This week President Trump unveiled a slate of nominees for federal court positions. One nominee to watch is Judge David Stras, whom Trump nominated to fill a vacancy on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals–the federal appeals court over Arkansas.
Judge Stras was originally on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees. He is currently a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law, and he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is one of the more conservative justices on the court.
Judge Stras is generally considered a conservative who believes in limiting the power of the courts. In 2014 he wrote in a dissenting opinion regarding the Minnesota Supreme Court’s interpretation of state law,
It is well established that the judiciary does not write statutes; nor do we amend them, no matter the circumstances . . . Amending statutes is, and always has been, the Legislature’s job, particularly.
So what does this mean for Arkansas? Well, since Arkansas is in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, it means Judge Stras could hear federal challenges brought against state laws–such as Arkansas’ new pro-life laws.
Given that Judge Stras seems reluctant to strike or rewrite state laws, his nomination to the Eighth Circuit could bode well for any lawsuits filed over, for example, Arkansas’ new ban on dismemberment abortion or the new law preventing abortion doctors from selling organs harvested from aborted babies.
Of course, with any judicial nominee it’s impossible to know for sure what the future holds, but Judge Stras’ nomination to the Eighth Circuit looks promising.
This week, Family Council co-signed a letter to the U.S. Senate in support of Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The letter reads in part,
Judge Gorsuch is widely recognized as a jurist possessed of deep intelligence and true fairmindedness. In 2006 the U.S. Senate recognized these qualities, confirming Gorsuch without dissent to his current position on the 10th Circuit. After a decade of constitutionally sound and clearly written rulings and opinions, Judge Gorsuch deserves once again the swift approval of the Senate.
The letter was produced by the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List.
Altogether, some sixty conservative leaders representing state and national organizations co-signed the letter.
You may recall last month when the United States Senate invoked “the nuclear option” changing the Senate’s rules, making it possible for a simple majority of senators to confirm President Obama’s executive and judicial nominees.
As you know, these nominations are for lifetime appointments to some of our nation’s most powerful courts. So it stands to reason we would want them filled by people a large consensus of our lawmakers agree are qualified for the job, right? Not under the new system.
Family Research Council has articulated very succinctly what the fallout is proving to be in this “post-nuclear” United States Senate:
Senator Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) party got a bench for Christmas — a federal one. That’s the unfortunate effect of the Left’s latest power grab, which yesterday yielded its first prize: a radical appointment to the D.C. Circuit Court. Two months ago, the nomination of Patricia Millett, an anti-Christian, anti-marriage ideologue, was a nonstarter under the chamber’s historic 60-vote threshold. That all changed before Thanksgiving when the Left steamrolled the Senate’s rules and unleashed the majority on a confirmation system that, until recently, gave both parties a say in the process. Now, in this “post-nuclear” world, the Senate that most Americans complained was moving too slowly is suddenly shifting into high gear to give the President’s picks lifetime jobs.