As our own Dan Spencer noted back in July, “Trump is on course to reshape the judiciary in a notably conservative direction, even if he doesn’t get any more appointments to the Supreme Court.”
Among the latest entries are two well-known Texans with strong conservative credentials and close ties to some of the Lone Star State’s most popular federal figures, both selected to fill vacancies on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and Dallas appellate lawyer James Ho emerged from a field of a half-dozen contenders for two open Texas seats on the court, which covers Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.” – Houston Chronicle
The selection of Willett and Ho met with praise from both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. The Texas Senators – both of whom serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee – had recommended the nominations.
“I am thrilled to support the nomination of Don Willett and Jim Ho to the Fifth Circuit,” Cruz said in a press release. “I have been close friends with them both for decades, and I know them personally to be brilliant lawyers and principled conservatives.”
Also from the Chronicle story:
“Both of these gentlemen will do an outstanding job once confirmed,” Cornyn said. Ho worked as Cornyn’s chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Cornyn said both are viewed as conservatives who will strictly interpret the law. “I’m confident that both Judge Willett and Jim Ho will be that kind of judge,” he said.
Two other nominees – both from Louisiana – were nominated for spots on the 5th Circuit Court. Kyle Duncan was lead counsel in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, and Kurt Englehardt is the current Chief Justice for Louisiana’s Eastern District Court.
In addition to the four 5th Circuit nominees, The White House announced nominees for five other federal court seats on Thursday.
Cruz’ statement went on to note the importance of selecting conservative judges for federal court positions, particularly in the wake of Obama administration nominees.
“Our country learned under President Obama just how fast liberty recedes when judges decide cases based on personal preference rather than the law as written. I am encouraged that, with these individuals on the Fifth Circuit, the tide will steadily turn back towards the rule of law. I commend the President for these nominations and hope that my colleagues in the Senate quickly confirm all of them.”