WASHINGTON, D.C., November 29, 2018 – Following today’s Senate vote to advance the nomination of Jonathan Kobes to a seat on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:

“Today’s vote to advance the nomination of the egregiously unqualified Jonathan Kobes to the federal bench is one more sign of how far and how fast standards have fallen under the Trump Administration. Kobes is the second Trump Eighth Circuit nominee, after Steven Grasz, to be rated Not Qualified by the American Bar Association. His courtroom experience is so limited as to be almost nonexistent. He has no known academic scholarship. What he does have are partisan political credentials including loyalty to the Federalist Society, the NRA and South Dakota Republican politics. This is a purely political nomination that will not serve the people of the Eighth Circuit, where the bench is already made up almost exclusively of white male Republican appointees with the single exception of Judge Jane Kelly. The Senate should not proceed to confirm this nominee.”

The current active judges on the Eighth Circuit are the following:

Roger Wollman (South Dakota) – Reagan (being replaced by Kobes)
James Loken (Minnesota) – G.H.W. Bush
Lavenski Smith (Arkansas) – G.W. Bush
Steve Colloton (Iowa) – G.W. Bush
Raymond Gruender (Missouri) – G.W. Bush
William Benton (Missouri) – G.W. Bush
Bobby Shepherd (Arkansas) – G.W. Bush
Jane Kelly (Iowa) – Obama
Ralph Erickson (North Dakota) – Trump (Obama originally nominated Jennifer Puhl, who never received a vote by McConnell)
Steve Grasz (Nebraska) – Trump
David Stras (Minnesota) – Trump