President Trump has outpaced his immediate predecessors when it comes to having his choices for federal judgeships confirmed.
The Senate this week approved a fifth Trump nominee, placing Trump on a faster pace for approvals than either President Barack Obama or President George W. Bush.
Most recently, Alabama lawyer Kevin Christopher Newsom was confirmed to a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, on a 66-31 vote, with 16 Democrats joining the GOP on the affirmative side, the Washington Times reported.
Newsom was the third Trump pick for circuit judge to be approved so far. Combined with one district judge and the Supreme Court appointment of Neil Gorsuch, the Trump administration and the Republican-led Senate are well ahead of the normal pace for judicial approvals.
“The Trump administration has moved faster on filling judicial vacancies compared to the past administrations, thanks to its commitment to working with and extensively consulting all senators, regardless of political affiliation, to select high-caliber nominees,” Kelly Love, a White House spokesperson, told the newspaper.
Obama had no judges confirmed during his first six months at the White House and it took him until November 2009 to get three circuit nominees approved by the Senate. Bush didn’t have three picks -- one circuit judge and two district judges -- confirmed until August of his first term.
Trump began his bid to reshape the lower federal courts in early May, when the White House announced 10 judicial nominees that officials described at the time as Trump’s “third wave of federal judicial appointments.”
Two of the nominees originally were on the list of 21 candidates that the Trump transition team considered for the Supreme Court vacancy left by Antonin Scalia’s death. That seat was ultimately filled by Gorsuch.
The two nomiees were Justice Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court, nominated to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati; and Justice David Stras of the Minnesota Supreme Court, nominated to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
The other nominees, in addition to Newsom, were Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame law professor nominated to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago; John Bush, a Louisville lawyer nominated to the 6th Circuit; Judge David C. Nye, nominated to the U.S. District Court for Idaho; Scott L. Palk, a former federal prosecutor nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma; Damien Schiff, nominated to federal claims court; Dabney L. Friedrich, nominated to U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; and Judge Terry Moorer, nominated to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.