legal-affairs

Contentious N.C. Judicial Nominee Advances to Senate Floor
Eastern District of North Carolina seat has been open for 12 years

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of Thomas Farr to be a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. (Screenshot C-SPAN)

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a controversial nominee to fill the longest vacancy in the federal court system as well as a top Justice Department official.

The committee voted 11-9 along party lines to advance Thomas Farr to be a judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The spot has been open for 12 years and has long been caught up in the politics of the state and U.S. Senate. Since judicial nominees can’t be filibustered, Democrats don’t have the votes to stop Farr’s lifetime appointment without help from Republicans.

Democrats Drop Congeniality as They Fire Away at Sessions
‘Give me a break,’ attorney general implores at one point

From left, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal talk Wednesday as Sessions arrives for the Senate Judiciary oversight hearing on the Justice Department. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took an unusual path to the witness table before Wednesday’s Justice Department oversight hearing. He looped behind the dais to smile and shake the hands of his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues and pat them on the shoulder.

But the next four hours made it clear that congeniality has faded for the former Alabama Republican senator. Democrats lectured him on immigration policy, questioned his truthfulness in previous testimony about Russia and criticized his implementation of the Trump administration’s conservative policies.

Sessions: ‘Dreamers’ Fix Must Drive Down Illegal Immigration
AG has long opposed efforts to grant undocumented childhood immigrants legal status

Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed immigration issues in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told senators Wednesday they could work with President Donald Trump to protect undocumented childhood immigrants from deportation as long as “amnesty” is coupled with efforts to reduce illegal immigration overall.

“The president has said he wants to work with Congress. He has a heart for young people,” Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee at a wide-ranging Justice Department oversight hearing.

Senators Ready to Confront Sessions at Oversight Hearing
Attorney General likely to face contentious questions about his leadership

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to face his former Senate Judiciary Committee colleagues Wednesday in an oversight hearing likely to include contentious questions about Justice Department actions since he took on the role eight months ago.

“The attorney general will earn his money that day,” said committee member John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican.

Judgment Days for Judicial Nominees
Several factors will affect schedule for Senate confirmation of judges

The Republican president and Senate have a chance to reshape the judicial branch, but several factors will determine how things stack up . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators face a lengthy list of President Donald Trump’s judicial picks, but consideration of the nominees could be affected by three significant factors: an extensive backlog of vacancies, Republican leaders’ willingness to continue altering chamber traditions, and the Democrats’ lack of motivation to aid GOP efforts to remake the judiciary.

There are 121 vacancies at the U.S. District Court level and an additional 21 vacancies on federal appeals courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Manchin to Trump: Don't Make Marino the Drug Czar
Follows reports of legislative effort Justice Department decried

Rep. Tom Marino, the nominee to be the drug czar, is under fire for his legislative efforts on drug use. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Democratic senator from a state ravaged by opioid abuse wants President Donald Trump to pull back the nomination of Rep. Tom Marino to be the nation’s drug czar.

Citing reporting from the Washington Post, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III said in a letter to Trump that he had concerns that Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania, could be too favorable to the opioid industry if he were to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Judge Rules That Robert Menendez Will Face All Charges
New Jersey Democrat was seeking dismissal of corruption counts

Sen. Robert Menendez is seen during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting Oct. 5, his first day back to the Hill since his corruption trial started. (Tom Williams/Roll Call)

Updated: 12:49 p.m. | A jury will hear corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez after all, leaving intact federal prosecutors’ case against the New Jersey Democrat. 

U.S. District Court Judge William H. Walls said the evidence the Justice Department presented in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, appeared to meet the legal test for proving bribery under federal law, NBC News reported.

Hunter Spent More on Legal Fees Than He Raised In Third Quarter
Raised $91,400 and spent more than $130,000 on legal fees

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., faces a criminal investigation into how he spent campaign funds. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Embattled California Rep. Duncan Hunter spent more in the most recent fundraising quarter on legal fees than he raised.

According to Hunter’s October quarterly fundraising records filed with the Federal Election Commission, Hunter spent roughly $134,000 on legal fees.

Chris Collins Slams Louise Slaughter as a ‘Despicable Human Being’ Over Ethics Review
New York Democrat filed ethics charges against Republican colleague

New York Rep. Chris Collins is facing scrutiny over whether he shared nonpublic information about a company in which he is an investor. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Rep. Chris Collins has slammed fellow New Yorker Louise M. Slaughter as a “despicable human being” over the ethics charges the Democratic congresswoman filed against him.

“She’s on a witch hunt, she’s a despicable human,” Collins said of his colleague, Fox News reported. “You don’t go after another member.”

‘Call me,’ Trump Tells Democrats After Nixing Obamacare Subsidies
President paints Dems as in pocket of ‘their pet insurance companies’

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office earlier this year. On Friday morning, he instructed Democrats to call him to talk about a "fix" for Obamacare. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Call me.”

That was the message early Friday morning from President Donald Trump to Democrats after he drew their ire late Thursday night for canceling health care subsidies they immediately said would drive up insurance premiums.