How the Trump administration’s appointment of a D.C. block-appointment judge for the nation’s capital setter has become a headache
A month after an unprecedented flood of appointments to D.N.C.’s District Court made headlines across the nation, President Donald Trump has appointed an appointee to fill the vacancy created when the court was temporarily closed to the public, a move that could set the stage for more contentious court fights.
The appointment of Judge Robert Wilkins is a sign that the Trump White House is ready to roll out its plan to create a permanent court for the District, according to people familiar with the matter.
Trump is set to nominate Wilkins to fill a seat left vacant by a ruling from a federal judge in a lawsuit challenging his appointment to the D.D.C.-area court in March.
He will be sworn in as a federal appeals judge on Friday, and he will be eligible for reappointment if he wins reelection.
Wilkins’ nomination is the latest in a series of changes by the Trump Administration that have pushed the D-d.c. court into the political spotlight and raised questions about its independence.
The D.V.C., a federal court that hears lawsuits, is a state-run body that is largely immune from political interference.
But it is also home to several key decisions by the courts, including a landmark decision in January that invalidated a rule barring cities and counties from passing their own abortion laws.
The rule was widely seen as an effort by Republican-led states to restrict abortion rights in the nation.
The Trump administration has argued that the DVC’s decision to uphold the rule was based on political motivations, and that the courts should not be allowed to make such decisions.
It has also sued to block the rule from taking effect, arguing that the court’s jurisdiction over localities was broader than what the DVA allowed.
But the DVDC has since allowed some restrictions to take effect, and the White House and the DDC have been trying to make the court more accommodating to abortion rights.
The most recent court fight, in which a federal appellate judge struck down a rule that had prohibited counties from enacting their own laws on abortion, has focused attention on the DvC’s independence.
Wilkin, a longtime Republican lawyer who has represented states like New Mexico and Texas in abortion-related lawsuits, was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007.
But he did not have a prior judicial experience.
Wilken’s nomination was expected to be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is controlled by Democrats.
The committee did not take up Wilkins’s nomination until after Trump’s election victory.
The president, though, has signaled that he will not necessarily wait for a full Senate vote to nominate him.
Trump has nominated five judges since taking office in January, including two more than his predecessors.
The first of those appointments was the nomination of Thomas Griffith to a seat on the federal appeals court.
Griffith, who was appointed in 2006, has a reputation as a conservative who would defer to a more conservative judge on issues like immigration.
Trump praised Griffith during the election campaign, but he also frequently clashed with some judges on issues of policy and law, including the court ruling that struck down the federal rule barring local abortion restrictions.
Trump appointed three more judges after taking office, including former District Court Judge Steven Colloton.
Colloton has a record of opposing abortion rights, which he called unconstitutional.
He also sided with the DVIDS, a federal anti-abortion group that filed a lawsuit in April that claimed that the ban violated the rights of abortion clinics.
That lawsuit has since been dropped.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump also appointed Judge Steven L. Farr in April to a vacant seat on a federal district court.
He has previously sided with DVIDs and was one of the first judges to block a federal rule that would have required clinics in the District to meet a higher standard for admitting patients.
Farside was also confirmed by the House Judiciary Committee in May.
In July, Trump nominated former District Judge David B. Sanger, a former D.R.O. who was a critic of the DIVC, to a federal judgeship in Alabama.
The Senate Judiciary panel has not confirmed any of the appointees named so far.
In September, the DVI released a report documenting how many federal judges were appointed by the president who had not previously served on the court.
The report found that, since Trump’s inauguration, there have been at least 10 federal judgeships where no D.M.V.’s had been confirmed by Congress.
Some of those judges were confirmed by an obscure provision of the law known as the Federal Judicial Nominating Act.
It requires judges to be confirmed by two-thirds of the members of the House and Senate.
A number of those senators were Republicans, including Jeff Sessions, the attorney general.
Trump won re-election by less than