Published in the Associate Press
The Senate has confirmed two conservative, Justice Department lawyers to posts on a California-based appeals court that President Donald Trump has tagged as a liberal bastion.
The two nominees won seats on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers a wide swath of Western states from Alaska to Arizona, despite sharp opposition from their home-state senators. The 9th Circuit handles cases of high interest to the Trump administration, such as immigration and detention and famously rejected Trump’s proposed travel ban on Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court later upheld the ban.
Trump has called the 9th Circuit a “big thorn in our side” and “a complete and total disaster.”
Lawrence VanDyke, a deputy assistant attorney general from Nevada, and Patrick Bumatay, a federal prosecutor from California, were approved in separate votes. VanDyke was confirmed, 51-44, Wednesday, while Bumatay was confirmed Tuesday, 53-40.
Nevada Democratic senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., opposed both nominees. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., voted against VanDyke but was absent for the vote on Bumatay. She has spoken out against his nomination.