Trump revives fight over key appeals court

Trump revives fight over key appeals court
© UPI Photo

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE announced this week a slate of 9th Circuit judicial nominees, immediately adding new life into the months-long feud over the California-based seats.

The White House on Wednesday night said the president intends to nominate Kenneth Lee, Daniel Collins and Daniel Bress to serve as appeals court judges. Lee and Collins were nominated last year but didn’t get a final confirmation vote in the Senate.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchiff should consider using RICO framework to organize impeachment We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a tweet Thursday that she is “deeply disappointed” in the White House’s decision to renominate Lee and Collins.

“We made clear our opposition to these individuals and told the White House we wanted to work together to come to consensus on a new package of nominees,” Feinstein said as part of the tweet thread, adding that she and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRepublicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Klobuchar takes shots at health and education plans supported by Sanders and Warren Kamala Harris to Trump Jr.: 'You wouldn't know a joke if one raised you' MORE (D-Calif.) had identified White House-selected nominees that “we could support” but the White House is “moving forward with three nominees to a circuit court who have no judicial experience.”

In a separate joint statement with Harris, the two senators said they had raised concerns about Bress’s nomination, arguing that he lives in Washington, D.C., “is quite young and has no judicial experience.”

They added that they were able to work out an agreement on the lower-level district judges and said “the same should be done for the ninth circuit.”

Picks for the 9th Circuit are considered a top priority for Republicans, who have had a long-held goal of rebalancing the appeals court that they argue is too liberal and too large.

The circuit court, based in San Francisco, has frustrated Trump by acting as a foil to some of his most controversial policies, including ruling against the travel ban and an effort to cut off federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities.

Democrats are largely powerless to stop Trump’s court picks from being confirmed without GOP defections. In 2013, Democrats, led by then-Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidReid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump Harry Reid predicts Trump, unlike Clinton, won't become more popular because of impeachment Al Franken to host SiriusXM radio show MORE (D-Nev.), nixed the 60-vote filibuster for executive and lower court nominees. Republicans did the same for Supreme Court picks last year.

Republicans, under Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyPhRMA CEO warns Pelosi bill to lower drug prices would be 'devastating' for industry GOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe On The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China MORE (R-Iowa), have also refused to let the lack of a “blue slip”— a sheet of paper indicating support — from a home state senator prevent a circuit court pick from getting a vote.

Feinstein, in her tweet, said Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Democrats to offer resolution demanding Trump reverse Syria decision Army officer calls Syria pullback 'a stain on the American conscience' MORE (R-S.C.), who's now the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, should use the “blue-slip tradition” to “protect senators’ role in nominations.”

“When a Democrat was president, Republicans strongly defended blue slips & Democrats honored them. That shouldn’t change because a Republican is president,” Feinstein tweeted.

The White House argued late last year that it had tried to work with Feinstein and Harris on the court nominations. But, according to a timeline provided by then-White House counsel Don McGahn, negotiations appeared to derail over the summer.

Graham indicated on Thursday that he was supportive of the 9th Circuit picks, saying they “continue a trend by the Trump Administration of selecting highly qualified men and women to serve on the federal bench.”

“I’m very supportive of the nominees submitted by President Trump to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. These are highly qualified nominees and I am hopeful they will receive wide bipartisan support,” Graham said.