Portrait of President Trump (Whitehouse.gov)
In addition to possible appointments for U.S. Attorney for New York’s Eastern and Southern Districts, President Donald Trump is also considering a list of nominees to fill nine vacancies on the federal bench in New York, according to media reports.
The Trump administration reportedly sent a list of proposed candidates to fill vacancies at the federal prosecutors’ offices and on the judiciary to U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in July as a way of starting a conversation with the two Democratic senators, though the White House has yet to formally announce any nominees.
The list pitches just one candidate for the high-profile office of Southern District U.S. Attorney: Geoffrey Berman, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig who just a few months ago was considered to be in the running for U.S. attorney in the District of New Jersey.
Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim has been in charge of the office since the much-publicized firing of Preet Bharara in March. Bharara and then-Eastern District U.S. Attorney Robert Capers were among 46 federal prosecutors who Trump asked to resign.
BuzzFeed first reported about the list on Monday. The press offices for Schumer and Gillibrand did not respond to messages requesting comment and the White House press office did not respond to an email asking to confirm the existence of the list.
But sources with knowledge of the process have confirmed to the New Jersey Law Journal and other publications that the reported names are under consideration.
Additionally, Berman did not respond to requests for comment and Greenberg Traurig declined to comment. Former New York mayor and Trump ally Rudolph Giuliani is also a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig.
As for the Eastern District, which is being helmed by Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde, Trump’s list included names that have been mentioned in news reports since the early days of his administration: Edward McNally, a partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres; and Richard Donoghue, who was an Eastern District prosecutor for 11 years before joining CA Technologies in 2011.
For the two vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Trump has suggested Matthew McGill, a Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner who was on the winning side of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC; Michael Park, a partner at Consovoy McCarthy Park who clerked under U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito; Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, a Georgetown University Law Center professor; and Southern District Judge Richard Sullivan, who was appointed to the bench in 2007 by President George W. Bush.
To fill three vacancies on the bench in the Southern District, Trump has suggested Lewis Liman, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and a former Southern District prosecutor; Daniel Sullivan, a partner at Holwell Shuster & Goldberg who clerked under the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; and Southern District Bankruptcy Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, who spent three decades with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett before she was appointed to the bench last year.
In the Eastern District, there are three vacancies in the court’s Brooklyn courthouse and one vacancy at its courthouse in Central Islip.
To fill those seats, Trump has suggested Eastern District Magistrate Judge Gary Brown; Diane Gujarati, the deputy chief of the Southern District U.S. Attorney Office’s Criminal Division; Eric Komitee, a former Eastern District prosecutor who now works for Viking Global Investors; and Rachel Kovner, who works in the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.
President Barack Obama nominated both Brown and Gujarati to the bench, and their conformations were still pending when Trump was elected.