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On June 29, 2017, President Donald Trump made his second group of nominations of prospective United States Attorneys. With the eight lawyers he nominated earlier in June, this group brings the current number of Trump’s United States Attorney nominations to seventeen – around 20% of the total number of positions. The nine lawyers he nominated last week are:
So far, thirteen of Trump’s seventeen nominees have come from states with two Republican Senators where the “blue slips” approving Presidential nominations are likely easier to come by. Thirteen of Trump’s nominees are also from small or medium districts as DOJ categorizes them. Small and medium districts are those with fewer personnel resources (especially given the DOJ hiring freeze currently in effect), so adding Presidentially-appointed United States Attorneys to these districts will free up the acting United States Attorneys (career prosecutors who were already in the office) to return to prosecuting cases and other matters – no small addition in offices that may only contain twenty or thirty lawyers.
This batch of Trump nominees is very similar to his initial group, as well as similar to the Obama nominees as a whole:
Despite the similarities, Trump continues to emphasize state prosecutorial experience in a way that Obama did not. While less than a third of the Obama nominees had state prosecutorial experience, over half of Trump’s nominees to this point do. Furthermore, three of Trump’s nominees are elected District Attorneys; while three of Obama’s more than 100 total United States Attorney nominees had prior service as an elected District Attorney, none were serving in that capacity at the time of nomination. As noted before, studies have shown that violent crime is more often addressed by state courts than by federal courts. Trump’s continued focus on lawyers with state prosecution experience is still in keeping with his recent executive order emphasizing DOJ efforts to fight violent crime.
A couple of stray observations:
And a final note: This batch of nominees puts the pace of Trump’s United States Attorney nominations slightly ahead of Obama’s – Trump began July 2017 with seventeen nominations, while at the end of June 2009 Obama only had nine. Given that Obama finished July 2009 with nineteen total United States Attorney nominations, it is not unlikely that Trump’s nominations will continue to move along somewhat more quickly than Obama’s, at least in the short to medium term.
For more information on this client alert please contact Ripley Rand at 919.755.8125 or RRand@wcsr.com.
Ripley Rand advises and represents businesses and people dealing with governmental investigations, business disputes, regulatory matters, and corporate compliance issues. Before joining Womble Carlyle, Ripley Rand served as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, a North Carolina state court judge, and a North Carolina Assistant District Attorney.