President Donald Trump has nominated Andy Oldham to be the third Texan to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, just one month after Gov. Greg Abbott chose the Austin lawyer to be his general counsel.
Oldham is the second of Abbott’s general counsel to leave the position for the bench. Oldham had replaced Jimmy Blacklock, another of Abbott’s lawyers, when the governor promoted him to the Texas Supreme Court in November.
Oldham previously worked as a deputy solicitor general who helped convince U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Brownsville to block then-President Barack Obama’s move to shield five million immigrants from deportation in 2015. He also served as a legal counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice and as a law clerk to Justice Samuel Alito, and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 2005.
“Andy is a brilliant mind with a strong legal background, having served as legal counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice and as a law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on the United States Supreme Court,” Abbott said of Oldham last month when he chose him as his legal counsel. “Not only does his background reflect his robust understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law, but Andy has proven himself as a dedicated public servant and a trusted legal adviser in the General Counsel’s office. I want to thank Andy for his commitment to the State of Texas, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new role.”
Oldham was one of six Texas conservative lawyers and judges originally considered by Trump for positions on the Fifth Circuit shortly after his election in 2016.
In December, two other Trump nominees from Texas were seated on the Fifth Circuit including Texas Don Willett, a former Texas Supreme Court justice known as the “Tweeter Laureate of Texas” for his mastery of social media, and James Ho, a former Texas solicitor general and the first Asian-American to serve on the Fifth Circuit.