« Alabama finally carries out death sentence for Thomas Arthur | Main | "U.S. Prison Population Trends 1999-2015: Modest Reductions with Significant Variation" »

May 26, 2017

Full Senate confirms Donald Trump's first circuit pick, Judge Amul Thapar, to Sixth Circuit

As Politico reports here, the "Senate voted 52-44 on Thursday to install Thapar, a favorite of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), at the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."  Here is more about this confirmation and additional judicial confirmation battles on the horizon:

The confirmation marked the first judicial nominee aside from now-Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court for Trump, who came into office with an usually higher number of judicial vacancies....

In addition to Thapar, Trump has nominated 10 prospective judges to the lower courts. Two in particular could trigger a partisan battle over the so-called blue slip rule — a long-standing custom of the Senate Judiciary Committee that says the panel will not advance a judicial nominee without the consent of both the candidates’ home-state senators.

The committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said recently that the blue slip rule would be much stricter for district court judges that cover just a single state, rather than the more powerful circuit court nominees that span a broader region.  And other Republicans agree, despite comments earlier this month that signaled the GOP would stand by that tradition.  “I like the blue slip tradition as it pertains to district court judges, but I never thought it applies to circuit court,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Democrats have already started fighting back, arguing that the Judiciary Committee strictly abided by the blue slip rule under President Barack Obama and that Trump should be treated the same way.  Under Obama, 17 judicial nominees — 11 for the district court and six for the circuit courts — never advanced because a blue slip wasn’t returned. One of the unreturned blue slips was for the vacant 6th Circuit seat that will be filled by Thapar after his confirmation on Thursday....

Thapar, like Gorsuch before him, was drawn from a list of potential Supreme Court nominees released by Trump during his campaign with input from the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.

As I noted in this post when Judge Thapar was nominated earlier this year, I have come to know Judge Thapar personally and I think very highly of him (in part because he asked me to file an amicus brief in one of his highest-profile sentencing cases).  I am already excited to see his coming opinions in criminal justices cases for the Sixth Circuit.  And Judge Thapar's nomination and reasonably smooth confirmation now perhaps serves to make him a front-runner for any coming Supreme Court opening. 

May 26, 2017 at 09:53 AM | Permalink


From my understanding, the Democrats opposed him in particular for non-sentencing reasons, less a concern of this blog, but I have no reason to think he isn't a fine person, just like the more liberal leaning judges who would be appointed by another person would be.

Posted by: Joe | May 26, 2017 10:39:55 AM

The 'rats are in full opposition mode.

Posted by: federalist | May 26, 2017 11:09:23 AM


The irony is that the Retardicans have never left the opposition. They simply went from opposing everything the Democrats did to now opposing each other as much as possible.

Posted by: Daniel | May 27, 2017 12:15:05 PM

The 'rats are scared to death that some of the smarter Trump ideas--e.g., reduction of the corp tax rate, will take hold.

Posted by: federalist | May 28, 2017 12:36:44 PM

We hope he is better then the glorified attorney's that serve the District Courts. We need judges that work for the people, not the corporations. We need judges that can read the Texas Constitution and supporting documents with a backbone.

Posted by: LC in Texas | May 29, 2017 10:28:54 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB