When the Senate is back in session next week, they’ll resume debate and confirm more federal judges put forth by the Trump Administration.
Before the August recess, senators pushed 12 judges through the nomination process and onto seats in federal district courts across the country. Now, 22 more district court judges have been nominated. District courts are the lowest level of United States federal court.
On July 30, prior to the congressional recess, the Senate unanimously agreed to hold confirmation votes for six of the nominees. Those votes will happen when Senate leaders of both parties, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, agree to a time.
As with all of Trump’s nominees so far, the potential judges have a variety of backgrounds. Some have more relevant experiences as judges in different courts, while some potential judges were previously nominated by President Barack Obama.
But there were also a few who, while qualified, represent more right-wing views coming to the district courts. And some have more controversial origins in their nomination process.
One of the upcoming votes will center on John Sinatra Jr., nominated for the Western District of New York. He was proposed by Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican, over the preference of Sen. Schumer.
Since 1993, Sinatra has been a member of the Federalist Society, a group known for promoting conservative judges.
Schumer recommended Kathleen Sweet in 2016, but Sen. McConnell blocked her from a floor vote. As a result, the seat went unfilled. With Republican president Donald Trump now in office, he pushed for her re-nomination, but Sinatra was interviewed instead.
Schumer has since endorsed Sinatra, and many Republicans and Democrats have praised the nomination.
In a statement, Schumer said, “This nomination was the result of a sound, collaborative and bipartisan process that produced a well-respected and legally qualified choice with broad bipartisan support throughout Buffalo and the Western New York community.”
Douglas Cole is considered to be one of Trump’s more right-wing nominees.
Cole also is a member of the Federalist Society. A majority of the clients he represented as an attorney related to regulatory cases in the private sector. According to his Senate questionnaire, only 10 percent of his trials were in front of a jury.
Cole represented Uber from 2015 to 2017 in a case asking whether the ride-sharing service was able to operate in a Florida county.
According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, Cole is not a defender of abortion rights.
In 2006, he defended an Ohio law requiring women have an in-person meeting with a doctor 24 hours before undergoing an abortion. In the case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the requirement was constitutional.
“This type of abortion restriction puts unnecessary burdens on women seeking care, especially in rural areas,” NARAL wrote in an informational sheet about Cole.
Cole also defended Ohio’s Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) provisions.
If confirmed, Cole will serve the Southern District of Ohio. He was recommended by both Ohio senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown.
This new slate of prospects will bring Trump’s total number of judicial nominees over 200. So far, the Republican-controlled Senate has confirmed most of Trump’s nominees.
NPR reports the majority have been white men, and most of the judges appointed are young, with an ability to serve on the courts for decades.
By Nikoel Hytrek