Two of President Trump's nominees to the federal courts of appeals survived Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Thursday.
John K. Bush's nomination to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals narrowly passed along an 11-9 vote. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Kevin Newsom sailed through the committee by an 18-2 vote.
Bush suffered under scrutiny from senators of both parties for pseudonymous blog posts he made expressing his political views on presidential politics and judicial activism. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley acknowledged the blog posts in his opening remarks at Thursday's committee meeting and said he did not think Democrats appeared as concerned with judicial nominees' blog postings under President Obama.
"[T]he Democrats certainly set the standard that prolific bloggers who write with no holds barred are certainly eligible to be judges," Grassley said. "I don't think we should change that standard now."
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Democratic member, said she thought Bush and Schiff's various writings shown "strident" and "provocative" views that raised concerns about their "temperament and impartiality."
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a long-time Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, joined Feinstein's criticism of Bush and Schiff and said the "Bush and Schiff nominations never should have been made."
Despite such complaints, both of Trump's nominees succeeded and will now undergo consideration by the full Senate.
Feinstein also grumbled at Thursday's meeting that right-leaning members of the legal community alleged Senate Democrats sought to obstruct various judicial nominees put forward by Trump.
"There's been no obstruction," Feinstein said. "Many of these nominees have voluminous records that home state senators need to review."
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 100-0 to confirm David Nye to a federal district court judgeship in Idaho. Nye was first nominated by Obama and re-nominated by Trump because no vote was held on Nye's nomination before Obama left office.
The rare show of bipartisanship ends a "more than two-year stretch in which Idaho was down to just one active federal district judge," as the Spokesman-Review in Idaho noted.