WASHINGTON (CN) — On the heels of a House vote to impeach President Donald Trump, the Senate confirmed a dozen of his nominees for seats on federal courts across the country.
The package of judges the Senate confirmed Thursday ahead of an end-of-year recess had bipartisan support for the most part.
One exception was Daniel Traynor, a longtime attorney in Devils Lake, North Dakota, who will take a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.
Traynor faced questions during his confirmation process about political tweets he posted supporting Republicans, including Trump, and attacking Democrats. Some of the tweets were fiery, including one during the 2016 election in which he wrote Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton "lies so much," accompanied by the hashtag #SheCantTellTheTruth.
Democrats asked whether he would recuse himself from cases touching on partisan politics, but Traynor did not commit to doing so, saying he will simply follow the guidelines for when federal judges should remove themselves from cases.
"If confirmed, I will make every effort to ensure that all parties in my courtroom are treated fairly, equally and impartially regardless of political affiliation or lack thereof," Traynor wrote in response to questions submitted in writing after his nomination hearing.
Traynor was confirmed to the seat with a 51-41 vote on Thursday afternoon.
Raag Singhal, who was confirmed to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida with a 76-17 vote, has served as a state circuit court judge in Florida since 2011. Before taking the state bench, Singhal worked in private practice in Fort Lauderdale and as a state prosecutor in Florida's Broward County.
A member of the conservative Federalist Society, Singhal told senators he tends to approach cases with a textualist view of the law, though he declined to label himself an originalist.
In one 2018 opinion, Singhal appeared to raise concerns about Supreme Court precedents under which courts are generally deferential when considering agency interpretations of ambiguous regulations, referring to those doctrines as the high court's "long-standing abdication of judicial responsibility by punting important decisions to administrative agencies."
Skepticism of the judicial deference doctrines, which conservatives have long criticized as giving too much power to administrative agencies, is a common theme among Trump nominees.
The Senate also overwhelmingly confirmed longtime federal prosecutor Karen Marston to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Marston has served as a prosecutor in Philadelphia since 2006, holding the same job in North Carolina from 2000 until she left for Pennsylvania.
She has been the chief of her office's narcotics and organized crime team since 2018 and told senators she has handled 35 jury trials during her career, with the overwhelming majority going to verdict. She was confirmed 87-6.
Also earning confirmation to seats on federal courts in Pennsylvania were John Gallagher, who will sit on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Robert Colville, who will serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Gallagher is a longtime prosecutor, beginning in 1994 when he took a job in the Bronx County District Attorney's Office. He later did the same job in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, before becoming a federal prosecutor in New Mexico from 2001 to 2003. He has been a prosecutor in Philadelphia since 2004 and also heads the U.S. Attorney's Office's Allentown branch.