Former Alabama Official Confirmed to Seat on 11th Circuit

WASHINGTON (CN) — The Senate on Tuesday narrowly confirmed the former solicitor general of Alabama to a seat on the 11th Circuit, over objections from Democrats critical of his record on voting rights.

The vote marks the second time Judge Andrew Brasher has received the Senate’s blessing, as he was confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama in May. Brasher served as Alabama’s solicitor general from 2014 to 2019 and as deputy solicitor general starting in 2011.

The Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Courthouse in Atlanta, home of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former clerk to Judge William Pryor on the 11th Circuit, Brasher also spent time as an associate at the Birmingham, Ala., offices of the firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings.

The American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has rated Brasher well qualified for a seat on the Atlanta-based appeals court. The Senate confirmed him with a 52-43 vote on Tuesday afternoon.

“Andrew Brasher’s confirmation to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is a testament to his vast legal ability and commitment to upholding the rule of law as it is written,” Senator Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said in a statement Tuesday. “I believe Judge Brasher has served with impartiality, integrity and purpose as a district judge and I am confident he will continue to do so in this new capacity.”

As with other Trump nominees who worked as top appellate attorneys for red states, Democrats criticized Brasher for positions he took in court for Alabama, particularly in voting rights cases. As solicitor general, Brasher signed onto a friend of the court brief that urged the Supreme Court to find a key provision of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional.

That case, called Shelby County v. Holder, struck down a formula in the Voting Rights Act that determined which states and jurisdictions had to get federal approval before making changes to their voting laws.

The Supreme Court ruled the formula was based on outdated criteria, but Democrats and voting rights advocates have long criticized the ruling as weakening protections for minority groups with a long history of facing discriminatory voting laws.

Brasher also defended Alabama’s legislative maps against racial gerrymandering claims that ultimately succeeded at the Supreme Court. In addition, he signed onto briefs that supported state voter identification laws and reviewed a complaint Alabama filed that argued against counting people who are not citizens in the census.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called Brasher’s nomination a “disgrace to our judiciary.”

“Whether it’s covering up for President Trump and his attempts to cheat in our elections, or confirming judges like Mr. Brasher who have a history of race-related voter discrimination, Senate Republicans are showing outright contempt for the very wellspring of our democracy: the right of American citizens to vote in free and fair elections,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Brasher is the first judge to clear the Republican-controlled Senate since the end of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which wrapped up last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set up votes on Brasher’s nomination, as well as on four other judicial nominees, just after the Senate acquitted Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges.

%d bloggers like this: