Trump Appeals Nominee Questioned by Dems Over Company Ties

Ryan D. Nelson distanced himself July 11 from past controversy involving an Idaho company where the Trump appeals court nominee has worked.

Democrats questioned Nelson at his Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing about one-time allegations over marketing practices at Melaleuca Inc., where he has served as general counsel.

But Nelson, who was nominated in May to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, said the firm was above-board during his years there.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also criticized Nelson as “intellectually dishonest” for saying that he believed “all” U.S. Supreme Court precedent was correctly decided, when asked about landmark civil and women’s rights decisions.

Despite the criticism, Nelson is likely to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. The Ninth Circuit is the nation’s largest appeals court, and encompasses states including California, Arizona, and Alaska.

President Donald Trump has seen 22 appellate court nominees confirmed during his presidency, in part due to vacancies kept open by Senate Republicans during the Obama administration.

Nelson formerly served as a deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice’s environmental and natural resources division.

Nelson practiced at Sidley Austin LLP in Washington as part of the firm’s “appellate, litigation, products liability, and religious liberties practice groups,” according to the White House’s nomination announcement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at