench (Newsworks , 06/16/17)
NATIONAL INTEREST A BLOG BY DICK POLMAN: the two bomb-throwing bloggers who appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Yup, bloggers. In their day jobs, John Bush and Damien Schiff are attorneys; in their off hours, they've indulged their incendiary ids and told people what they really think. ...Schiff, who works for a conservative legal foundation and has been tapped for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, once wrote in a post that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is "a judicial prostitute," .... Schiff and Bush both insisted that whatever they've blogged in the past would in no way influence their thinking on the federal bench — a fascinating argument, because it basically suggests that the donning of black robes would magically cleanse their minds of all their gut beliefs. It also implies that confirmation hearings are a waste of time, that senators should ignore a nominee's track record .... given the fact that John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer tapped for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals, had repeatedly written blogs that drew material from fake news websites ... well, Franken didn't think that was very good judgment.... he can't explain whether or to what extent he judged the "news" sources to be fake or true. Thanks to Franken's questions, it would appear that Bush gave us a glimpse of his true self.

Senators Grill Trump Judicial Nominees On Provocative Blog Posts (National Public Radio, 06/15/17)
Nina Totenberg: Trump has more than 130 judicial vacancies to fill on the federal courts. The number is unusually large because Republicans blocked dozens of Obama appointees — including uncontroversial ones .... At Wednesday's hearing, the two nominees found themselves trying to explain hundreds of their own blog posts, posts they admitted were "intemperate" and "political." The posts included material ranging from radical rants, to conspiracy theories and false allegations.... John Bush, a Kentucky lawyer nominated to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, said he regretted some of his 400-plus posts, all published under a fake name .... While Bush adopted an apologetic tone, a second nominee, Damien Schiff, was far more confrontational. Schiff, a senior attorney with the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation in California, is nominated to sit on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He has a long record challenging everything from environmental regulations, to health and safety laws, to gay rights laws. In one of his many blog posts, Schiff called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a "judicial prostitute."...Schiff accused Kennedy, who often casts the fifth and deciding vote in closely divided cases, of "selling his vote ... to four other justices in exchange for the high that comes from the aggrandizement of power and influence, and the blandishments of the fawning media." Schiff only marginally backed away from those words on Wednesday. "The point of that blog post was not to impugn or malign any person," he insisted, "but rather to attack a certain style of judging that is frequently applauded in the media."

Trump can stack the judiciary for years. That's why Republicans stick with him (Guardian News and Media, 06/15/17)
Corey Robin: So what keeps the Republican party, particularly the elite sectors, with Trump? I’ve begun to think it all comes down to the judiciary. Trump has gotten one supreme court appointment, he may well get more, and he’s moved more quickly on lower-court appointments than Obama did. The legal arm of the conservative movement is probably the best organized, most far-reaching and far-seeing sector of the right. They truly are playing – and have been playing – the long game. Control the supreme court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement, no matter how popular it is, no matter how much legislative power it has, for decades. It may seem ironic that a movement that came to power on the basis, in part, of a populist surge against “activist judges” would come to rely upon the judiciary as its most dependable weapon. But it’s not ... Going back to the rotten boroughs and lords of early 19th-century Britain, the right has long relied upon the least democratic sectors of the state. With this embrace of the judiciary as its last bastion of power, the right has come home.

Amid Trump Chaos, Republicans Keep Their Eyes on the Big Prize: The Courts "Control the Supreme Court, stack the judiciary, and you can stop the progressive movement... for decades," Corey Robin wrote (Common Dreams, 06/15/17)
Jake Johnson: Republicans have their collective gaze fixed on a prize they have coveted for years: complete domination of the judiciary.... Three of the finalists—Kevin Newsom, Damien Schiff, and John Bush—sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for their confirmation hearings .... Since the hearings came to a close on Wednesday, commentators have expressed alarm about how little attention the fact that individuals with such records could soon fill the ranks of the judiciary is receiving

