By Jon Dougherty
The Trump administration, fed up with the rank partisanship of Democrats, took the unprecedented step of bypassing the objections of two Left-wing senators to push through confirmation of another constitutionalist to the uber-liberal 9th Circuit Court.
Fox News reported that the White House ignored the input of two Democratic home-state senators as the Senate pushed through confirmation of Seattle attorney Eric Miller, who was nominated to be a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 53-46 party-line vote underscored the White House’s decision to bypass the traditional “blue slip” consultation process and ignore ‘objections’ from Washington’s two liberal U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as POTUS Donald Trump seeks to remake the Left-wing 9th Circuit into a court that respects the Constitution and rejects judicial activism.
The court has been at the epicenter of several high-profile cases involving presidential executive orders ranging from banning travel to the U.S. from terrorist-supporting countries to actions involving illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.
The president has often complained about the 9th Circuit specifically, even predicting, correctly, that opponents of his national emergency declaration along the U.S.-Mexico border would run to the court to file suit against it.
Trump has called the 9th Circuit has called “disgraceful” and politically biased.
Fox News reported:
With a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, the appellate court has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against his travel ban policy and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.” A lawsuit is currently pending before the 9th Circuit concerning Trump’s emergency declaration over border security — and Trump had sarcastically predicted that Democrats would purposefully file suit in the San Francisco-based appellate court to improve their odds.
The new 9th Circuit judge, Seattle attorney Eric Miller, was confirmed 53-46. Miller was one of the 51 federal judicial nominees left over from the previous Congress whom the White House re-nominated last month.
Miller, currently the appellate chairman of the high-powered law firm Perkins Coie, will replace Judge Richard Tallman, a Bill Clinton appointee who assumed senior status March 2018. Miller is the fifth former clerk to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to be nominated by Trump to a federal appellate court, including embattled D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Neomi Rao.
Miller represented the government before the Supreme Court when he served from 2007 to 2012 as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. He was also Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission.
Murray complained about the White House’s tactic which, her aides said, marked the first time an administration has strayed from the long-standing tradition and confirmed a judicial nominee over the objections of two home-state senators.
“This is wrong. It is a dangerous road for the Senate to go down,” Murray said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “Confirming this 9th Circuit court nominee without the consent or true input of both home-state senators, and after a sham hearing, would be a dangerous first for this Senate.”
Democrats had opposed Miller’s nomination supposedly over his views regarding tribal sovereignty. But the reality is, Democrats have lodged unprecedented opposition to most of President Trump’s nominees, which conservatives have widely praised as constitutionalists who respect our founding document and the rule of law.
As such, the Trump administration has signaled it would continue to bypass the traditional blue slip process in the president’s ongoing effort to remake the 9th Circuit — precisely because of the unprecedented, ongoing opposition from Democratic senators.
The Sacramento Bee reported last year that White House officials had been negotiating with California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris about 9th Circuit appointments, but the dialogue collapsed, and the White House proceeded to announce three nominees over their objections.
Those nominees — Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee (all from the Golden State, and reportedly all members of the conservative Federalist Society) — have yet to be confirmed.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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