The Senate Judiciary Committee approved four of President Trump’s judicial nominations Thursday, including one nomination to a federal appeals court.
Only one nominee, Howard Nielson to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, was voted out of the committee along party lines.
Trump’s pick of Nielson was scrutinized because of his work in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. There, he worked alongside officials who authored a series of memos on the CIA’s use of torture.
But the rest were bipartisan. The panel voted 15-6 to approve the nomination of Kurt Engelhardt to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The nomination of James Sweeney, who was nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, passed by voice vote, and the nomination of Barry Ashe, tapped to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, passed with only one vote in opposition.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held over four nominations Thursday, including the nomination of Michael Brennan to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., declined to return her "blue slip" on Brennan, thereby signaling her support for a nominee from her home state. But Grassley held Brennan’s confirmation hearing last month in a move that was rebuked by committee Democrats.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has been moving to approve Trump’s judicial nominations at a quick pace, following on a record-breaking year for the Senate regarding confirmations to the federal appeals courts.
Last year, the Senate confirmed 12 of the president’s nominees to the appeals courts, the most of any president during a first year in office.