Sen­a­tors say they did not sign off on ju­di­cial nom­i­nees

Porterville Recorder - - FRONT PAGE -

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Sens. Dianne Fe­in­stein and Ka­mala Har­ris said they did not sign off on three White House nom­i­nees for open Cal­i­for­nia seats on the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals and will op­pose the con­fir­ma­tions, ac­cord­ing to a re­port.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced he had nom­i­nated As­sis­tant U.S. At­tor­ney for the South­ern Dis­trict of Cal­i­for­nia Patrick Bu­matay, Los An­ge­les ap­pel­late at­tor­ney Daniel Collins and Los An­ge­les lit­i­ga­tor Ken­neth Kiyul Lee for the va­can­cies.

The San Fran­cis­cobased 9th Cir­cuit is the na­tion's largest fed­eral ap­peals court and hears cases from nine Western states.

Repub­li­cans have ac­cused the court of hav­ing a lib­eral slant and moved to break it up — an ef­fort sup­ported by Trump.

The court has ruled against Trump's travel ban in­volv­ing sev­eral Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity na­tions and his ex­ec­u­tive or­der threat­en­ing to cut fund­ing for sanc­tu­ary cities that limit co­op­er­a­tion with im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials.

Fe­in­stein, the rank­ing Demo­crat on the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said she and the ad­min­is­tra­tion were still try­ing to reach a con­sen­sus on nom­i­nees when the White House abruptly an­nounced the three nom­i­na­tions, the Los An­ge­les Times re­ported Thurs­day.

"I re­peat­edly told the White House I wanted to reach an agree­ment on a pack­age of 9th Cir­cuit nom­i­nees, but last night the White House moved for­ward with­out con­sult­ing me," Fe­in­stein said in a state­ment.

Lily Adams, a spokes­woman for Har­ris, an­other Demo­cratic mem­ber of the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee, said 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."

A let­ter sent to Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles E. Grass­ley, an Iowa Repub­li­can, by the White House said it made a good faith ef­fort to work with Cal­i­for­nia's sen­a­tors.

"We have made more at­tempts to con­sult and de­voted more time to that state than any other in the coun­try," White House Coun­sel Don­ald Mcgahn wrote.

Mean­while, the U.S. Sen­ate voted 51-44 on Thurs­day to con­firm an­other Trump nom­i­nee, Idaho at­tor­ney Ryan Dou­glas Nel­son, to the 9th Cir­cuit. He takes over a seat va­cated by N. Randy Smith, an ap­pointee of Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Only one Demo­crat, Doug Jones of Alabama, voted in fa­vor of Nel­son.

The Lead­er­ship Con­fer­ence, a coali­tion of civil and hu­man rights groups, ac­cused Nel­son of be­ing a con­ser­va­tive ide­o­logue who had a trou­bling record on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Idaho's two Repub­li­can sen­a­tors, Mike Crapo and James Risch, sup­ported Nel­son's nom­i­na­tion.

"He un­der­stands that a judge is re­spon­si­ble for in­ter­pret­ing and ap­ply­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion and laws of the land as they are writ­ten, and not to be a maker of laws from the bench," Crapo said in a state­ment.

Among the nom­i­nees in Cal­i­for­nia, Bu­matay works as a coun­selor to the U.S. at­tor­ney gen­eral's of­fice on var­i­ous crim­i­nal is­sues, in­clud­ing opi­oid abuse and transna­tional or­ga­nized crime. Fe­in­stein's of­fice said his name was not among those ini­tially pro­posed by the White House.

AP FILE PHOTO BY RICH PE­DRON­CELLI

In this Aug. 22, photo, Cal­i­for­nia’s Demo­cratic United States Sen­a­tors, Dianne Fe­in­stein, left, and Ka­mala Har­ris, walk to­gether to speak at the 21st An­nual Lake Ta­hoe Sum­mit in South Lake Ta­hoe, Calif.

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