Published in Bloomberg Law
Steven Menashi’s contested Judiciary Committee hearing, for a seat on the crucial New York-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, is the latest chapter in a historic Republican push to confirm judges, over objections from a vocal Democratic minority.
Though the former Kirkland & Ellis partner faced tough questions—including from one Republican senator in particular—there’s no clear indication that he won’t be confirmed to a court that hears important financial cases and could resolve potential disputes stemming from reported investigation into the president’s private business there. Most federal cases go no further than the appeals courts, which are the last stop before the Supreme Court.
Also on Wednesday, the latest batch of confirmations brought the total number of federal judges appointed by Trump to 150. That includes over 40 on the appeals courts and Trump’s two Supreme Court appointments, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The president is fulfilling a campaign pledge to remake the judiciary with young conservatives like the 40-year-old Menashi.
Heading into the hearing, Menashi, who clerked for conservative Justice Samuel Alito, faced criticism from progressives over his past writings on race, abortion, sexual assault, and other issues. The group Alliance for Justice critiqued his “long written record opposing and undermining equity for communities of color, women, and LGBTQ Americans.”