A bankruptcy judge in West Virginia and a Quinn Emanuel partner who’s been active in Republican politics in Texas were among four nominees easily confirmed Oct. 16 to district court seats.
The Senate cleared Frank Volk to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia; Charles Eskridge III to the Southern District of Texas; David Novak to the Eastern District of Virginia; and Rachel Kovner to the Eastern District of New York.
Back from a two-week recess, the Republican-led Senate resumed its judicial confirmation push with more circuit and district nominees waiting in the pipeline. The Senate has confirmed 152 nominees put forth by President Donald Trump for district and circuit courts as well as Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Trump is making good on a campaign pledge to reshape the federal courts with conservatives, although some nominees have gotten Democratic support. They include Eskridge, Kovner, Novak, and Volk, who was confirmed unanimously.
Volk is currently chief judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. He was a long-time clerk for two federal judges there before rising to the bankruptcy post in 2015.
Eskridge clerked for Supreme Court Justice Byron White in the early 1990s, and was an associate and then a partner for years with Susman Godfrey before moving to Quinn Emanuel in 2015. Based in Houston, he focuses on complex commercial litigation. His experience includes energy, antitrust, patent, and securities fraud issues.
He’s a member of the Federalist Society, which has been influential in Trump judicial selections. Eskridge also has supported local, statewide, and national Republican candidates over the years, serving in voluntary roles for Republican Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, according to his Senate Judiciary Committee nominations questionnaire. His vote was 61 to 31.
Novak moves up from his federal magistrate seat in Virginia. He was a long-time prosecutor, and played a key role in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty to 9/11-related charges and is serving a life sentence. His vote was 89 to 3.
Kovner is an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general where she’s represented the government in litigation before the Supreme Court. She’s also a former prosecutor in the Southern District of New York and clerked for late high court Justice Antonin Scalia. Her vote was 88 to 3.
—With Madison Alder of Bloomberg Law and Nancy Ognanovich of Bloomberg Government
(Updates with Senate votes, more background on nominees.)
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