Senate should hold court nominees to a high standard (Greensboro News & Record [NC], 06/15/17)
Doug Clark: yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for a couple of court nominees. It was extraordinary, according to reporting by NPR, Politico and Alliance for Justice. Senators of both parties seemed dismayed by past statements or writings of John Bush and Damien Schiff, both nominated by Trump. Schiff, nominated for a seat on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, once referred to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as a "judicial prostitute"... Bush, nominated to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, has written extensively on his wife's blog, embracing alt-right notions, including the false claim that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. "Mr. Bush, I've read your blogs," Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said. "I'm not impressed."... Bush and Schiff don't seem much like Neil Gorsuch, Trump's highly qualified and temperate nominee for the Supreme Court. I hope the Senate will set an appropriately high standard for all lower-court candidates, and that the public will pay attention.

The Most Important Senate Hearing You Didn’t Hear Anything About This Week: It’s always a bad sign when a judicial nominee has to begin his hearing with an apology. (Huffington Post, 06/15/17)
Sammie Moshenberg: Kevin Newsom appeared thanks to the fact that Alabama senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby refused to return their blue slips, signing off on President Obama’s nominee, Judge Abdul Kallon who would have been the first African-American to sit on the 11th Circuit from Alabama.... John K. Bush attracted most of what questions could be squeezed in during the single round of five-minutes per senator.... Sen. Franken hammered Bush on his reliance on racist fake-news sources. Bush refused to answer why he used such a widely discredited source. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), one of the more conservative committee members, humphed that he was not “impressed” by his blogs.... Damien Schiff from the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) got his turn.... Schiff had called Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute,” a remark that was universally decried and certainly raised the question about his legal temperament. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) observed that if an Obama nominee had insulted Justice Kennedy that way, “the other side’s hair would be on fire!” A staff attorney at the Koch Brothers-funded Pacific Legal Foundation which is devoted to undoing the ‘regulatory state’ established by the New Deal, Schiff shares the PLF’s animosity towards environmentalists, the EPA, OSHA, labor unions, and any campaign finance laws (a partial list).... Senator Franken was openly incredulous at Schiff’s piece “Teaching Gayness in Public Schools” which excoriates anti-bullying curricula.

Commentary: Three of Trump’s extreme judicial nominees get hearing; Tillis actually expresses concern about at least one (Progressive Pulse [NC], 06/15/17)
Rob Schofield: If you want to see and be profoundly depressed by the views of three of the men recently nominated by Donald Trump to the federal judiciary, check out the video of yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing considering the nominations of John Bush and Kevin Newsom to be federal appeals court judges and Damien Schiff to be a judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour hearing, all three men — and particularly Bush and Schiff — go to extreme and downright laughable lengths to pretend that their past lives as right-wing advocates dispensing extreme views (Schiff called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute” in a blog post) are completely irrelevant to their new gigs. .... Bush ... even drew some mild rebukes from a couple of Republican senators. Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana told Bush “I’ve read your blogs. I’m not impressed.” He also asked Schiff to apologize for his attack on Justice Kennedy — a demand to which Schiff readily acceded.... Tillis then tossed out the soft ball question: “Do you think that impartiality is an aspiration or an absolute expectation?” When Bush, rather surprisingly and clumsily said that he saw it as an aspiration, Tillis disagreed. “I actually have a concern with someone who thinks that impartiality is an aspiration. I think it’s an expectation.” Newsom was only too happy to avoid Bush’s blunder and parrot Tillis’ opinion.

