In the News

Sub News Item 12/14/2017 – Trump’s Biggest Win In 2017? His Judicial Confirmations.
Almost a year into his job, President Donald Trump’s biggest accomplishment isn’t any specific legislation that’s passed or executive action he’s taken. It’s how he’s reshaped the courts. read full story

Sub News Item 12/15/2017 – Trump judicial nominee fumbles basic questions about the law
Nomination hearings for U.S. district judges tend to be dry affairs that offer little in the way of mass entertainment — in other words, they’re not typically the stuff of viral videos. But a clip of one of President Trump’s federal judicial nominees struggling to answer rudimentary questions about the law garnered well more than 1 million views in a matter of hours on Thursday night and stoked speculation that another of the president’s nominations might get derailed. read full story

Sub News Item 12/12/2017 – Exclusive: Grassley urges Trump to reconsider controversial judicial picks
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley issued a rare rebuke Tuesday of two of President Donald Trump's most controversial judicial nominees, urging the White House to rethink the picks. read full story

Sub News Item 9/7/2017 – The Judiciary in Jeopardy
Our federal judiciary is in jeopardy. Courts are often the last defense for our Constitution. Federal courts make decisions about how we are treated in the workplace, how the law regards women, racial minorities, and those with disabilities, among others, consumer protections, the safety of our environment, our right to vote, and our immigration system – just to name a few issues. read full story

Sub News Item 11/2/2017 – Wisconsin judicial pick violated fair process
The U.S. Constitution grants the President power to nominate judges for the federal courts “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.” In Wisconsin, for nearly 40 years all presidents, regardless of party, have considered candidates vetted and approved by a nominating commission run by the State Bar in cooperation with both Wisconsin Senators. read full story

Sub News Item 12/12/2017 – The rightwing takeover of the US court system will transform America
Donald Trump has nominated an unprecedented number of judges to federal courts since his appointment. These are making steady progress through the Senate confirmation process and yet they have escaped the sort of scrutiny that Trump normally attracts. This is unfortunate, because the impact of Trump’s court picks will be profound, and will help reshape American society for years to come. read full story

Sub News Item 12/7/2017 – Judiciary Dems accuse GOP of rushing court nominees as 10 advance
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee chastised their Republican colleagues on Thursday, accusing them of rushing President Trump’s judicial nominees through the  confirmation process. read full story

Sub News Item 11/29/2017 – Republican senator suggests Trump is strong-arming judicial nominees through Congress
A Republican senator on Wednesday appeared to corroborate Democrats’ complaints that the Trump administration has been trying to strong-arm its judicial picks through Congress instead of consulting with lawmakers to find mutually agreeable candidates. read full story

Sub News Item 11/16/2017 – Grassley rips up ‘blue slip’ for a pair of Trump court picks
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley is burning the blue slip for some judicial nominees. The Iowa Republican announced Thursday that he is going ahead with a confirmation hearing for a nominee to the powerful appellate courts despite the objections of a Democrat who had been blocking the nomination for months. The move will likely escalate the judicial wars in the Senate. read full story

Sub News Item 11/7/2017 – Another Trump Court Pick Is Rated ‘Not Qualified’
President Donald Trump’s pick for an Alabama district court seat, Brett Talley, is “not qualified” to be a federal judge, says the American Bar Association. The ABA announced its unanimous rating on Tuesday evening. read full story

Sub News Item 10/30/2017 – The Senate Is About To Confirm A Frenzy Of Conservative Judges
McConnell has teed up votes this week on four of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. That’s an incredible amount of activity on judges in one week. For some comparison, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) typically scheduled a vote on one nominee per week, at most. read full story

Sub News Item 10/30/2017 – Second Trump judicial nominee gets ‘not qualified’ rating from ABA: What’s the rating process?
The ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has rated two of President Donald Trump’s nominees to federal judgeships as “not qualified.” But the significance of that rating and the process behind it can be as important as the rating itself. read full story

Sub News Item 10/17/2017 – Trump’s judge picks: ‘Not qualified,’ prolific bloggers
President Donald Trump has nominated 50 candidates to lifetime appointments to the federal bench — including a man who asserted transgender children were evidence of “Satan’s plan,” one deemed unqualified by the American Bar Association and a handful of prolific bloggers. read full story

Sub News Item 10/3/2017 – One Of Trump’s Judicial Picks Received A Rare “Not Qualified” Rating From Top Legal Group
One of President Trump's judicial nominees has received a rare "not qualified" rating from the American Bar Association. Charles Goodwin, who serves as a federal magistrate judge in Oklahoma City, is the first of Trump's judicial nominees to receive a "not qualified" rating from the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which vets all federal court nominees. read full story

Sub News Item 9/25/2017 – One Of Trump’s Judicial Nominees Sits On The Board Of A Group That Defends “Conversion” Therapy
One of President Trump’s judicial nominees, Leonard Grasz, has served since 2015 on the board of a Nebraska nonprofit that has defended so-called “conversion” therapy for minors. Grasz was nominated in August to serve on the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. According to a questionnaire that Grasz submitted to the US Senate, he has served since August 2015 as a board member of Nebraska Family Alliance, a conservative nonprofit that in 2017 published two pieces on its website criticizing states that banned so-called conversion therapy, also known as “reparative therapy,” for minors. read full story

