- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sen. Ted Cruz announced Thursday he plans to vote against Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden, President Trump’s judicial nominee for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Politico reported.

The Texas Republican had previously expressed concerns about the nominee’s record, questioning whether he’s a constitutionalist fit for the federal appeals court, which hears cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Mr. Cruz questioned Judge Ozerden’s record during the nominee’s confirmation hearing in July over a 2012 case involving Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate where the judge ruled against the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi.

“For a lifetime appointment on the court of appeals, I believe we should be looking for someone with a strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist,” Mr. Cruz told Politico. “I have significant concerns that Judge Ozerden’s judicial record does not indicate that he meets that standard. For that reason, I do not believe he should be on the court of appeals, and I will oppose his nomination.”

Judge Ozerden’s nomination, though, is backed by senators from his home state, who have praised his service to the country as a combat veteran in addition to his judicial service.

“His judicial and academic achievements alone qualify him for this position, but his good character, experience as a navy fighter pilot and record of volunteerism and community involvement are also exemplary,” Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican, said at the confirmation hearing.

Judge Ozerden, the son of Turkish immigrants, graduated from Stanford Law School and has been a federal district court judge for 12 years. According to multiple reports, he is a friend of White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

The Judiciary Committee has yet to schedule a vote on Judge Ozerden’s nomination.

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

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