Published in The Washington Times
Senators on Tuesday approved Paul Matey to be a judge on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, effectively flipping control of the court from Democratic-appointed judges to GOP picks.
Mr. Matey, who served as deputy chief counsel to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during Bridgegate, was confirmed on a 54-45 vote. Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, sided with Republicans on the vote.
Mr. Matey is the third Trump nominee and seventh GOP presidential appointee on the 3rd Circuit, given them the advantage over the six judges named by Democratic presidents.
Also on Tuesday, senators overcame a Democratic filibuster on Neomi Rao, a White House official whom Mr. Trump has nominated to fill the appeals court seat left vacant by the elevation of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. She advanced on a 53-46 party line vote.
Republicans cheered the moves while liberal activists complained.
“The confirmation of Paul Matey is the latest erosion of Senate norms in President Trump and Senate Republican’s drive to pack the courts,” said Dan Goldberg legal director for Alliance for Justice.