The Senate voted to confirm Andrew Oldham to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Wednesday, making him President Donald Trump’s 23rd circuit court confirmation.
Oldham, a former clerk to Justice Samuel Alito, has served as a general counsel for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He’s held several roles in that office, and also served in former President George W. Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. He was nominated in February to replace outgoing Judge Edward Prado, who Trump nominated as ambassador to Argentina.
Oldham was confirmed 50-49 along party lines. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, was the lone absentee.
Oldham attracted criticism after declining to answer whether Brown v. Board of Education was rightly decided, a question-and-answer that other Trump court picks have weathered.
The Senate also voted 50-49 to end debate on Ninth Circuit nominee Ryan Bounds Wednesday.
Bounds, an assistant U.S. attorney in Oregon, became the Trump administration’s first nominee to the Ninth Circuit last September. He was nominated to replace Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, who took senior status in 2016. Bounds once clerked for O’Scannlain.
Both of Bounds’ home state senators, Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, opposed his nomination and withheld their blue slips. Bounds drew controversy, in part, for two opinion pieces he wrote for a student publication while he was an undergraduate at Stanford University. The pieces railed against “race-focused groups” on college campuses. Bounds acknowledged the “overheated” and “overbroad” nature of his rhetoric during his confirmation hearing.