Sub News Item 9/25/2017 – Purdon and Maring: It’s time for a federal Judicial Nominating Commission in North Dakota
Federal judges rule on issues important to North Dakotans every day. The rulings decide whether a person committed a crime and what the punishment should be, the constitutionality of a law, disputes between two or more states, bankruptcy cases and more. read full story

Sub News Item 9/21/2017 – Trump pick for NC judge accused of ‘hostile record on African-American voting rights and workers’ rights’
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus sent a strongly worded letter Wednesday urging U.S. senators to reject Thomas Farr, a Triangle-based attorney who has represented GOP state legislators in redistricting and voter ID cases, for a lifetime seat on the federal bench. read full story

Sub News Item 9/21/2017 – Judicial candidates should be less partisan and more representative
As Minnesota’s secretary of state, I took pride in our state’s tradition of civic participation. Minnesotans of all political persuasions understand that, whether we’re choosing a president or a state legislator, we deserve a government that truly represents us. And we are willing to do the hard work democracy demands in order to achieve it.  read full story

Sub News Item 9/21/2017 – Mateer ‘Satan’ remarks: ‘That’s why you have Senate hearings’ on judges
When assistant state Attorney General Jeff Mateer goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee as a federal judge nominee, there will be strong echoes of Texas' transgender "bathroom bill" debate. read full story

Sub News Item 9/18/2017 – White House hits back at Oregon’s senators over appeals court nomination
In the ongoing dispute between the state's two U.S. senators and the Trump administration, the White House counsel accuses the lawmakers of failing to consider the administration's pick for a judicial vacancy on a federal appellate court. read full story

Sub News Item 9/14/2017 – Despite McConnell Reservations, Tool to Block Judicial Nominees May Stay
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Wednesday for a change to a Senate tradition that lets senators block federal judges nominated in their home state, it remains unclear whether the old process will actually disappear. read full story

Sub News Item 9/18/2017 – Buffalo’s federal court backlog is among worst in nation
Justice can be slow. But for Adam Pritchard and Erie County, slow means waiting years. Thirteen years, to be exact. Pritchard, 37 at the time, filed a lawsuit in 2004 challenging the county's use of strip searches at its jails. His case, like hundreds of other civil suits in Buffalo federal court, remains unresolved years later. While Pritchard's case is the extreme, a review of the local court's workload found one of the worst civil and criminal case backlogs in the nation. read full story

Sub News Item 9/21/2017 – Civil Rights, Racial Disputes Fuel Divide Over Judicial Nominee
President Donald Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in North Carolina has drawn the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights groups in part because of past work defending the state’s congressional redistricting plans and voter ID law, which courts have struck down as unfair to minorities. read full story

Sub News Item 9/20/2017 – Political Drama In Texas Has Left Trump Struggling To Fill Court Seats
The White House has been at odds with Texas’ Republican senators and governor for months over two judicial vacancies, showing how tricky it can be for President Donald Trump to shape the judiciary even in seemingly friendly states. read full story

Sub News Item 9/20/2017 – Trump’s judicial nominee from Texas called transgender kids part of “Satan’s plan”
Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's office whom President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of "Satan's plan" and argued same-sex marriage would open the floodgates for "disgusting" forms of marriage, according to CNN. read full story

Sub News Item 9/15/2017 – People bring U.S. Constitution to life
Wherever you turn these days, it seems that someone is attacking the cornerstones of our democracy, such as freedom of the press, freedom of speech and fair and open elections. These threats make our Constitution more important than ever.   read full story

Sub News Item 9/13/2017 – GOP May Break Democrats’ Best Weapon Against Wave of Right-Wing Judges
For all the wild talk of Donald Trump’s preferring to work with Democrats instead of his own fractious party, the administration and Senate Democrats are on a collision course that should smash figments of imaginary bipartisanship. Trump has now nominated 50 would-be judges to openings on Circuit Courts of Appeal and district benches, all of whom appear to have been vetted by conservative legal commissars like the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. Most of them will probably be confirmed on strict or near party-line votes in the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. read full story

Sub News Item 9/8/2017 – Bennet Gives Stamp of Approval to Eid
Colorado’s Democratic senator, Michael Bennet, returned his blue slip for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid to fill the vacant seat on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bennet’s office confirmed that he gave his nod of approval for Eid’s move to the federal circuit court, though without a glowing endorsement. read full story

Sub News Item 9/12/2017 – Bye Bye Blue Slip?
Republicans in the Senate may continue to sour on Donald Trump for the foreseeable future, but there is one reason they will never fully turn on the president: The ability to pack the federal courts with life-tenured hyperconservative jurists is worth whatever pain Trump may cause in other quarters. read full story

Sub News Item 9/15/2017 – Meet The Republican-Appointed State Supreme Court Justice Blocked By Blue Slips
It’s not who you think. Meet Justice Lisabeth Hughes. Senator McConnell blocked her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. By refusing to return his blue slip. This was in a very different time. A time when Republicans were for blue slips before now being against them. A time when Senator McConnell was willing to—in his own description this week as he opposed blue slips—“black ball” one of his state’s Supreme Court Justices, twice-appointed by a governor of his own party. read full story

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