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In Snub to Washington State Dems, Trump-picked Judge Approved for 9th Circuit

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Senate confirmed President Trump’s judicial nominee for the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday in a straight party-line vote.

Seattle attorney Eric Miller, a former clerk to Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, was confirmed 53-46 to replace Judge Richard Tallman, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton. 


Miller was confirmed without the “blue slip” consent by the judge’s two home-state Democratic senators. 

The aggressive and unprecedented move to bypass the traditional "blue slip" consultation process and plow ahead with the confirmation comes as the Trump administration seeks to systematically erode left-wing dominance on the key appellate court, which Trump has called "disgraceful" and politically biased.

With a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, the appellate court has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against his travel ban policy and limits on funding to "sanctuary cities." A lawsuit is currently pending before the 9th Circuit concerning Trump's emergency declaration over border security -- and Trump had sarcastically predicted that Democrats would purposefully file suit in the San Francisco-based appellate court to improve their odds. (


“This is wrong. It is a dangerous road for the Senate to go down,” said Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Confirming this Ninth Circuit court nominee without the consent or true input of both home state senators, and after a sham hearing, would be a dangerous first for this Senate.”

Murray and fellow Washington Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell did not return blue slips for Miller.

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