Two More Judges Confirmed This Week

The Senate confirmed two more of President Trump's excellent judicial nominees this week: Elizabeth Branch, to the Eleventh Circuit, and Marvin Quattlebaum, Jr., to the District Court for the District of South Carolina.  Judge Branch was confirmed by a wide, bipartisan margin, 73 to 23 votes.

This brings the total confirmed in just over a year into President Trump's term to one Supreme Court justice, 14 circuit courts of appeals judges, 11 district court judges, three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and one judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.  Three more district court judges are scheduled for confirmation votes on Monday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor on Monday:

“The Senate will soon vote to confirm another fine candidate to serve on the federal bench. Yesterday afternoon, we voted to advance the nomination of Judge Elizabeth Branch for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Branch has sat on the Georgia Court of Appeals since 2012. This follows a fine career that spanned both private practice and public service. 

“Judge Branch had previously answered the call to serve at the Department of Homeland Security, where she worked as Associate General Counsel, and then at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Her record and qualifications are well-known. Our colleagues on the Judiciary Committee reported her nomination favorably by an overwhelming vote. 

“Confirming this worthy nominee will be a further credit to the outstanding work of Chairman Grassley and the members of the committee. I encourage all my colleagues to join me in voting to confirm Elizabeth Branch today. Let’s continue to fulfill our constitutional responsibility and confirm the president’s outstanding judicial nominees.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley agreed in his floor statement:

Mr. President, today the Senate is voting to confirm Judge Elizabeth Branch to serve as a U.S. Circuit Court Judge for the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Branch was favorably reported out of the Judiciary Committee on a 19-2 bipartisan vote. She has broad bipartisan support from her home state of Georgia. The American Bar Association rated Judge Branch as unanimously well-qualified. If the Senate confirms Judge Branch, as I’m confident it will, she will be the fourth woman confirmed by the Senate to the federal courts of appeals in the 115th Congress—three more than the one woman confirmed at this point in President Obama’s first term. . . .

As I noted earlier, if confirmed, Judge Branch will become the fourth female circuit-court judge confirmed under President Trump. Her confirmation puts her in good company, joining a class of first-rate female jurists and legal scholars. She will join a group that includes: 7th Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a former professor at Notre Dame University Law School and law clerk to Justice Scalia; 10th Circuit Judge Allison Eid, a former Colorado Supreme Court Justice and law clerk to Justice Thomas; and 6th Circuit Judge Joan Larsen, another clerk of Justice Scalia and former Michigan Supreme Court Justice. I’m confident that Judge Branch will serve as an excellent addition to this outstanding class of female circuit-court judges.

Judge Branch’s impressive background and bipartisan support suggest that she will be an excellent court of appeals judge.  I am pleased to support her nomination today.

There is still important work to be done, however, as 148 vacancies remain and 58 nominees are still pending (with more regularly being sent over to the Senate).  We thank President Trump, White House Counsel Don McGahn, Chairman Grassley, and Leader McConnell for all their leadership and work selecting, vetting, and confirming these excellent nominees.