Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy said he will support 5th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Kyle Duncan, amid mounting criticism of Kennedy's hesitation from conservatives in his home state and Washington.
The Republican leveraged longstanding Senate traditions to slow Duncan's nomination to the federal appeals court based in New Orleans. He cited concerns with the nomination process leading to Duncan's selection and the paperwork submitted to Congress regarding the nomination as prompting his hesitation.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Duncan's nomination Wednesday, where Kennedy vocalized his grievances.
Influential conservatives responded immediately by questioning his loyalty to "President Trump or [to] liberal special interest groups in Washington."
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, appearing on Family Research Council president Tony Perkins' radio program on Wednesday evening, called Kennedy's actions "troubling."
Perkins, a former Louisiana congressman and head of the prominent social conservative lobbying group in Washington said on-air, "I will tell you as a Louisianan, I don't think he is representing us well."
One day later, Kennedy announced his intent to support Duncan in a statement to The Advocate in Baton Rouge Thursday night.
"After hearing his testimony and watching him gracefully handle the scrutiny of a public hearing, I am confident that Kyle Duncan will be a welcome addition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit," Kennedy said in the statement. "I plan to vote in favor of him and look forward to welcoming him home to Louisiana."
Judicial Crisis Network chief counsel Carrie Severino, who challenged Kennedy's fidelity to the people of Louisiana on Wednesday, celebrated Kennedy's reversal on Twitter.
"Thank you @SenJohnKennedy for supporting Kyle Duncan for the 5th Circuit," Severino tweeted. "He will serve with distinction and make Louisiana proud."
Earlier this week, Kennedy voted against another federal appeals court nominee, who Kennedy had voted for in committee, and told reporters he would vote against a Trump nominee to be a federal district judge in Alabama.