Trump to Announce Slate of 10 Conservative Lower Federal Court Nominees

Justice Joan L. Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court will be nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati. (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

Having filled a Supreme Court vacancy, President Trump is turning his attention to the more than 120 openings on the lower federal courts. On Monday, he will announce a slate of 10 nominees to those courts, a senior White House official said, the first in what could be near monthly waves of nominations.

The White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, said the nominations were a vindication of a commitment Mr. Trump made during the campaign “to appoint strong and principled jurists to the federal bench who will enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal power and protect the liberty of all Americans.”

The administration continues to draw on lists of 21 potential Supreme Court nominees, put together with the help of the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, that Mr. Trump issued during the campaign. But it is looking at other sources, too, the White House official said. Mr. McGahn, who has supervised the selection of the nominees, is looking for scholarly credentials and “intellectual boldness,” among other qualities, the official added.

Jonathan H. Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, said the appeals court picks on Mr. Trump’s list included “incredibly strong nominees” who were within the judicial mainstream and should “have an intellectual influence on their courts.”

But liberal groups expressed alarm at the prospect of a federal bench filled with Mr. Trump’s appointees. “The Trump administration has made clear its intention to benefit from Republican obstructionism and to pack the federal courts with ultraconservatives given a stamp of approval by the Federalist Society,” said Nan Aron, the president of the Alliance for Justice, referring to the conservative legal group. “We’ll be scrutinizing the records of these nominees very carefully.”

The candidates to be announced Monday include two judges from the lists issued during the campaign. Both serve on state supreme courts, and the administration may believe that Senate confirmation and a record of federal judicial opinions will make them more attractive candidates for eventual elevation to the Supreme Court.

One is Justice Joan L. Larsen, a former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia and law professor at the University of Michigan, who now serves on the Michigan Supreme Court. She will be nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Adam Liptak