WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a new judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the sixth of President Donald Trump’s nominees lawmakers have sent to the bench.
The Senate approved Timothy Kelly, who was the chief counsel for national security and senior crime counsel for Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, by a 94-2 vote on Tuesday afternoon. Kelly previously worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, and also spent time at the Justice Department as a trial attorney in the department’s criminal division.
“Tim is a very talented attorney and is well-liked by staff and members on both sides of the aisle,” Grassley said on the Senate floor before the vote. “His collegiality and ability to get along with folks will serve him well on the bench.”
A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Kelly clerked for U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter and worked in private practice at the Washington firm Arnold & Porter.
Kelly is the fifth judge nominated by Trump to be approved by the Senate and the first since Judge Kevin Newsom, who was approved by lawmakers before a month-long recess.
Though Kelly sailed through the Senate confirmation process, receiving unanimous support in the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 13, his nomination was not without criticism. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington D.C.’s non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, said the Trump administration has not allowed her to weigh in on nominees to courts and law enforcement positions in Washington, despite other administrations seeking her advice.
Norton did meet with Kelly, and said he “appears to be qualified” for the position. But she said that by not consulting her, Trump did not give Washington residents a voice in the process.
“Despite no representation in the Senate, Presidents Clinton and Obama and, to a limited extent George W. Bush, provided the nearly 700,000 federal tax-paying American citizens in the district with a role in the nomination of federal judges and law enforcement officials, who play a critical role in lives here,” Norton said in a statement. “Thus far, the Trump administration and the Republican-led Senate have completely left the district out of the nomination process, instead utilizing these critical positions as patronage, without consultation.”