White House Counsel Gregory Katsas Confirmed to D.C. Circuit Bench
Despite having never served on the bench, President Trump's current White House attorney, and the former assistant attorney general under George W. Bush, Gregory Katsas, has been confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
While never having been a judge might jar some people, the ABA had given Katsas its highest rating of "well qualified," and for good reason. Katsas, before becoming President Trump's deputy counsel in the White House, was a respected appellate attorney, and has an education and background that is rather impressive.
The Narrow Margin of Confirmation
Katsas was just barely confirmed by the Senate. The vote came back 50 to 48. Surprisingly, in the otherwise partisan vote, one republican voted against Katsas, while one democrat voted for him.
Perhaps what made this such a close vote, apart from the usual partisan politics, was his reluctance to distance himself, once on the bench, from the policies he had a hand in shaping, or previously fought against. Katsas challenged the Affordable Care Act's constitutionality and became critical of the court when it upheld the act. He also advised the president regarding matters that are currently being, or are likely to be, litigated, including the travel ban, DACA, and the reversal of the policy regarding transgender individuals in the military.
Qualified Without Experience
Though Katsas may not have experience banging a gavel, his legal career could likely qualify him for any position he wanted. After all, he did get hired as a White House counsel. Notably, in addition to having been a successful appellate attorney, he served as a law clerk at both the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and at the Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas.
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