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Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition

Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition
© Greg Nash
President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 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. 
 
 
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 Cruz Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants MORE (Texas) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Chamber of Commerce clarifies stance on lawmakers who voted against election certification Crenshaw pours cold water on 2024 White House bid: 'Something will emerge' MORE (Mo.). Two other GOP senators, Sens. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnRepublicans blast Pentagon policy nominee over tweets, Iran nuclear deal White House defends Biden's 'Neanderthal thinking' remark on masks Marsha Blackburn: Biden needs to 'rethink' comments about 'resilient' and 'resourceful' Neanderthals MORE (Tenn.) and Ben SasseBen SasseSenators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks Republicans, please save your party MORE (Neb.), haven't yet announced how they'll vote on Ozerden. 
 
Ozerden has the backing of his two home-state senators, Sens. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), as well as ties to acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyOMB nominee gets hearing on Feb. 9 Republicans now 'shocked, shocked' that there's a deficit Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief MORE
 
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 DurbinDick DurbinSenate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session 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 ScottWhy paid internships matter for foreign policy careers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Virus relief bill headed for weekend vote Sole GOP vote on House police reform bill says he 'accidentally pressed the wrong voting button' MORE (R-S.C.) warned he couldn’t support them because of their writings related to race.