Al Franken grills Trump judicial nominee for spreading fake news: “That’s disturbing” (Shareblue, 06/15/17)
Dan Desai Martin: Donald Trump nominated a far-right Kentucky lawyer a federal appeals court seat. At his confirmation hearing, Sen. Al Franken exposed his terrible judgment — including citing websites that peddle in white nationalism and conspiracy theories.... “One of the qualities I look for in a judge is judgment,” Franken said. He then started his questions to the rightwing blogger seeking a seat on the circuit court by asking about judgment and how Bush decided to site World News Daily, a site Franken described as “a website known for peddling conspiracy theories, fake news, and white nationalism,” in his posts. It went downhill for Bush from there, who squirmed and struggled to defend his judgment in relying on a fake news site for his far-right writings.... Despite Franken asking the same question multiple times, Bush was not able to explain why he would use a racist fake news site to write his “political statements.”... Anyone who peddles in conspiracy theories and flirts with white nationalist websites has no business being nominated, let alone confirmed, to a federal court.

Another Bad Bush. (Free Thought Blogs, 06/15/17)
Lakin Ogunbanwo: John K. Bush, one of Trump’s federal judicial nominees, found himself in the position of having defend previous blog posts, which cited heavily from WorldNetDaily ... There’s a heaping dose of flaming stupid. I didn’t exist at the time of Brown either, but I’m certainly aware of it, and aware of the massive divisiveness it caused, ripples of which abound to this day. You would have to be somewhere in the realm of complete dedication to ignorance to claim unawareness in this regard

Polemicists in Robes: The president’s latest batch of bomb-throwing judicial nominees will transform the federal bench for generations to come. (, 06/15/17)
Dahlia Lithwick: Given the option to put up any number of nominees with moderate temperaments and conservative but sane academic or intellectual records—conservatives in the mold of Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s successful choice for the Supreme Court—the decision seems to have been made that these jobs should instead go to polemicists and bomb-throwers, performance artist lawyers who have spent their intellectual lives staking out absurd and often abhorrent legal positions. On Wednesday, three of them had a turn before the Senate Judiciary Committee [including] 52-year-old John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky; and 37-year-old Damien Schiff, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ....

Hearing Does Not Allay Concerns About Bush, Schiff (Justice Watch, 06/14/17)
"Senator Whitehouse rightly highlighted the White House’s and some Republicans’ refusal to scrutinize the records of Bush and Schiff, saying, for example, “if President Obama had sent a nominee that had called Justice Kennedy a judicial prostitute, the other side of this dais would have its hair on fire about that.” ... Even Republicans expressed concern about [John K.] Bush’s blog posts.... Bush could not explain why he cited to articles from radical, alt-right websites, including WorldNetDaily, that peddle white nationalism and debunked conspiracy theories.... Damien Schiff ... misled the Committee, claiming that he had not intended to call Justice Kennedy a “judicial prostitute,” but instead, had been lodging a criticism against the media. Schiff’s direct quote is: “It would seem that Justice Kennedy is . . . a judicial prostitute, ‘selling’ his vote as it were to four other Justices in exchange for the high that comes from aggrandizement of power and influence, and the blandishments of the fawning media and legal academy.” ... Schiff refused to answer Senator Franken’s questions about how a school district’s efforts to curb bullying aimed at LGBT students was tantamount to “teaching gayness” in schools."

Trump Judicial Nominee Forced To Defend Blog Post Citing Birther Website (Right Wing Watch, 06/14/17)
Miranda Blue: One of President Trump’s federal judicial nominees was forced during his confirmation hearing today to defend a blog post he wrote that extensively cited the “reporting” of WorldNetDaily, a conservative website that was a primary driver of the birther conspiracy theory about President Obama. John K. Bush of Kentucky, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who has been nominated to sit on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, has a troubling history for a potential federal judge, including once using an anti-gay slur in a speech. ... Bush’s use of WorldNetDaily as a source of information, especially about the topic of President Obama’s Kenyan heritage, raises major alarm bells about his judgment and impartiality. Sen Al. Franken addressed this during an exchange with Bush at today’s hearing, in which Bush repeatedly refused to answer how he goes about deciding what is a reliable source of information.

