ALL THREE FROM CALIFORNIA WITHOUT DIANNE FEINSTEIN’S APPROVAL
President Donald Trump has nominated conservatives Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The recent deaths of the liberal lions Judge Stephen Reinhardt this year and Judge Harry Pregerson in 2017 has given Trump an opportunity to move the court more toward the center. Both of those judges were President Jimmy Carter appointments and were considered among the most left-leaning judges in the nation. A third judge, Judge Alex Kozinski, was conservative and was a President Ronald Reagan appointment, but retired last December, creating a third vacancy from California.
The Ninth Circuit has 29 judgeships, and with these three vacancies there are seven open seats total.
Previous to the nominations of earlier this week, Trump had nominated Bridget Bade, Eric Miller, and Ryan Nelson. He has one more nomination to make for this court. But these all will be bruising nomination battles, if history is any judge.
Currently, it is nearly impossible for conservatives to argue before the court and have any Republican-appointed judges on the panel. And the Ninth Circuit is known to have many cases reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, earning it the nickname “The Nutty Ninth.” (About 78 percent of the cases appealed from the Ninth to the Supreme Court are reversed.)
All three who were nominated this week are considered conservatives, are from California and are members of the conservative Federalist Society.
Bumatay, 40 is with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, but his assignment is as counselor to the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Washington, D.C. He has a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard University, where he was the articles editor for the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, a publication seated in conservative and libertarian legal scholarship. He clerked for Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit , and Judge Sandra Townes, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
Bumatay is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the National Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association.
His resume is extensive, including Counselor to the Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Senior Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.), Counsel, Office of Legal Policy, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.), Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California (San Diego, CA), Associate, Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason Anello & Bohrer, P.C.(NYC), and Counsel, Associate Attorney General, Office of the Associate Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.).
As a federal prosecutor, he has worked on organized crime and narcotics cases for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego, and has argued before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He currently advises the U.S. Attorney General on national opioid strategy, transnational organized crime, prisoner and reentry policies, and other criminal matters.
Bumatay assisted curing the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Bumatay comes from a Filipino heritage.
Bumatay would also be the nation’s second openly gay federal appeals court judge and the first on the Ninth Circuit.
Kenneth Lee, 43, is a partner, Jenner & Block LLP, a Los Angeles law firm. A graduate of Cornell University, he has a law degree from Harvard University.
He clerked for Judge Emilio Garza, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. From 2006-2009, he was associate counsel to the President. While at the White House Counsel’s Office, he represented the White House in congressional and provided the president and senior White House officials advice on a wide range of legal issues.
Lee has represented numerous consumer class action lawsuits over the years, representing companies in a variety of industries. He has argued appeals before the Second, Fifth, and the Ninth Circuit.
Lee is active in pro bono work for the poor, indigent, and prisoners, with a focus on constitutional rights. The Federalist Society lists him as an expert on topics food and drug law, class actions, and the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.
Daniel Collins, 55, is a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, a Los Angeles law firm. He earned a bachelor’s degree fro Harvard University and his law degree from Stanford Law School.
Collins clerked for Judge Dorothy Nelson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the late Justice Antonin Scalia, of the U.S. Supreme Court.
He was Associate Deputy Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.); Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California; and Attorney-Advisor, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.).
As a federal prosecutor, he tried more than 60 cases, including eight jury trials. He has argued 36 cases before the Ninth Circuit, four cases in the California Supreme Court, and at least one case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.