Senate Unanimously Confirms Two for the Seventh Circuit

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate on Monday unanimously confirmed two of President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Seventh Circuit.

Michael Scudder, a partner at the Chicago firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Judge Amy St. Eve, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois, each received bipartisan support on Monday evening.

Speaking on the Senate floor before the votes, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., praised both Scudder and St. Eve, saying their nominations were the result of “good-faith negotiation” with the White House.

“When blue slips and home-state judicial screening commissions are respected, we end up with consensus, highly qualified nominees,” Durbin, who has in the past been critical of the White House’s treatment of home state senators when choosing judicial nominees, said Monday.

Scudder has been with Skadden Arps since 2009, having previously served as the general counsel of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. He also spent a year as associate counsel to the president and as counselor to the deputy attorney general at the Justice Department.

Like many Trump nominees who spent time in the Bush White House, Scudder faced questions about his involvement in the  administration’s most controversial actions. In responses to questions submitted after his nomination hearing, Scudder told Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., he advised the White House on changes Congress made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2007 and 2008.

In addition, Scudder told Feinstein he attended a moot court at the Justice Department ahead of oral arguments in Boumediene v. Bush,  the 2007 case in which the Supreme Court  found inmates held at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba could challenge their detentions in federal court.

At Skadden Arps, Scudder focuses on white collar crime and government enforcement. In his floor speech before the vote on Scudder’s nomination, Durbin praised Scudder for his pro bono work, which earned the former federal prosecutor honors at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service awards in 2014.

“Mr. Scudder is well-respected across the political spectrum and he has the experience, the integrity and the judgment to be an outstanding federal judge,” Durbin said Monday.

St. Eve has served on the Chicago-based U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois since 2002, taking the seat after receiving unanimous approval from the Senate. From 1994 to 1996, St. Eve worked as an associate independent counsel on Independent Counsel Ken Starr’s Whitewater investigation, which ultimately uncovered the perjury charges that led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

While working with the investigation, which began as a look into the Clintons’ real estate investments, St. Eve prosecuted former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and Clinton financial partners Susan and James McDougal.

St. Eve told the Senate Judiciary Committee she has worked more than 5,000 civil cases and nearly 500 criminal cases during her 16 years on the bench, experience she said she will take to the federal appellate court.

Speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, Durbin said St. Eve’s name is always comes up when he talks to people in the legal field about the best judges in his state.

“Judge St. Eve has an outstanding reputation as a judge,” Durbin said. “She shows up early, she works hard, she knows the law, she runs her courtroom efficiently. She is respected by litigants and her fellow judges as one of the best trial judges in Illinois, if not in the nation.”

Trump once appeared before St. Eve as a witness in a trial after a businesswoman sued two of Trump’s companies over a condo deal. St. Eve ruled in favor of Trump’s businesses in the dispute, earning her a mention on the future president’s Twitter account.

 

When asked at her nomination hearing about Trump’s mention of her on Twitter, St. Eve told Durbin that a clerk had told her about it, but that she had not seen the tweet herself.

“I have heard that, but I don’t follow tweets,” St. Eve told Durbin.

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