Trump Nominates 12 More for Judgeships Nationwide

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump announced 12 new judicial nominations on Tuesday, the 10th large group of nominees he has sent to the Senate since taking office a year ago.

Most of the Tuesday’s nominees will serve on federal trial courts if confirmed, with John Nalbandian the lone nominee to a federal appeals court.

Nalbandian, whom Trump nominated to a seat on the Sixth Circuit, is currently a partner in the Cincinnati branch of Taft Stettinius and Hollister, where he serves as the firm’s lead appellate lawyer. Nalbandian has been with the firm for 10 years, and President Barack Obama nominated him in 2010 to serve on the board of the State Justice Institute, a nonprofit with a Senate-confirmed board of directors that awards grants to state courts.

A member of the conservative Federalist Society, Nalbandian’s profile on the Taft Stettinius and Hollister website says he works on a “wide range” of legal issues, from antitrust to white collar crime. If confirmed, Nalbandian would be the fourth Trump pick to serve on the Sixth Circuit, following Judges Amul Thapar, John K. Bush and Joan Larsen.

Trump also nominated Acting Federal Trade Commission Chair Maureen Ohlhausen to serve on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Nominated to serve as an FTC commissioner by Obama in 2012, Ohlhausen worked at the agency in various roles from 1998 to 2008. Ohlhausen previously led the FTC practice group of the Washington firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer and worked as staff attorney for the D.C. Circuit.

Also Tuesday, Trump nominated Archdiocese of New Orleans general counsel Wendy Vitter to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Previously a prosecutor in Orleans Parish, Vitter handled murder trials according to a White House press release announcing the selection.

Vitter’s husband is former U.S. Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who announced his retirement from the Senate in 2015 after an unsuccessful bid for governor.

Filling a seat on another Bayou State court, Trump also nominated Judge Robert Summerhayes to a seat in the Western District of Louisiana. Summerhayes currently works as a U.S. bankruptcy judge for the district, having worked on commercial and corporate litigation at the Dallas office of the firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges before taking the bench in 2006.

“I am thankful for President Trump’s swift work on judgeship appointments across Louisiana,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said in a statement Tuesday. “As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I look forward to a thoughtful discussion with the nominees about their legal backgrounds, philosophies and approaches to constitutional principles.”

Texas saw four new judicial nominees on Tuesday, with Trump selecting Haynes Boone partner Jeremy Kernodle, Orgain Bell and Tucker partner Michael Truncale and Texas Deputy Solicitor General Campbell Barker to seats on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The president also nominated Bracewell partner Alan Albright to a seat in the Western District of Texas.

The president of the Dallas chapter of the Federalist Society, Kernodle worked at the Office of Legal Counsel in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department. Truncale has been at Orgain Bell and Tucker since 1985 and focuses on product liability, energy law, mass tort and other areas of law.

Kernodle’s profile on the Haynes Boone website notes he successfully represented a company in a stock option case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and reversed a National Labor Relations Board order against a manufacturing company client.

Truncale ran for a Texas congressional seat in 2012 and finished third in the Republican primary with 14.2 percent of the vote. He is currently a member of a federal judicial selection committee for Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, both Republicans.

“My conservatism is life-long,” then-candidate Truncale said in a 2012 interview with posted on YouTube.

Prior to taking over as Texas deputy solicitor general, Barker practiced commercial and intellectual property law at the firm Yetter Coleman, having spent four years before that as a special assistant United States attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Barker has contributed to almost 100 briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court as Texas’ deputy attorney general, according to the state attorney general’s office.

“Cam Barker has served his state with exemplary distinction,” Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller said in a statement. “He has a wealth of experience in both trial and appellate courts and in both the private sector and government service. Cam will be an outstanding jurist committed to upholding the rule of law.”

Albright focuses on intellectual property and patent law at Bracewell, and from 1992 to 1999 served as a magistrate judge for the Western District of Texas. Albright has represented Microsoft in patent lawsuits and was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2017.

Trump also filled two vacant seats on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on Tuesday, tapping Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Susan Brnovich and Chief and Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominic Lanza for spots on the court.

Brnovich has served on the Maricopa County Superior Court since 2009, and was the court’s commissioner for five years before that. Brnovich worked as a state prosecutor in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for eight years before taking the bench.

Lanza has worked as a federal prosecutor for the past nine years, having worked at the firm Gibson Dunn and Crutcher prior to entering the government. Lanza played center on the Dartmouth College football team and was named third team All-American by the Associated Press in 1997.

Trump’s other two selections will serve on special courts if confirmed, including Marine Corps veteran Joseph Falvey Jr., up for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and Courtney Dunbar Jones, who would serve on the U.S. Tax Court.

Falvey retired from the Marine Corps in 2011, having served as a prosecutor, defense counsel and judge during his time in the service. When he was not on active duty, Falvey served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan’s national security unit.

Jones has spent the past six years in the Office of Chief Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, and worked in private practice at the Washington firm Caplin Drysdale and the Atlanta firm Bird Loechl, Brittain and McCants.

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