Trump renominates two Georgians for federal judgeships

Two weeks after the Senate returned 100 nominations made by President Trump to various positions in the federal government, the White House on Friday again nominated 21 of those choices, including two judicial picks from Georgia, officially re-starting the nomination process for six appeals court judges and fifteen federal district judges, but leaving out three more controversial nominees who had run into Senate opposition in recent months.

Selected again were two judges from the Georgia Court of Appeals, Judge Elizabeth "Lisa" Branch, who was nominated for a spot on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and Judge William Ray II, who was tapped again as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia.

"Today, the President announced his intent to renominate 21 individuals who were nominated to be Federal judges last year," the White House said in a written statement, making no reference as to why Mr. Trump had been forced to nominate them for a second time.

"The President looks forward to the swift confirmation of these nominees," the White House statement added.

The circuit court nominees include:

+ Elizabeth L. Branch - for the Eleventh Circuit

+ Stuart Kyle Duncan - for the Fifth Circuit

+ Kurt D. Engelhardt - for the Fifth Circuit

+ Ryan Wesley Bounds - for the Ninth Circuit

+ David R. Stras - for the Eighth Circuit

+ Michael B. Brennan - for the Seventh Circuit

These are the 15 District Court nominations which were submitted again:

+ Daniel Desmond Domenico - District of Columbia

+ Barry W. Ashe - Eastern District of Louisiana

+ Thomas Alvin Farr - Eastern District of North Carolina

+ Emily Coody Marks - Middle District of Alabama

+ Matthew Kacsmaryk - Northern District of Texas

+ Holly Lou Teeter - District of Kansas

+ Eli Jeremy Richardson - Middle District of Tennessee

+ Liles Clifton Burke - Northern District of Alabama

+ Annemarie Carney Axon - Northern District of Alabama

+ William M. Ray II - Northern District of Georgia

+ Jeffrey Uhlman Beaverstock - Southern District of Alabama

+ Terry Fitzgerald Moorer - Southern District of Alabama

+ Michael Joseph Juneau - Western District of Louisiana

+ Charles Barnes Goodwin - Western District of Oklahoma

+ Mark Norris Sr. - Western District of Tennessee

Five other judges who had been nominated by President Trump in 2016 - and returned by the Senate - were not selected again in this judicial group.

Those included Brett Talley, picked for a district court slot in Alabama; Talley had not disclosed to Senators that he was married to a Trump White House lawyer.

Talley had never tried a case as a lawyer, and had been given a "not qualified" rating by the American Bar Association.

Also not selected again was Matthew Spencer Peterson, a member of the Federal Election Commission, whose inability to answer basic legal questions went viral in mid-December.

Another judge not re-nominated by President Trump was Jeffrey Carl Mateer of Texas, who had come under scrutiny for speeches he made in 2015, in which he said transgender children were part of "Satan's plan."

Two others picked in 2016, but not selected again today, were Damien Michael Schiff and Stephen S. Schwartz, who were nominated as judges for the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The President's nominees had been returned to the White House under a seldom-used rule in the Senate, which clearly states that if nominations have not been acted on by the end of a session of Congress, then barring an agreement among Senators, they are sent back.

The 100 nominees returned under Senate Rule XXXI were by far the largest number in recent memory.

18 nominations were returned to President George W. Bush in 2003. Eight were sent back to President Barack Obama in 2009.

It was not clear how swiftly the White House would re-nominate some of the over 70 other nominations which were sent back, which included two other Georgians, James Randolph Evans, nominated to be Ambassador to Luxembourg, and former U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, nominated to head the Amtrak Board of Directors.

Other nominations returned in December included the President's choice for Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar, and the pick for NASA Administration, Rep. James Bridenstine (R-OK).

The Senate is poised to vote as early as next week to confirm another Georgia judge picked by President Trump, Michael Lawrence Brown, who was nominated to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia.

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