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Judge Justin Walker: Tough and Qualified for the DC Circuit

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

Donald Trump’s most lasting legacy will be his appointments to the federal bench. In his tenure so far, the Senate has confirmed 193 judges, 51 of whom were circuit judges. All were nominated by President Trump. Indeed, President Trump and the Senate have confirmed federal appellate judges faster than any other president in U.S. history.  For all judges, President Trump’s rate is the second fastest. 


The Senate returns to Washington next week, and on the agenda is another stellar judicial nominee, Judge Justin Walker. Walker is the quintessential Trump appointee.  He’s young, he has impeccable legal credentials, and he has a proven track record of faithful constitutionalism.  But Walker isn’t just the typical prestigious DC Circuit nominee.  He is a Kentuckian who has spent his life in the heartland.  

President Trump promised to drain the swamp and nominate judges that interpret the law as it was written. With the nomination of Justin Walker to the DC Circuit, the president fulfills both of those promises. Justin Walker was raised by his mother in Kentucky, and was the first person from his family to attend college. In addition to his impeccable qualifications to be a federal judge, he brings the unique perspective of his modest midwestern upbringing.  The DC Circuit would no doubt benefit from this perspective.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats and liberal advocacy groups have launched attacks on Judge Walker, questioning his “qualifications” for the federal bench. Walker currently serves as a District Court Judge.  He has more experience as a judge than Justice Elena Kagan did before she was appointed to the Supreme Court. His qualifications are exemplary. He has experience at the most prestigious legal institutions and has excelled in both private practice and academia. Walker attended the prestigious Harvard Law School and then went on to clerk for Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the DC Circuit, and Justice Anthony Kennedy at the Supreme Court. Walker’s experience clerking for two of the most brilliant legal minds of their generations, at two of the most powerful courts in the land, gives him unique exposure to the judicial system. After his clerkships, Walker practiced law at one of the most respected law firms in the country, where he assisted in litigating cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. He also taught at the University of Louisville Law School. No doubt, Walker has all the right educational and legal experiences to be a judge on the DC Circuit. 


President Trump has stated that he looks for judges who demonstrate toughness. Judge Justin Walker embodies the toughness that is needed to serve on the bench and make critical decisions on key cases that affect millions of Americans. Particularly, Walker has proven he will follow the law and the Constitution without bending to liberal pressure. Two recent examples show Judge Walker’s toughness and determination to follow the law. During the confirmation battle to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Walker was a staunch defender of his former boss. Undeterred by relentless smear campaigns, he made multiple media appearances vouching for Justice Kavanaugh’s character and qualifications. Secondly, his recent order condemning the Louisville Mayor for threatening to ban drive-in church services for Easter. Judge Walker wrote, “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter. That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion.” 

Walker’s order shows his commitment to religious liberty, the Constitution, and his boldness to follow the law, regardless of the public relations consequences.  Judge Walker is just the kind of tough, constitutionalist judge that President Trump has promised and delivered time and again. The Senate should confirm him to the DC Circuit. 


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