Tagconfirmation

U.S. Senate confirms Hinderaker to federal district court judgeship

The U.S. Senate confirmed John Hinderaker to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona by a 70-27 vote. The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Hinderaker receives his federal judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the 13-member court will have six Republican-appointed judges and seven Democrat-appointed judges. Hinderaker will join four other judges appointed by President Trump.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 217 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 160 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

Hinderaker was a judge of the Pima County Superior Court in Arizona from 2018 to 2020. Before that, he was an attorney in private practice. He earned his B.A., with honors, in business economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1991 and his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1996. During his legal studies, he was a member of the Arizona Law Review.

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United States District Court for the District of Arizona
Federal judges nominated by Donald Trump



Judicial nominee confirmed to U.S. Court of Federal Claims

On September 22, 2020, the United States Senate confirmed the nomination of Edward Meyers to a federal judgeship on the United States Court of Federal Claims by a 66-27 vote. Meyers will join the court upon receiving his judicial commission and taking his judicial oath. 

Meyers was originally nominated to the seat by President Donald Trump (R) on November 19, 2019. The nomination was returned to the president at the sine die adjournment of the U.S. Senate on January 3, 2020. The president officially renominated Meyers on January 6. Meyers was nominated to replace Judge Lawrence J. Block, who retired on January 8, 2016. Meyers had his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 8, 2020. Meyers was reported to the full Senate on March 12, 2020, after a 15-6 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After Meyers receives his judicial commission, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims will have:

  • Five vacancies
  • Eight Republican-appointed judges and three Democrat-appointed judges.

In addition to Meyers, President Trump has appointed five judges to the court. President George W. Bush (R) appointed two judges to the court, and President Barack Obama (D) appointed three judges to the court.

Since taking office, President Trump has nominated 269 individuals to federal judgeships, 217 of whom have been confirmed. There were 78 vacancies in the federal judiciary, as of September 1, 2020. Of those vacancies, 47 had pending nominations.

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United States Court of Federal Claims
Federal judges nominated by Donald Trump
Article I tribunal



U.S. Senate confirms six U.S. District Court nominees

The U.S. Senate confirmed six nominees to U.S. District Court judgeships. The 94 U.S. District Courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts. The Senate has confirmed 214 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 157 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

The confirmed nominees are:

Stephen McGlynn and David Dugan, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. When they assume office (after receiving their judicial commission and taking their judicial oath), the court will have:
• No vacancies.
• Two Democrat-appointed judges and two Republican-appointed judges.

Stanley Blumenfeld, Mark Scarsi, and John Holcomb, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. When they assume office, the court will have:
• Seven vacancies.
• Nine Democrat-appointed judges and 12 Republican-appointed judges.

Todd Robinson, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. After Robinson assumes office, the court will have:
• Four vacancies.
• Four Democrat-appointed judges and five Republican-appointed judges.

Blumenfeld, Scarsi, Holcomb, and Robinson are the first four District Court nominees to be confirmed to a California court since Trump took office.

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Fabiana Pierre-Louis confirmed to state Supreme Court by New Jersey Senate

On August 26, 2020, Justice Walter Timpone announced that he planned to retire early from the New Jersey Supreme Court if supreme court nominee Fabiana Pierre-Louis was confirmed by the Senate before September. On August 27, 2020, the New Jersey Senate voted 39-0 to approve Pierre-Louis.

Pierre-Louis is Governor Phil Murphy’s (D) first nominee to the supreme court. Because Justice Timpone will reach the age of 70 this year, he must retire due to a provision in the state’s constitution.

In the case of a vacancy on the court, the governor is tasked with selecting a nominee who is then confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by a confirmation by the entire Senate.

The state of New Jersey mandates partisan balance on the court. Justice Timpone was nominated as a Democrat, so Gov. Murphy had to nominate a Democrat to the court according to state law. Justice Timpone was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Pierre-Louis is a first generation American and her parents are Haitian immigrants. Gov. Murphy stated, “I am honored to have put her name forward, and to see someone with a different set of life experiences and perspectives on our Supreme Court, a judicial body where New Jerseyans from all walks of life turn for justice.”

After Gov. Murphy announced her nomination, Pierre-Louis stated, “Many years ago, my parents came to the United States from Haiti with not much more than the clothes on their backs and the American dream in their hearts… I think they have achieved that dream beyond measure because my life is certainly not representative of the traditional trajectory of someone who would one day be nominated to the Supreme Court of New Jersey.”

Pierre-Louis was a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. She was also a law clerk for state Supreme Court Justice John Wallace Jr.

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Mason confirmed as New Hampshire Fish and Game executive

The New Hampshire Executive Council confirmed dairy farmer Scott Mason as the New Hampshire Executive Director of Fish and Game on August 5. Governor Chris Sununu (R) initially appointed Mason on June 10 of this year.

Mason will serve a term ending in March 2024. He succeeds three-term executive director Glenn Normandeau, whose third and final term was extended from March 31, 2020, to August pending his replacement’s confirmation. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission voted in September 2019 not to reappoint Normandeau to the role.

