In a few weeks, President Trump is expected to appoint James Rogan — nationally famed as one of the House managers of Bill Clinton's impeachment during the 1999 trial — as a judge on the controversial 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
Any nomination to one of the four vacancies on the 9th Circuit is sure to draw widespread attention. This particular court has been the source of so many decidedly liberal rulings that it is frequently denounced by conservative office-seekers. As a candidate for president in 2012, Newt Gingrich called for abolishing the 9th Circuit.
Sources in the Republican and legal communities told Newsmax that Rogan, a former U.S. Representative from the Golden State and present Superior Court judge, met in early June with White House Counsel Don McGahn to discuss appointment to the 9th Circuit.
"And Jim hit a home run, especially in discussing his view of originalism [basing judicial rulings on the original intent of the authors of the Constitution]," said one source involved in the judicial selection process who requested anonymity.
The only possible difficulty for a Rogan nomination is that, at 59, the Californian is over the 50-year-old "cut-off" point that present and past administrations usually set for judicial appointees.
But there is also an argument that, at 59, Rogan might well be more acceptable to Senate Democrats than a younger nominee who will be on the bench for a longer tenure. In addition, the Californian does have a long history of working with and befriending Democrats. In recounting his swearing-in as a state assemblyman in 1994, Rogan fondly noted that family friend and liberal John Burton, then a state senator from San Francisco, was in attendance.
Rogan backers also note that when Rogan was named Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property in 2001, the Senate — then under a Democratic majority — confirmed him unanimously.
They also point out that he did get the highest rating of the American Bar Association in 2007 when then-President George W. Bush appointed him to the U.S. District Court. Rogan also had the unanimous backing of Sen. Diane Feinstein's (D-Calif.) judicial screening committee.
But Rogan was kept from a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee by his state's junior Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, who objected to his role in the Clinton impeachment trial. (At the time, Boxer’s daughter was married to Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham).
With 29 active judges, the 9th Circuit is the largest of the 13 appellate courts and inarguably the most controversial. Among its rulings that have infuriated conservatives are Washington v. Trump, affirming a lower court ruling against the administration's immigration order, Newdow v. U.S. Congress, holding that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are unconstitutional, and Washington v. Glucksberg, holding that the due process clause of the Constitution gives on the right to assisted suicide.
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