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President Donald Trump has nominated four eminently qualified candidates to fill judicial vacancies on three circuit courts.
Neomi Rao, Allison Rushing, Patrick Bumatay and Ken Lee — who were selected by the administration to occupy positions on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Fourth Circuit, respectively, and the Ninth Circuit for the latter two nominees — will interpret the law as written, uphold the Constitution, reject partisanship and refuse to legislate from the bench.
Let’s discuss the background of each of these nominees likely to serve on our nation’s courts to learn about their judicial philosophies and experiences.
Neomi Rao: A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Rao is no stranger to the world of constitutional law. She has taught as a professor at Antonin Scalia Law School, where she later founded the school’s Center for the Study of the Administrative State.
Prior to her nomination, Rao served as administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs — always with a focus on holding administrative agencies accountable under the purview of Congress.
She was nominated to replace Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Allison Rushing: Rushing, too, possesses a strong background in constitutional law as a former clerk of then-Judge Neil Gorsuch on the Tenth Circuit, Judge David Sentelle on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Justice Thomas. If confirmed, the 36-year-old would be the youngest federal judge in 15 years.
Rushing is a strong originalist who will make an excellent addition to the Fourth Circuit.
Patrick Bumatay: Bumatay — Yale undergrad and Harvard Law — has a long and distinguished resume: He has worked at the Office of the Associate Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, and several offices at the Department of Justice, including, most recently, at the Office of the Attorney General, advising on criminal matters, the national opioid strategy, transnational organized crime and prison and reentry programs.
As with the other nominees, Bumatay possesses a strong background in, and affinity for, the U.S. Constitution. If confirmed, he will be seated on the Ninth Circuit, a court with six vacancies.
Ken Lee: Also headed to the Ninth Circuit is Ken Lee, a private practice attorney with ample experience in government, including as a legal clerk for Judge Emilio Garza on the Fifth Circuit. Lee has also worked in the White House Counsel’s Office, representing the White House in governmental investigations and providing legal advice to the president.
Lee has spoken on numerous panels concerning food and drug law, class actions and the Affordable Care Act. He has also provided pro bono representation for indigent and incarcerated individuals in constitutional litigation.
These judicial picks are exactly what our federal courts need: Hardworking judges who will interpret the Constitution by the letter of the law, and not by their own, personal ideological preferences. Let’s wish them the best of luck on their way through the Senate confirmation process and on our country’s federal courts.