Two democratic judge appointees to federal appeals courts expressed reluctance to retire during President Donald Trump’s administration, claiming the president has not fielded impressive judicial nominees, reports The Daily Caller.
The two unnamed judges told Buzzfeed News that they have concerns about the temperament of Trump’s judicial candidates, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of his nominees attained approving reviews from legal trade associations.
Once circuit judge even claimed that Trump’s nominees lacked the proper qualifications necessary for judicial service. According to Buzzfeed, both of the judges were appointed by Democratic presidents.
“Given the caliber of nominees I’m seeing, I’m not comfortable creating a spot that might be filled by someone consistent with the qualifications, or lack of qualifications, of some of the folks I’ve seen nominated,” the judge said.
This is just a plainly false statement because the Daily Caller reports that most of the president’ judicial nominees have earned the approval of the American Bar Association (ABA) a powerful trade group that vets candidates for the federal bench.
The judge is eligible to assume senior status, a quasi-retirement under which aging judges may leave active service but still participate in a handful of cases. Another thing these liberal judges like to say is that the president is “blatantly politicizing” the courts, as they expressed anxiety about Trump’s agenda.
“This president is someone who I am just so anxious about what he might do and also the quality of some of the nominees, some of whom have now withdrawn,” the judge said. “That makes it a greater concern for me than if it were a different president who happened to be Republican but was making wise decisions with respect to the judiciary and wasn’t so blatantly politicizing it.”
The Daily Caller reports that many judges, especially ones at the circuit court level have ideological loyalties to certain legal principles or modes of interpretation, and schedule retirement so as to ensure they are succeeded by a like-minded judge.
These statements, however, are rare since judges rarely ever interact with the press, especially concerning a topic like this one and as sensitive and politically fraught as retirement.
“‘Of Trump’s 58 nominees, 54 secured ‘qualified’ or ‘well qualified’ ratings from the association’s standing committee on the judiciary. Trump’s circuit court appointees in particular have fared well under ABA scrutiny — 15 of his 18 nominees obtained ‘well qualified’ ratings,’ reports The Daily Caller.”
One study suggests that the ABA, which supports a number of progressive social causes, tends to favor Democratic appointees, though the group insists its vetting process is scrupulously non-partisan.
Trump’s administration has faced several nomination blunders this year, however. Three nominees withdrew from consideration in December over concerns about experience and temperament.
One of the most noticeable blunders this year was FEC Commissioner, Andrew Petersen, a nominee for the federal trial court in Washington, D.C., who withdrew after failing to answer basic questions about trial procedure during his confirmation hearing.
Jeff Mateer and Brett Talley, nominees for trial courts in Texas and Alabama, also withdrew given their histories of inflammatory rhetoric on social issues.