Conservatives often ridicule the federal Ninth Circuit Court in California as the “Ninth Circus” because it is so reliably left-wing in its rulings. Donald Trump now has the chance to put three judges on the court to dilute its hardcore leftism. But Democrats are racing to try and stop the president from performing his lawful duty to appoint judges.
Both of the state’s liberal, Democrat US. Senators are furious that Trump is moving forward to fill the court’s three empty seats.
For several months the administration has been quietly trying to make a deal with Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, but it is clear that the two senators just won’t budge on even moderate nominees.
But now, the Sacrament Bee says that the administration is moving forward despite a lack of support from Harris and Feinstein:
On Wednesday night, the Trump administration announced it was nominating three attorneys to the Ninth Circuit, the largest and busiest federal appeals court in the country. Among the thorny issues the court has tackled or could decide on are the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program for undocumented young people brought to the country as children, the president’s travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries, and a lawsuit challenging the White House’s attempts to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities.
The White House also announced nominees for three district court vacancies in California on Wednesday.
President Trump’s nominees for the appeals court — litigators Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee and Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Bumatay — are all based in Southern California, are prominent members of the conservative Federalist Society, and have worked for Republican administrations. None of the three were approved by Feinstein or Harris via a process known as a “blue slip,” the senators’ offices confirmed Thursday.
“Last night the White House moved forward without consulting me, picking controversial candidates from its initial list and another individual with no judicial experience who had not previously been suggested,” Feinstein said in a statement.
“Instead of working with our office to identify consensus nominees for the 9th Circuit, the White House continues to try to pack the courts with partisan judges who will blindly support the President’s agenda, instead of acting as an independent check on this Administration,” Lily Adams, Harris’ communications director, said in a statement.
As noted above, a president usually waits for senators to offer a list of candidates they would like to see nominated to the federal courts in their states. Once a choice is made by the White House, then the senators will hand in a “blue slip” approval so that the nomination can be made with no muss and no fuss. Then, everyone is happy.
But, since the administration is being stonewalled by Feinstein and Harris, Trump is brushing aside the “blue slip” practice and naming his nominees anyway.
Now, California’s senators are protesting the nominations and promising to do their best to block the president’s choices.
Of course, for the two senators it is all about keeping the “Ninth Circus” a reliably left-wing court. Feinstein and Harris want to maintain the leftist direction of the court so that activists can still shop their activist cases to the left-wing court so that they can get favorable rulings.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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