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Justin Walker testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Justin Walker testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing to be U.S. district judge for the Western District of Kentucky on July 31, 2019. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

When Judge Justin Walker began his first day at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, he was met with a high-profile records battle tied to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

Walker, formerly a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Kentucky, joined the D.C. appeals court after a testy confirmation process in the Senate, where Democrats alleged he was unqualified for the seat and questioned why Republicans were pushing his confirmation during the COVID-19 pandemic. GOP senators, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has mentored Walker, defended the judge’s credentials, pointing to a new “well qualified” rating from the American Bar Association in doing so.

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Jacqueline Thomsen

Jacqueline Thomsen, based in Washington, is a reporter covering D.C. federal courts and the legal side of politics. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jacq_thomsen.

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