The U.S. Senate on Thursday—for the second time in as many days—confirmed along partisan lines a Trump administration pick to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Consovoy McCarthy Park name attorney Michael Park was confirmed by a vote of 52-41 in the Senate.
Park, like Joseph Bianco on Wednesday, was confirmed over the objection of both of his home-state senators, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York.
Unlike Bianco’s, Park’s nomination has been fought by both Schumer and Gillibrand. In February, Gillibrand called Park an “extremist right-wing” pick. On the floor of the Senate Wednesday, Schumer called Park an ideologue and a Federalist Society “stooge.”
Outside groups, too, expressed concern over what they called Park’s long record of “hostility” to civil rights.
“Michael Park’s hostility to racial justice and equality coupled with his lack of regard for fundamental civil rights precedent render him poised to weaponize the federal judiciary against well-established norms and precedent,” NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund president and director-counsel Sherrilyn Ifill wrote recently in a letter to Senate leaders.
Park is Trump’s third nomination to now sit on the Second Circuit. Former Eastern District Judge Bianco can lay claim to seniority of about 24 hours after his confirmation vote Wednesday. Former Southern District judge Richard Sullivan joined the Second Circuit bench in October 2018.
Park’s divisive nomination kicked off when he was first nominated in October 2018. Most of the critique has been over his firm’s work in support of conservative causes.
As a litigator, Park has handled a range of securities and other white-collar litigation, including matters brought by the DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Among active litigation, Park represents a nonprofit group seeking amicus standing in New York state’s lawsuit against the Trump administration’s attempt to ask about immigration status in the next census. Park’s client, the Project on Fair Representation, has filed an amicus motion in support of the federal government’s attempt to dismiss the suit.
More recently, Consovoy McCarthy Park has become a go-to firm for many of Trump’s legal issues. The firm currently represents the president personally in his battle over emoluments playing out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. More recently, it has been tapped to lead the Trump family’s efforts in the Southern District of New York to stop Deutsche Bank and Capital One from producing financial documents following subpoenas by Democrats in the House of Representatives.
Park’s conservative bona fides run deep. A graduate of Yale Law School, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito during his time on the Third Circuit. He also served during the Bush administration as an attorney-adviser in the DOJ’s office of legal counsel before joining Dechert in 2012 as partner.
While Park is the latest Trump selection for the Second Circuit, he is unlikely to be the last. With the recently announced taking of senior status by two current members of the court—Circuit Judges Dennis Jacobs and Christopher Droney—Trump has the potential to add even more selections to the court. This opens the possibility that the perceived ideological divide at the Manhattan federal appellate court could soon swing in favor of Republican-nominated judges.
Park did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to his work email account. Representatives for the firm also did not respond to a request for comment.