Harris to oppose any of Trump's appeals court nominees
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Harris calls idea of Trump trusting Putin over US intel ‘height of irresponsibility and shameful’ Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she will oppose any of President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE's picks for the powerful appeals courts after the administration moved forward this week with nominees for the Ninth Circuit. 

"This Administration is packing the court that protected Dreamers from deportation and blocked the unconstitutional transgender military ban. We need nominees who will uphold equality and justice. Until a fair process is in place, I will oppose every nominee to an appellate court," Harris said in a tweet.  

Her decision comes after Trump revived a months-long feud by nominating three judicial picks to fill three of California's seats on the Ninth Circuit. 


The San Francisco-based court has been a long-running sore spot for conservatives, who argue it is too large and too liberal. It's also acted as a foil to some of Trump's most controversial policies, including ruling against his travel ban and an effort to cut off federal funding for so-called "sanctuary cities."

The administration said Wednesday night that it would nominate Daniel Collins, Kenneth Lee and Daniel Bress to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Harris, who is a 2020 presidential candidate and a member of the powerful Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line MORE (D-Calif.), the Senate panel's top Democrat, said in a joint statement that they were "deeply disappointed." 

"We even identified candidates selected by the White House we could support to demonstrate our willingness to work cooperatively. Unfortunately, the White House is moving forward with three nominees to a circuit court who have no judicial experience. The White House’s decision to push these nominees fails to secure consensus on the circuit court," they said.

Democrats are unable to block Trump's court picks without help from Republicans after they nixed the 60-vote filibuster for most nominations in 2013. Republicans, in turn, got rid of the hurdle for Supreme Court picks in 2017. 

Republicans, under Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySmaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown MORE (R-Iowa), have also given nominations a vote even when a home-state senator refused to return a blue slip — a piece of paper that indicates whether or not they support a nominee. 

Newly minted Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Warren: Officials have duty ‘to invoke 25th amendment’ if they think Trump is unfit MORE (R-S.C.) said earlier this week that he had not yet made a decision if he will require blue slips for appeals court judges. But he indicated in a statement on Thursday that he supports the Ninth Circuit picks. 

"These are highly qualified nominees and I am hopeful they will receive wide bipartisan support,” Graham said in a statement. 

But, in their joint statement, Feinstein and Harris urged Graham to follow a standard set by Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph Leahy‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire How the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (D-Vt.), who required blue slips from home-state senators in order for a nomination to be taken up the by Judiciary Committee. 

“Chairman Graham has said he wants to protect senators’ role in the nominations process. Historically, the greatest protection for home-state senators has been the blue-slip tradition," they added.