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Senate approves 'unqualified' judge as Trump's 50th appellate pick

By
Clyde Hughes
The Senate, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) Wednesday approved the 50th appellant pick for President Donald Trump. Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE
The Senate, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left) Wednesday approved the 50th appellant pick for President Donald Trump. Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE

Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump's 50th appellate court judge, reaching the milestone in just three years.

Judge Lawrence VanDyke was confirmed Wednesday for the lifetime judgeship on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Nevada -- despite an "unqualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

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VanDyke won a near party-line 51-44 vote in the Senate. Trump has now placed more than 170 judges on federal district and appellate courts, in addition to Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court bench.

Republican senators and conservative supporters dismissed the ABA rating as political.

"There are few better legal minds in the country today," Hiram Sasser, general counsel for First Liberty Institute, said Wednesday in a statement. "I congratulate Lawrence and his family for their patience and perseverance to this great achievement."

The ABA said in its assessment VanDyke "lacks humility" and has an "entitlement temperament."

"[He] does not have an open mind, and does not always have a commitment to being candid and truthful," the ABA standing committee said. "[Some interviewees] raised concerns about whether Mr. VanDyke would be fair to persons who are gay, lesbian, or otherwise part of the LGBTQ community."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said he plans to push through 18 more judge nominations by the end of the year.

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