- Associated Press - Monday, May 8, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Attorney John K. Bush, the latest Kentuckian chosen by President Donald Trump for a seat on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has compiled solid conservative credentials during a career that included a role with Ronald Reagan’s legal team during the Iran-Contra investigation.

Bush, a partner in the Louisville law office of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, was among nearly a dozen appointees the White House announced Monday for posts throughout the federal judiciary. The longtime attorney declined comment Monday when reached by phone in his office.

Bush, 52, has headed the Louisville chapter of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group, and has been active in local Republican circles as a member of the Jefferson County GOP’s executive committee, according to his law firm’s website.

John has built a reputation as a talented litigator, trying complex cases in both state and federal courts,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement. “Through his broad array of experiences, John has proven his legal ability and earned the respect of his peers. He will make a strong addition to the Sixth Circuit, and I look forward to the Senate confirming him.”

The Arkansas native and Harvard Law School graduate has litigated a range of cases including antitrust, securities, financial institutions, insurance, intellectual property and product liability disputes. Bush’s experience will help in his transition to the federal bench if he wins Senate confirmation, friends and colleagues said.

“He’s been a litigator, doing appellate work, for decades,” said University of Kentucky law professor Paul Salamanca. “So I don’t think this is going to be a learning curve issue.”

“I think the president has made a fine appointment,” he added.

Bush is the second Kentuckian to be nominated by Trump for a seat on the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit. In March, Trump nominated U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar, who serves in the Eastern District of Kentucky. Thapar’s nomination is pending in the Senate.

Decades ago, Bush was part of the legal team that worked on Reagan’s federal appeals court response during the Iran-Contra investigation. Bush has called that a “highlight” of his early career.

Bush also was involved in litigation related to the tobacco industry’s Master Settlement Agreement, in which some cigarette makers agreed to pay states for smoking-related health care costs.

Louisville attorney Byron Leet, who has litigated some cases with Bush, called him a “very talented” lawyer and a “tremendous pick” for the appeals court.

“He is exceedingly bright and talented and I think he will make a very fine judge on the Sixth Circuit,” said Leet.

University of Louisville law professor Luke Milligan called Bush “fair-minded, thoughtful and incredibly bright. He’ll make an exemplary judge.”

Salamanca, who worked with Bush years ago on a paper reviewing the Kentucky Supreme Court, said he wouldn’t be the type of judge who tries to “out-talk” his colleagues on the bench.

“He’s got this kind of gentle personality,” he said. “He doesn’t remind you, actually, of a typical litigator. He’s just awfully polite and kind.”

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