- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Senate confirmed President Trump’s ninth judicial nominee to the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, elevating Patrick Bumatay, an openly gay Filipino man, to the federal bench over objections from his liberal home-state senators.

Mr. Bumatay, who has worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, cleared the Senate by a 53-40 party-line vote.

He did not have support from California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala D. Harris, who said the White House never consulted with them about the nominee.

“Patrick Bumatay lacks the knowledge and experience necessary for the 9th Circuit. He also acknowledged working on the separation of immigrant families while at the Justice Department and refused to answer questions about other controversial issues,” said Ms. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Daniel Goldberg, legal director of the progressive Alliance for Justice, said there’s plenty of more qualified Republican lawyers in California the president could have tapped.

“He has minimal appellate experience,” Mr. Goldberg said of the pick.

But conservative groups cheered Mr. Bumatay, saying he received a “Qualified” rating from the American Bar Association, a group often touted by Democratic lawmakers.

“The reason the Democrats and these left-wing groups think Patrick Bumatay is unqualified is because he is a conservative judicial nominee who happens to be a minority who doesn’t fall in line with liberal orthodoxy,” said Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project, which backs the president’s judicial nominees.

Mr. Bumatay is the 49th federal appeals court judge appointed by Mr. Trump.

Later this week, the Senate is expected to confirm Lawrence VanDyke, another nominee to the West Coast’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

He would be the president’s 50th circuit court appointment if confirmed, and Mr. Trump’s 10th to the 9th Circuit, which the president has routinely railed against, saying it’s filled with activist judges.

Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said Mr. Bumatay will help counter that reputation.

“For decades, the Supreme Court has regularly reversed the 9th Circuit on account of its lawlessness. Judge Bumatay’s belief that upholding the rule of law is ‘of utmost importance’ illustrates how his appointment marks yet another step towards restoring sanity on that court,” she said.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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