Today, President Trump sent to the Senate a list of executive branch nominations, which included many who were nominated during the last Congress, but either never had a hearing or were never voted on. Those nominated include: former RNLA Chair John Ryder, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority; former RNLA Chair Kimberly Reed, to be President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; RNLA member James "Trey" Trainor, to be a Member of the Federal Election Commission; and RNLA member Dennis Kirk, to be Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board.
In addition to the executive branch nominations, President Trump also announced his first round of judicial nominations for the 116th Congress. The list consists of six district court nominees to fill vacancies in Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, and Arizona.
This first wave of nominees consists of three district court judges in the state of Texas, specifically Mark Pittman, who serves on the court of appeals in Texas Second District. By recommendation of Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Senator John Cornyn, President Trump also nominated Wes Hendrix and Sean Jordan.
The remaining nominees include Greg Guidry of Louisiana, Michael Liburdi of Arizona, and Peter Welte of North Dakota — all of whom have conservative leanings on the bench.
Although President Trump has broken records with the eighty-five appointments he has made to the federal judiciary during the 115th Congress, including two to the Supreme Court, there are still nearly 150 vacancies to fill.
To prevent continued Democrat obstruction during the judicial nomination process, Senator Ben Basse of Nebraska introduced a Senate resolution on Wednesday to make it unconstitutional to disqualify a nominee for public office based on their membership in religious organizations. This came after Democrat Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono attacked Brian Buescher, nominee to the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, in December regarding his affiliation with The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Senator Sasse stated:
[T]he resolution "reaffirms our oath of office to a Constitution that rejects religious bigotry" and honors a Constitution that "explicitly rejects religious tests for federal office." …
"[I]t is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus" would violate the Constitution. …
[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States," the Constitution states.
With a greater majority in the Senate, there is a great opportunity to fill all the vacancies in the executive and the judiciary.