As the Fish and Game executive director, Mason is tasked with overseeing the conservation and protection of fish and game and their habitats, as well as keeping the public informed about these resources. Ballotpedia covers 11 other state executive offices in New Hampshire. All of these offices except for the offices of the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, and executive council are non-partisan positions.

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Senate confirms Cronan to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

The U.S. Senate confirmed John Cronan to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by a vote of 55-42. The Southern District of New York is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Cronan receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have two vacancies, seven Republican-appointed judges, and 19 Democrat-appointed judges. Cronan will join three other judges appointed by President Trump.

Cronan earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University in 1998 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 2001. During his legal studies, he was the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law and Policy Review.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 203 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 146 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

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Davis joins Tennessee Court of Appeals after delayed confirmation

Over 60 days after Gov. Bill Lee (R) appointed Kristi Davis to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Davis was confirmed and sworn into office. She resigned from her position on the state’s Sixth Circuit Court on July 31 and assumed office on the appellate court on August 3.

Davis fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Charles Susano, the longest-serving judge in the history of the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Lee appointed Davis on May 28, 2020, but her confirmation hearing was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Tennessee state legislature suspended its legislative session this spring effective March 19 until June 1. The legislature then adjourned on June 19.

Had the legislature voted to confirm Davis upon returning to session in June, she would have been required to stand for retention election this month. Tennessee appellate judges are mandated to stand for retention election in the next general election occurring at least 30 days after the vacancy occurs, and general judicial elections in the state take place during the non-judicial primary in August.

The Tennessee courts reported that mail-in ballots for the August election had already been distributed and that it would have cost an additional $700,000 to send out ballots including Davis’ name. Tennessee law states that nominees not confirmed by the state legislature within 60 days are automatically confirmed the following day. Tennessee Sen. Mike Bell (R) said of the decision to allow Davis to be automatically confirmed, “After talking about it and realizing that especially in these times of crunched budgets $700,000 is not an insignificant amount of money…What we decided to do would be to allow the nominee to be confirmed basically by default by us not acting.”

Judicial elections for the appellate court in Tennessee are held every two years in even-numbered years. Davis will thus stand for retention election in 2022, and her current term ends on August 31 of that year.

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Judicial nominee confirmed to federal district court

On July 28, 2020, the U.S. Senate confirmed David Joseph to a federal judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana by a 55-42 vote. Joseph will join the court upon receiving his judicial commission and taking his judicial oath.

Joseph was nominated to the seat by President Donald Trump (R) on December 2, 2019, to replace Judge Dee Drell, who assumed senior status on November 30, 2017. The nomination was returned to the president at the sine die adjournment of the U.S. Senate on January 3, 2020. The president officially renominated Joseph on January 6. Joseph’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was held on January 8, 2020, and the committee voted to advance Joseph’s nomination to the full Senate on May 14, by a 12-10 vote.

After Joseph receives commission, the Western District of Louisiana will have:
• No vacancies
• Six Republican-appointed judges

• One Democrat-appointed judge

In addition to Joseph, President Trump has appointed four judges to the court. President George W. Bush (R) appointed one judge to the court, and President Barack Obama (D) appointed one judge to the court.

Since taking office, President Trump has nominated 262 individuals to federal judgeships, 202 of whom have been confirmed. As of July 30, 2020, there were 79 vacancies in the federal judiciary, 49 pending nominations, and three future federal judicial vacancies.

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U.S. Senate confirms Hardy to U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

The U.S. Senate confirmed Scott Hardy to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania by a vote of 65-30 on July 27. The Western District of Pennsylvania is one of 94 U.S. District Courts. They are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts.

After Hardy receives his judicial commission and takes his judicial oath, the court will have one vacancy, seven Republican-appointed judges, and two Democrat-appointed judges. Hardy will join seven other judges appointed by President Trump.

Hardy was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1971. He earned his B.A., magna cum laude, from Allegheny College in 1993 and his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1996. He was a shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., in Pittsburgh from 2010 to 2020.

The U.S. Senate has confirmed 201 of President Trump’s Article III judicial nominees—two Supreme Court justices, 53 appellate court judges, 144 district court judges, and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges—since January 2017.

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Senate confirms Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence

The U.S. Senate voted 49-44 on May 21 to confirm U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to the position of director of national intelligence (DNI). Ratcliffe will take over the role from the current acting DNI, Richard Grenell. Grenell is the second acting DNI to serve in an interim capacity since Dan Coats stepped down in August 2019.

All 49 yea votes in the full Senate came from Republican senators. Forty-three Democrats and one independent voted nay. 4 Republican, 3 Democratic, and one independent senator did not vote.

Ratcliffe will be the sixth person to become DNI since the first appointee was sworn in in 2005. Four acting directors of national intelligence have also served in the role, three of them in the Trump administration.

In order to assume federal executive duties, Ratcliffe will need to resign from representing Texas’ 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that the governor would not call a special election to fill the vacancy caused by Ratcliffe’s resignation.

Ratcliffe ran unopposed in the March 3 Republican primary. Republican leaders in his district will meet in August to select the party’s nominee who will run in the general election.

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