15 Circuit Court Judges Confirmed

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “These are men and women who try to interpret laws as written or as the Constitution seems to specify.” (Bowling Green Daily News, 4/02/2018)


Circuit Court Judges Confirmed In 2018

FIFTEEN: Kyle Duncan of Louisiana confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 50-47 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit

  • SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA):His breadth of experience makes him a great choice…. [Kyle Duncan] has extensive courtroom experience on the Tenth and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Texas and Louisiana Supreme Courts, and he has twice argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has experience working in the public and private sectors and in academia…. He was the assistant solicitor general at the Texas attorney general's office and a professor at the University of Mississippi Law School. He is the appellate chief of the Louisiana Department of Justice. All of these are States included in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Again, this is the experience and background we should look for when selecting a judicial nominee…. His body of work also demonstrates his high respect for legal precedent. He understands that a judge is not an advocate for a particular case but, instead, an adjudicator upholding the law, applying the law to the facts. He is a man of high integrity, high character--something sorely needed in this world but especially to be demonstrable in the Federal judiciary.” (Sen. Cassidy, Congressional Record, S. 2337, 4/23/2018)
  • SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): “He’s argued over 30 cases in federal and state appellate courts…. He served in the office of Attorney General in the state of Louisiana as Appellate Chief. He’s represented my state, many high-profile cases … [T]hose who know Kyle and those who have participated in the vetting process know that he is articulate, he’s a careful thinker, he has a deep understanding of the importance of separation of powers. And for that reason he’s been supported by a bipartisan group of both current and former lawyers…. Mr. Duncan has developed an expertise in constitutional law…. If I didn’t think Kyle Duncan wouldn’t call the balls and the strikes based on the rule of law that we cherish in America, I wouldn't be standing here today. But he will.” (Sen. Kennedy, Floor Remarks, 4/24/2018)

FOURTEEN: Elizabeth L. Branch of Georgia confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 73 - 23 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit

  • SEN. JOHNNY ISAKSON (R-GA): “I rise today with a great sense of pride and honor to commend to my fellow Senators today the name of Elizabeth ‘Lisa’ Branch, who has been nominated to be U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit for the United States of America by President Trump. … She’s a great lady, a great lawyer, and was named to the Court of Appeals in Georgia by Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia, the current governor of the state. She will serve us in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals with honor and privilege in the United States of America.” (Sen. Isakson, Press Release, 2/26/2018)
  • SEN. DAVID PERDUE (R-GA): “I’m proud to be here today to introduce an outstanding Georgian, Judge Lisa Branch, who has been nominated by President Trump to fill a vacancy on the Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit. Judge Branch has enjoyed a distinguished legal career and has served with distinction on the bench. Judge Branch has served as a judge on the Court of Appeals of Georgia since 2012. She graduated from Emory University School of Law with distinction in 1994 and went on to serve as a law clerk to Judge J. Owen Forrester of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia. Between 2004-2008, Judge Branch served as the Associate General Counsel for Rules and Legislation at the Department of Homeland Security and then as Counselor to the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget. She then went on to become a partner in the commercial litigation department at Smith, Gambrell, & Russell in Atlanta before taking her seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals. I’m very proud to support Judge Branch’s nomination…” (Sen. Purdue, Press Release, 12/13/2017)

THIRTEEN: David Ryan Stras of Minnesota confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 56 - 42 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit

  • SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “Justice Stras is eminently qualified and exceptionally bright. He has received praise and support across the legal profession—and across the political spectrum. … I am convinced that Justice Stras will rule fairly and impartially, finding and applying the law as written—and not legislating from the bench. Justice Stras is a very accomplished, impressive nominee. He has a long judicial record of impartiality. I strongly support his nomination, and I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.” (Sen. Grassley, Press Release, 1/29/2018)


The 2017 Twelve

TWELVE: James C. Ho of Texas confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 53-43 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit

ELEVEN: Don R. Willett of Texas confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 50-47 to be a Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit

  • SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “Jim Ho and Justice Don Willett are two stars in the Texas legal firmament already. These nominees reflect the comprehensive process of both the bipartisan Texas Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee that Senator Cruz and I have established as well as the White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice, and I commend the President on these excellent nominations.” (Sen. Cornyn, Press Release, 11/15/2017)
  • SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): “Justice Don Willett and Jim Ho are nominees of deep intellect and principle… Both of them, with their remarkable academic backgrounds and professional careers, have demonstrated a commitment to the rule of law and the Constitution. I am confident they will make extraordinary appellate judges, and look forward to their swift confirmation.” (Sens. Cornyn & Cruz, Press Release, 12/7/2017)

TEN: Steven Grasz of Nebraska confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 50-48 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit

  • SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NE): “Steve Grasz has extraordinary ethics, sterling credentials, and bipartisan support from across the state of Nebraska. Without a doubt, he is the right choice for this seat on the Eighth Circuit.” (Sen. Fischer, Press Release, 12/7/2017)
  • SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): “Steve is a Nebraskan through and through. He’s a fifth-generation Nebraskan and like a lot of Nebraska kids, he grew up on a family farm – walking beans, raising sheep and pigs, branding cattle. That family farm in the Nebraska Panhandle taught hard work and honesty. The University of Nebraska taught him the law. … Steve stayed in Nebraska for law school, graduated at the top of his class, and was the Executive Editor of the Nebraska Law Review. Steve went to work for Nebraskans, serving as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for more than a decade.  He litigated multiple cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Nebraska Supreme Court. Whenever he was called on to argue on behalf of Nebraskans, Steve did so with integrity, humility, and decency. Steve bleeds Husker red but knows that a judge must clothe themselves in the black robes of impartiality.” (U.S. Senate, Judiciary Committee, Hearing, 11/1/2017)

NINE: Gregory G. Katsas of Virginia confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 50-48 to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit

  • SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), Judiciary Committee Chairman: “Greg Katsas … there’s no disputing that he’s very well qualified for this job. He has degrees from Princeton and Harvard, and he clerked for the Third Circuit, the D.C. Circuit, and the Supreme Court. He has years of experience in the public sector—where he led divisions at the Department of Justice—and in the private sector—where he was a partner at Jones Day. He currently serves as Deputy Counsel to the President in the White House Counsel’s Office. … [he] has served his country with distinction for many years.” (U.S. Senate, Judiciary Committee, Hearing, 11/9/2017)

EIGHT: Stephanos Bibas of Pennsylvania confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 53 - 43 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit

  • SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): “Professor Bibas's outstanding credentials, wealth of experience, and understanding of the role of a judge in America's constitutional system make him well-qualified to serve as a judge. In addition to serving as a Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania and as the Director of the University's Supreme Court clinic, Professor Bibas clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, worked as a federal prosecutor, and argued six cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. Most importantly, Professor Bibas understands that the proper role of a judge is to apply the law as written and to treat everyone who comes before him equally, not to impose his policy preferences from the bench or choose winners or losers. I believe that Professor Bibas will make an outstanding addition to the Third Circuit and that his intellect, experience, and temperament will serve him well as a federal appellate judge.” (Sen. Toomey, Press Release, 11/3/2017)

SEVEN: Allison H. Eid of Colorado confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 56 - 41 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit

  • SEN. CORY GARDNER (R-CO): “It is an honor … and genuine pleasure to be here to introduce my good friend, Justice Allison Eid and to offer my strong support for her confirmation as a judge on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. There's no doubt that Justice Eid is superbly qualified for the position… For the past decade, she has served as a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court and in 2008, Justice Eid was overwhelmingly retained by the people of Colorado. Prior to her appointment, Justice Eid represented the State of Colorado before the state and federal courts as the state’s solicitor general. She also served as a tenured member on the faculty at … the University of Colorado School of Law where she has taught courses in constitutional law, legislation and torts and published scholarly articles on the topics of federalism and tort law. In addition, Justice Eid has practiced commercial and appellate litigation at the Denver office of the law firm, Arnold & Porter. Justice Eid began her legal career as a law clerk to Judge Jerry Smith on the United States Circuit Court for the Fifth Circuit. She then served as a law clerk to the United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas…. What her resume makes clear is that whatever Justice Eid does, she does it at the highest and best levels.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 9/20/2017)

SIX: Joan Louise Larsen of Michigan confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 60 - 38 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit

  • SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “Justice Larsen's nomination is supported by a broad coalition of lawyers, judges, academic colleagues…. Justice Larsen began her legal career clerking for Justice Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit and Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court…. Justice Larsen has taught constitutional law and criminal law at the University of Michigan Law School since 1998, where she has earned the respect of faculty members and students alike. She won the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching early in her career…. Justice Larsen served as deputy assistant attorney general in the office of legal counsel, working to provide legal advice to the president and executive agencies on difficult issues of constitutional law and statutory interpretation.” (U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, 9/06/2017)

FIVE: Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 55 - 43 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit,

  • SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): “I rise today to speak in support of a fellow Hoosier, Amy Coney Barrett, who has been nominated by President Trump to serve on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Professor Barrett’s credentials are well known. She is a mother of seven children, a distinguished legal scholar at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she herself graduated with high honors and served as editor of the Notre Dame Law Review. She clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Silberman on the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, and she is an expert on the Federal courts. … She brings the skill set and the temperament needed for the job. She will rule according to the law and according to controlling precedents, and she will be faithful to the Constitution. There is no question that Professor Barrett will make an outstanding appellate judge. … This is a historic opportunity, as Professor Barrett would be the first Hoosier woman to have a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court.” (Sen. Young, Congressional Record, S.6906, 10/31/2017)

FOUR: Ralph R. Erickson of North Dakota confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 95 - 1 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit

  • SEN. JOHN HOEVEN (R-ND): “Judge Erickson has served the people of North Dakota and the United States well on the U.S District Court and I support his nomination to serve on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals… Judge Erickson has tremendous experience having served for 23 years in various judicial positions from his start as a Magistrate judge to his current position on the U.S. District Court. Throughout his career, he has upheld the rule of law and shown deep respect for the Constitution.” (Sen. Hoeven, Press Release, 6/7/2017)

THREE: Kevin Christopher Newsom of Alabama confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 66 - 31 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit

  • SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL): “As the former solicitor general of Alabama, Kevin has proved to be an exceptionally skilled attorney. He understands and respects the law, and I believe he will be an asset to our Nation’s judicial system as a Federal judge on the Eleventh Circuit. … I am confident that Kevin Newsom will serve honorably and apply the law with impartiality and fairness, which I believe is required of all judges. I believe that President Trump has made the right decision in selecting Kevin Newsom to sit on the Eleventh Circuit.” (Sen. Shelby, Congressional Record, S.4640, 8/01/2017)

TWO: John Kenneth Bush of Kentucky confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 51 - 47 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit

  • SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “President Trump made an excellent choice in nominating Mr. Bush to serve as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit… an impressive nominee, with a strong legal ability and a thoughtful demeanor. …as a judge, he will be open-minded, fair, and committed to the rule of law.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 6/14/2017)

ONE: Amul R. Thapar of Kentucky confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote 52 - 44 to be United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit

  • SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Judge Thapar will make an outstanding addition to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Sixth Circuit. He has a reputation as a qualified judge with an impressive legal mind. He will fairly apply the law to all who enter his courtroom because, in Judge Thapar’s own words, ‘the most important attribute of a judge is to be open-minded and not to prejudge a case without reading the briefs, researching the law, and hearing from the parties.’ … Judge Thapar has the necessary credentials, integrity, and respect from his colleagues to join the Sixth Circuit.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 5/25/2017)


Related Issues: Nominations, Judicial Nominations