U.S. Senate confirms first Trump-nominated Ga. judge

The Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta is home to a U.S. District Court. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

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The Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta is home to a U.S. District Court. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously confirmed former federal prosecutor Michael Brown to the U.S. District Court in Atlanta, greenlighting President Donald Trump’s first Georgia-based judicial pick six months after he was first nominated.

Brown sailed through the chamber 92-0 after clearing a procedural vote the previous day with only one dissenting senator.

He will fill a long-vacant position on the busy Atlanta-based federal court.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said Brown’s record was “unparalleled.”

“One of the things our courts need is a tempered balance of business and consumers. There is no question that someone who is not a voice for business as a judge but has experience in business as a judge will make a tremendous difference,” Isakson said in a floor speech Wednesday. “I know he will in the Northern District of Georgia.”

Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue, along with several other senators, missed Thursday’s vote in order to attend an immigration meeting at the White House.

A Georgetown and University of Georgia law school graduate, Brown was a federal prosecutor in Florida before heading to Atlanta to work for then-U.S. Attorney William Duffey Jr.

There, he prosecuted former NFL star running back Jamal Lewis. Lewis ultimately pleaded guilty to drug charges.

Brown later moved to private practice, and represented former DeKalb County School Superintendent Crawford Lewis in a corruption case.

He is currently a partner at the Atlanta-based legal giant Alston & Bird, specializing in defending firms and individuals charged with federal crimes.

It has been a half-year since Trump nominated Brown and three other federal judge picks for Georgia.

None of the others are considered particularly controversial -- Stan Baker, Billy Ray and Tripp Self have all received "well qualified" ratings from the majority of members of an influential American Bar Association committee -- but they have been caught in a larger Senate logjam over nominees.

It's a similar story for Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Branch, whose nomination to sit on the Atlanta-based federal appeals court has also been but on ice despite no stated political opposition.

Republicans are livid at Democrats for slow-walking the confirmation process for Trump’s executive and judicial nominees, particularly those considered to be non-controversial. Party leaders say Democrats are obstructing in order to score political points and limit the Trump administration’s ability to carry out its agenda.

Democrats don’t deny that they’ve been slowing the process -- they’re angry at the way the GOP treated many of their nominees during the Obama administration. But they also argue that the GOP has not allowed adequate vetting time for many of Trump’s nominees in committee.

Staff writer Bill Rankin contributed to this article. 

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