Karen Gren Scholer

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the first of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees in Texas, including Karen Gren Scholer. who, if confirmed by the full Senate, would be the first Asian-American to sit on a federal district court bench in the state.

By a voice vote Thursday, the committee approved the nominations of Scholer to sit on a Northern District of Texas bench and  David Counts to sit on a Western District of Texas bench.

During the same hearing,  the committee also advanced the nominations of Erin Nealy Cox to become the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas and John Bash to be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas.

Scholer is principal co-managing partner in Dallas’ Carter Scholer and previously served for eight years as a state district judge. Counts is a Midland U.S. magistrate judge who formerly served as a federal prosecutor and as a Travis County assistant district attorney.

Scholer and Counts are the rare Trump judicial nominees who’ve advanced for a confirmation vote by the full U.S. Senate this year without having to appear before the judiciary committee. That’s because both Scholer and Counts were previously nominated to Texas federal benches by former President Barack Obama and sat before the committee in 2016.

While U.S. Attorneys candidates are not required to appear before the committee, both Cox and Bash seemed to travel the inside track to get through the Senate committee process quickly. Cox, a former Dallas federal prosecutor who’s currently a senior adviser at a cybersecurity firm, had previously served on the Federal Judicial Evaluation Committee (FJEC) which vets U.S. Attorney candidate applicants for Texas Republican U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. Both Cornyn and Cruz sit on the Judiciary Committee. Cox resigned from FJEC before applying for the U.S. Attorney position.

Bash currently serves as a special assistant and associate counsel to Trump. The former Gibson Dunn & Crutcher associate also clerked for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and argued ten cases before the high court while serving as an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general.