By: Tim Pearce – Washingtonexaminer.com – March 05, 2020
A judge sitting on the D.C. Circuit Court will retire in September, allowing President Trump the chance to install a third judge on the influential bench.
Judge Thomas Griffith told colleagues at the court that he plans to retire in September, two months before the presidential election and clearing the way for Trump to nominate and the GOP-led Senate to approve another judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, according to the Washington Post.
The D.C. Circuit is influential as a pipeline for judges eventually nominated to the Supreme Court and in the types of cases it decides, which largely deals with challenges to federal policies. Two slots on the federal bench are already held by Trump nominees Gregory Katsas and Neomi Rao. Trump has nominated a record 51 judges to fill seats across the system of 13 circuit courts.
Griffith joined the D.C. Circuit Court in 2005 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. Colleagues reportedly did not expect Griffith to retire rather than go on “senior status” and take a reduced caseload.
“I think his legacy is going to be with the nuts and bolts administrative procedure cases,” Hogan Lovells partner Sean Marotta, who has argued cases in front of Griffith, said. “Judge Griffith was an administrative law nerd even on a court full of administrative law nerds.”
Griffith, in one of his last cases, sided with the White House in a lawsuit brought by House lawmakers trying to force former White House counsel Don McGahn to honor a subpoena to testify.
“We cannot decide this case without declaring the actions of one or the other unconstitutional, and ‘occasions for constitutional confrontation … should be avoided whenever possible,'” Griffith wrote in the majority opinion for the court.
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