Thoughts on Today’s Judiciary Committee Hearing [Damien Schiff] (Vetting Room, 06/14/17)
Harsh Voruganti: Walking into this hearing, Damien Schiff was likely the easiest nominee to oppose, given his inflammatory writing, including his reference to Justice Anthony Kennedy as a “judicial prostitute.”... Sen. Franken seriously questioned Schiff’s blogging. Schiff’s explanation that the term was intended to criticize the media’s reporting on the Supreme Court (an explanation that falls apart the moment you actually read the entire post) was never challenged.

Thoughts on Today’s Judiciary Committee Hearing [on John K. Bush] (Vetting Room, 06/14/17)
Harsh Voruganti: It was a Bad Day for John Bush – John Bush went into this hearing having already faced sustained opposition from liberal groups over his blogging and his speeches. ... Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Franken took Bush to task over his writings, focusing on his criticism of Roe v. Wade and his citing of conspiracy theories respectively. Perhaps Bush’s lowest point came when Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), whose vote Bush needs to advance, declined to ask him any questions, instead pithily noting: “I’ve read your blog; I’m not impressed.” A rattled Bush failed to seize on a lifeline offered by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), telling the senator that impartiality as a judge was an “aspiration” rather than an “absolute expectation.” To make things worse, Newsom stepped in to disagree and state that impartiality was an “absolute expectation” from judges.

The Strange Civil Rights Views of Trump’s Latest Court Nominees: On Wednesday, three of those nominees will appear before the Senate. Together, they evince a deep hostility toward civil rights. (Politico, 06/14/17)
Kyle Barry, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.: Trump’s initial nominees to fill more than 120 lower court vacancies—many of which exist only because the Republican Senate refused to act on the qualified nominations put forth by President Barack Obama—foretell a Trump-stacked judiciary that would clear the way for constitutionally suspect executive actions, shield corporate wrongdoers from accountability, and imperil the civil rights of all Americans.... On Wednesday, three of those nominees will appear before the U.S. Senate: Kevin Newsom, an 11th Circuit nominee from Alabama; John Bush, a 6th Circuit nominee from Kentucky; and Damien Schiff, a nominee for the federal Court of Claims. Together, they evince a deep hostility toward civil rights.... Bush is shocking in his blatant disdain for equal rights and animus toward racial and other minorities. ... Schiff may be the most extreme. He has already received attention for calling Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute" ... Schiff provided his own take on Dred Scott—saying that the court’s dead-letter affirmation of slavery is no different from efforts to remedy segregation and increase diversity.... In three separate instances, Trump has named a white nominee to replace an African-American Obama nominee the Senate failed to confirm. This is true even in those positions with an especially fraught racial history.

COURT FIGHT: The Saucy Sock Puppet of the Trump-Nominated Judge; An attorney up for a federal bench seat made his views plain while writing blog posts under a pseudonym. (Daily Beast, 06/14/17)
Eleanor Clift: Progressive groups are banding together in an effort to defeat the judicial nomination of John Bush ... . Bush disclosed his online identity on the questionnaire judicial nominees submit to the Senate Judiciary Committee. His comments there are the sort that have traditionally concerned senators .... Also appearing on the witness stand Wednesday morning will be another prolific blogger, Damien Schiff, nominated for a 15-year term on the Federal Claims court. Writing under his own name, he has called Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy a “judicial prostitute”.... More than a dozen progressive groups are working against Bush and Schiff, and they span the full range of causes from money in politics to the environment, racial justice, LGBTQ rights and reproductive freedom.

