Senate Confirms Trump Pick for Kentucky Federal Court

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed a magistrate judge President Donald Trump nominated to serve on a federal court in Kentucky.

Robert Wier has served as a United States magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky since 2006 and will now serve as a district court judge on the same court. Prior to taking over as a magistrate judge, Wier spent a decade as a member and partner at the Lexington, Kentucky, firm Ransdell & Wier.

Wier’s nomination was among the least controversial of the Trump administration, as the University of Kentucky grad received a 95-0 vote before the full Senate on Tuesday morning.

Wier was scheduled to appear for a nomination hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside three other district court nominees last November, but senators decided to forgo asking questions of the nominees after the first panel of the day ran long. Only Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse submitted questions in writing for Wier after his nomination hearing, but even those were limited to the standard questions the Rhode Island Democrat asks of all nominees.

Wier told the committee he has presided over more than 400 cases as a magistrate, split evenly between criminal and civil proceedings. He listed among his most significant cases the extradition of a United States citizen accused of committing war crimes during the Bosnian War, which he said in his committee questionnaire was “the first of its kind in this district.”

He also took over the pretrial proceedings of a lawsuit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought against Walmart alleging gender discrimination at the company’s Kentucky distribution center.

Walmart agreed to pay more than $11.7 million to settle the claims in 2010, according to Reuters.

As detailed in his committee questionnaire, Wier has been angling for a seat on the federal court since “late 2006,” reaching out to Kentucky senators about vacancies multiple times. He interviewed with staff for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in December 2016 before being formally nominated in August 2017.

In a statement before the vote on Tuesday, McConnell bemoaned the fact that the Senate needed to hold a procedural vote on Wier’s nomination on Monday night, given that he received unanimous approval on Tuesday. Nevertheless, McConnell counted Wier among the “well-qualified” judicial nominees the Senate is prepared to confirm this week.

“President Trump continues to send us impressive judicial nominees with sterling qualifications,” McConnell said in a statement Tuesday. “I urge all my colleagues to join me in voting to promptly confirm this slate.”

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