Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition

Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition
© Greg Nash
President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president MORE's pick for an influential circuit court is in jeopardy over Republican opposition to the nomination. 
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee is leaving Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden's nomination off its agenda for a Thursday business meeting where five other judicial nominations are expected to get a vote, according to a committee notice sent out on Monday. 
 
The decision to leave him off the weekly agenda was made "at the request of the WH," a committee aide told The Hill, using an abbreviation for the White House. 
 
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The committee aide directed questions about the status of the nomination to the administration. Spokespeople for the White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about the decision, or on whether Trump was planning to withdraw Ozerden's nomination.
 
But the decision comes as a vote on Ozerden's nomination to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been held over in the Judiciary Committee five times, most recently last Thursday. 
 
Asked after last week's meeting if Ozerden's nomination was dead, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocratic group plans mobile billboard targeting Collins on impeachment Paul predicts no Republicans will vote to convict Trump Roberts sworn in to preside over Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.C.) told reporters, "I don't know." 
 
The seeming limbo comes less than a week after Graham initially predicted that Ozerden would make it through the committee. 
 
Ozerden had drawn opposition from two GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee: Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSeven things to know about the Trump trial All the frontrunners could survive initial Iowa test Republicans face internal brawl over impeachment witnesses MORE (Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week McConnell backs measure to change Senate rules, dismiss impeachment without articles MORE (Mo.). Two other GOP senators, Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senator: 2020 candidates must recuse themselves from impeachment trial Apple under pressure to unlock Pensacola shooter's phones GOP senators introduce resolution to change rules, dismiss impeachment without articles MORE (Tenn.) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseOn The Money: Senate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes | Trade deficit falls to three-year low | Senate confirms Trump pick for small business chief Senate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes Congress to clash over Trump's war powers MORE (Neb.), haven't yet announced how they'll vote on Ozerden. 
 
 
But he's garnered criticism from Republicans who question his conservative credentials and his dismissal of a case involving ObamaCare’s birth control mandate. Ozerden is currently a U.S. district judge in Mississippi. 
 
In a 12-10 GOP-controlled panel, Ozerden will need to pick up support from Democrats in order to get through the Judiciary Committee. No Democrats have said they will support him, though Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinTrump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer Overnight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall Senators under strict orders to pay attention during weeks-long impeachment trial MORE (D-Ill.) hasn't announced how he will vote. 
 
But in a potential roadblock to picking up support from Democrats, the NAACP and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights have both come out against his nomination. 
 
"Judge Ozerden ... has a track record of reflexively dismissing the claims of discrimination victims without letting them have their day in court. He has demonstrated insensitivity to racial justice and LGBTQ equality," the Leadership Conference wrote in a letter last month. 
 
Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said earlier this year that he would support Ozerden's nomination but predicted he wouldn't ultimately be confirmed. 
 
"I don't think the votes are there, no," Kennedy said when asked about opposition from Republicans.
 
GOP leaders view the president’s court picks as their top priority — smashing records for the pace of influential appeals court picks. 
 
But if Ozerden's nomination is withdrawn it wouldn't be the first time GOP opposition has brought down a Trump nominee. 
 
Criticism from GOP senators and conservative outside groups also led Michigan attorney Michael Bogren to ask that his district judge nomination be withdrawn. Two nominees — Ryan Bounds to be a circuit judge and Thomas Farr to be a district judge — withdrew last year after Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate panel advances Trump's new NAFTA despite GOP gripes Trump to sign order penalizing colleges over perceived anti-Semitism on campus: report Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump MORE (R-S.C.) warned he couldn’t support them because of their writings related to race.