Another vacancy will soon open on the famously liberal federal appeals court on the West Coast, and the jockeying among conservatives to advance a favorite nominee has already begun.
Judge Carlos Bea, a Bush appointee, will take senior status on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, though a date has not been set.
The opening will give Mr. Trump his ninth slot to fill on the court — six of his picks are already sitting.
Some conservatives say that seat should be earmarked for Patrick Bumatay, an openly gay Filipino man whom Mr. Trump had eyed for the 9th Circuit before, but ended up nominating him for a district judgeship instead as part of a deal with California’s two Democratic senators.
“Patrick Bumatay is a former colleague and good friend. Harvard Law. Bush 43 White House. Career prosecutor. Tireless work for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh confirmations. He would make a phenomenal addition to the Ninth Circuit,” said Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project, a group supporting Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees.
Such a nomination could spark a confrontation with Sen. Kamala Harris and the Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
They complained about lack of consultation when Mr. Bumatay was first pondered for the appeals court, and have yet to return their blue slips, a Senate tradition showing approval of a nominee, for his nomination to the district court.
But the 41-year-old has the backing of the National Filipino American Lawyers Association.
“He would be the first Filipino-American judge to ever serve on a federal appeals court, the second openly LGBT federal circuit court judge, and the second Filipino-American Article III judge in the history of the United States,” the association said in a letter to the president.
Ms. Feinstein on Wednesday couldn’t recall Mr. Bumatay and told The Washington Times to check with her staff about her position on him.
“I can’t think of which one he is,” she said. “I don’t want to mix them up.”
Her office did not return multiple requests for comment.
The 9th Circuit hears appeals from Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.
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