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On December 20, 2017, President Trump nominated Joel M. Carson, III to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Carson is nominated to fill the seat previously held by Paul J. Kelly, Jr., who took senior status on December 31, 2017.

Carson has been a career-long advocate for the oil and gas industry, and the bulk of his work has been in advancing corporate interests in contending with environmental regulations. Carson has also been a member of groups that have opposed the protection of endangered species, advocated for fracking, opposed affirmative action, and opposed civil rights.