The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nomination of University of Louisville law professor Justin Walker to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.
In a party-line vote, the Senate voted 50-41 Thursday afternoon to confirm Walker as a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Kentucky.
Walker is a conservative in his late 30s who works as an associate professor of law at U of L and earned degrees from Duke University and Harvard Law School.
Walker also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Anthony Kennedy.
He was a vocal champion of Kavanaugh’s nomination to join the nation’s highest court — an appointment the Senate eventually confirmed despite college professor Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school.
Walker’s nomination was controversial, especially because the American Bar Association deemed him unqualified to be a federal judge.
The ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which has spent decades evaluating candidates for these posts, cited Walker’s lack of “any significant trial experience” among its concerns about his qualifications.
Republicans still backed Walker’s nomination, though.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, in particular, has advocated strongly for this nominee from his home state, previously praising him as “a prominent legal scholar” who will make “an outstanding federal judge.”
McConnell even filed a cloture motion earlier this week regarding Walker’s nomination, which was approved in a party-line vote. That procedure lets the Senate limit the amount of time its members can spend considering a proposal, ensuring the chamber can overcome a filibuster.
Walker’s nomination reached the Senate floor this week after the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Oct. 17 to advance it in a vote that was generally split along party lines.
Thursday’s vote by the full Senate to officially confirm Walker as a judge was similar, with Republicans favoring his appointment and Democrats opposing it.
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