Biden Administration to Nominate Federal Judge for Western District of Arkansas

The Biden-Harris Administration will soon nominate a federal district judge to fill a vacancy in Arkansas’ Western District.

U.S. District Judge Paul Holmes, III, of Fort Smith took Senior Status effective November 10, 2021.

Senior Status is a form of semiretirement for federal judges. It means the president will need to nominate a new judge to fill the position full time.

There are currently some 77 judicial vacancy in America and more than two dozens nominees pending before congress.

As of last week, President Biden has not nominated anyone to fill Judge Holmes’ position on the court.

U.S. District Court nominations rarely receive very much attention, but they are critical judicial positions.

When a state law is challenged in federal court, district judges are the first to hear the case. Right now many of the district judges in Arkansas — including U.S. District Judges Paul Holmes, James Moody, and Kristine Baker — are Obama appointees.

Because our district courts lean to the left, Arkansas often loses court cases over abortion and other social issues at the lower level, but we get better rulings from the more conservative judges on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It doesn’t look like those dynamics are going to change under President Biden. However, it will be interesting to see who he nominates to replace Judge Holmes in the coming weeks.

Lawsuit Shows Importance of Lower Courts, Government Offices

U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky (above) is presiding over the case.

With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last week, all eyes turn to the U.S. Supreme Court and the race for the presidency this November.

Every time a seat on the nation’s high court is vacated, Americans are reminded of a simple fact: Elections really do have consequences.

That’s especially true of presidential elections, because the president is responsible for nominating federal judges and appointing men and women to lead government agencies.

There’s no denying that the U.S. Supreme Court has tremendous power. But the truth is the nation’s district courts and appeals courts arguably are just as important — if not more so.

For example, right now the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing a Kroger store in Conway, Arkansas over alleged religious discrimination.

According a complaint the EEOC filed last week, the Kroger store disciplined — and eventually fired — two employees who declined to wear a rainbow insignia on their store aprons.

The rainbow insignia is widely understood to be a symbol of gay pride, and the two employees both profess to be Christians who object to homosexual behavior.

The U.S. government’s lawsuit against the store argues that discipling and firing the employees ultimately amounts to religious discrimination under federal law.

The case is currently before U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky.

President Trump nominated Judge Rudofsky in July of 2019, and the U.S. Senate confirmed him last November.

Judge Rudofsky no doubt will give the case a very fair hearing.

It’s difficult to imagine the Obama Administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission taking up a case like this one a few years ago.

From 2013 – 2016, the Obama Administration issued directive after directive promoting a pro-LGBT agenda — often at the expense of religious liberty.

The Trump Administration’s EEOC is standing up for religious liberty in this lawsuit, and one of President Trump’s judicial nominees is presiding over the case.

This lawsuit may never land before the U.S. Supreme Court, but it still could impact how businesses in America treat their employees’ religious beliefs and how future courts handle religious discrimination cases.

Cases like these often don’t get the attention they deserve, but they can affect Americans for years to come.

President Trump Names Sen. Tom Cotton, Others as Possible Supreme Court Nominees

On Wednesday President Trump released the names of 20 potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees he is adding to the short list he created in 2016.

Among those named as potential Supreme Court justices is U.S. Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas.

In response, Sen. Cotton released a statement, saying, “I’m honored that President Trump asked me to consider serving on the Supreme Court and I’m grateful for his confidence. I will always heed the call of service to our nation. The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom, and erodes the Second Amendment.”

In his remarks, President Trump said the 20 individuals he named would be jurists in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito.

The Trump Administration has made several judicial nominations that impact Arkansas — including Judges Lee Rudofsky, Steve Grasz, David Stras.

Judge Grasz was one of the three judges last month who unanimously decided to unblock four pro-life laws Arkansas passed in 2017. The laws currently are not being enforced pending a hearing before the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

At this point there’s nothing to suggest that President Trump will be making another U.S. Supreme Court nomination anytime soon, but it’s good to know which potential nominees his administration might consider.

You can find the names of all 20 additions to the president’s short list of possible judicial nominees here.