Trump picks right-wing blogger for a judgeship, his confirmation hearing was a complete train wreck (Think Progress, 06/14/17)
Ian Millhiser: John Bush, a lawyer and conservative blogger who spent years publishing many of his most controversial opinions under a pseudonym, is in line to be a judge on a powerful federal appeals court.... Birtherism came up after Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) noted a blog post where Bush relied heavily on World Net Daily, a conservative site famous for touting conspiracy theories such as the birther libel against President Obama. ... Bush attempted to paint his views on Roe v. Wade as relatively innocuous. “I believe that [Roe] is a tragedy,” he said, “in the sense that it divided our country.” Later in the hearing, however, Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history. “Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer. “I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.” In reality, Brown is probably second only to Dred Scott v. Sandford, which played a major role in sparking the Civil War, among the Supreme Court’s most divisive decisions.... Bush aligned himself with originalism, the belief that the only valid way to interpret the Constitution is to apply its text in the way those words were originally understood at the time they were drafted. Whatever the virtues or demerits of originalism as an interpretive method, it only works if the judges applying it have a deep command of history and the skills necessary to sort good historical arguments from bad ones.

Little Rock native gets rough ride at judicial confirmation hearing UPDATE (Arkansas Times, 06/14/17)
Max Brantley: John Bush, the Little Rock-born Louisville lawyer and conservative blogger nominated for a federal judgeship by Donald Trump, had a rough time at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination. From Think Progress on the hearing today: ... "Bush revealed that he either does not believe that all divisive decisions are tragic, or that he has a very poor command of American history. “Wouldn’t you characterize Brown v. Board of Education,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Bush, as “a case that divided our country?” In response, Bush first pled ignorance, then gave an historically-inaccurate answer. “I wasn’t alive at the time of Brown,” Bush said. “But I don’t think it did.”" Whew. This from a nominal legal scholar from LITTLE ROCK, where the division was so evident three years after Brown that troops were called in! ... Lots more provided by Glenn Sugameli, senior attorney for Judging the Environment.... Lot of links to troubling background on Bush here at Judging the Environment. In another Arkansas angle, the Alliance [for Justice] notes another problem nominee by Trump, Damien Schiff to the court of claims. He's another homophobe based on public record who called Justice Anthony Kennedy a judicial "prostitute." The local angle is that Sen. Tom Cotton was a one-man wrecking crew for all five appointments Obama tried to make to the overworked court of claims. Cotton contended no slots needed to be filled. Now that there's a homophobic nut case on offer, will Cotton still block presidential appointments to the court? Much more on Schiff here. [link to Judging the Environment]

More Terrible Federal Judges on Their Way: Three right-wing blogging judges are likely on their way to the federal bench (Storify, 06/14/17)
Jessica Mason Pieklo [detailed Tweeting of Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominees John K. Bush, Kevin Newsom and Damien Schiff]

There's a Lot Going on Right Now, But Keep an Eye on the Courts: Look at this motley crew of judicial nominees (Esquire, 06/14/17)
Charles P. Pierce: On Wednesday, when everybody's attention was drawn elsewhere, three of the president*'s nominees to the federal bench met the Senate Judiciary Committee.... he president* subcontracted the job of picking judges to the Federalist Society, the Heritage Foundation, and various other wingnut intellectual chop shops.... This is quite the trio.

Chairman Grassley rushes to rubber stamp Trump’s judges, discards another Senate norm (Huffington Post, 06/13/17)
Christopher Kang: Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on two circuit court nominees: John Bush for the Sixth Circuit and Kevin Newsom for the Eleventh Circuit. Many concerns have been raised about these nominees (as well as the third nominee on the hearing, Damien Schiff for the Court of Federal Claims), but setting aside the merits for just a moment, we can’t lose sight of the process, as Chairman Grassley casually rejects another Senate norm in the interest of rubberstamping President Trump’s judicial nominees. It has long been the practice of the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider only one circuit court nominee per nomination hearing. Exceptions are rare and usually have extenuating circumstances: the Judiciary Committee held hearings for more than 60 of President Obama’s circuit court nominees, and held a hearing with two circuit court nominees only three times—each time with the support of the minority party.... The norms and practices of the Senate Judiciary Committee exist for a reason: to ensure a fair and thorough vetting of nominees to lifetime appointments for some of the most important positions in our democracy.