On September 28, 2017, President Trump nominated Ryan Holte to the United States Court of Federal Claims. Holte joins a string of Trump judicial nominees whose youth and inexperience are especially striking. Notably, the nomination of another recent judicial candidate who had never tried a case, Brett Talley, was sidelined when his lack of qualifications was widely derided on the Hill and in the press. Holte’s fate will soon be decided.
Like Talley, Holte is in his mid-thirties: 34, as of this writing. He graduated from law school less than ten years ago, and has openly admitted, “I have not tried a case.” Nominations to the Court of Federal Claims are not evaluated by the American Bar Association; however, if they were, Holte would be immediately deemed unqualified on the basis of his lack of experience.
Holte’s lack of experience is even more notable given the White House’s own claims about its judicial nominations. In response to reports that President Trump has nominated the fewest women to the federal bench in recent history, the Chicago Tribune reported that “White House spokesman Hogan Gidley says Trump is focused on qualifications and suggests that prioritizing diversity would bring politics to the bench.” Holte’s nomination stands in sharp contrast to this claim, and suggests the opposite: that the White House is in fact prioritizing ideology over credentials – while it continues to place candidates who are predominantly white men on the bench. Read more