Donald Trump eyes two conservative Alabama judges to fill federal court vacancies

Kevin Newsom and Terry Moorer
Kevin Newsom and Terry Moorer

President Donald Trump once again is showing favor to the Yellowhammer State.

On Monday, the president is expected to name two, conservative Alabama judges among a slate of 10 nominees to fill federal courts vacancies, as he takes the first major step toward filling more than 120 vacancies in lower federal courts across the country.

According to a White House official, Trump will be nominating the judges from his previous list of potential Supreme Court justices.

Among the nominees is Birmingham’s own Kevin C. Newsom, a lawyer in the Magic City, who served as the state’s solicitor general and clerked for Justice David H. Souter. The New York Times reports he will be nominated to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.

Newsom, a partner at the Birmingham-based Bradley firm, has argued four cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, filed amicus curiae briefs in many others, and authored numerous certiorari-stage briefs. He has also argued more than 35 cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, as well as in state supreme and appellate courts and a Native American tribal appellate court.

Terry Moorer
Maj. Gen. Perry G. Smith, the adjutant general of the Alabama National Guard, presents Retired Col. Terry F. Moorer with the Legion of Merit at the Alabama National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Montgomery, Ala., February 6, 2016. [Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Shannon Hancock]

The other Alabama nominee is judge Terry F. Moorer of the Federal District Court in Montgomery.

Sworn in as Magistrate Judge in 2007, Moorer is expected to be the nominee for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

A retired Col. in the Alabama National Guard, Moorer was the primary architect of the Alabama Code of Military Justice. He has a J.D. degree from The University of Alabama Law School, a B.A. degree from Huntingdon College, as well as A.A. degree from Marion Military Institute.

Prior to his appointment as Magistrate Judge, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama from 1990-2007. From 2001-2007, he served as the Lead Task Force Attorney for the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, where he was responsible for coordinating the investigation of and prosecution of major narcotics trafficking.

Other nominees include:

Federal Appeals Court

  • Amy Coney Barrett: law professor at University of Notre Dame and former law clerk to Justice Scalia; 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • John Bush: lawyer in Louisville, KY; 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Joan Larsen: Michigan Supreme Court Justice; 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • David Stras: Minnesota Supreme Court Justice; 8th Circuit Court of Appeals

Federal District Courts

  • Dabney Friedrich: former member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • Judge David Nye: Idaho state court judge; U.S. District Court of Idaho
  • Scott Palk, assistant dean at University of Oklahoma College of Law; U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma

Court of Federal Claims

  • Damien Schiff: lawyer with Pacific Legal Foundation; Court of Federal Claims

Before taking office, Trump’s nominees will need to confirmed by the U.S. Senate where Republicans will need only 51 votes to fill each judicial vacancy thanks to the 2013 decision by Senate Democrats to eliminate the filibuster for all presidential nominations below the Supreme Court.

Monday’s announcement is expected to be the first of many to come.