State Senate committee OKs Trump's judicial nominee


LOUISVILLE -- The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the nomination of University of Louisville law professor Justin Walker, whom President Donald Trump has tapped to become a federal judge.

The committee voted Thursday morning to send Walker's nomination to the full Senate, which still must decide whether to confirm Walker as a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Kentucky.

Thursday's vote was generally split along party lines, with the committee's Republicans favoring Walker's nomination and its Democrats opposing it.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said she could not support Walker's nomination, although she did support a few of Trump's other judicial nominees who were up for consideration Thursday.

In explaining her opposition, Feinstein emphasized that the American Bar Association deemed Walker not qualified to be a federal district court judge.

"The ABA wrote, and I quote: 'Mr. Walker's experience to date has a very substantial gap, namely the absence of any significant trial experience. Mr. Walker has never tried a case as lead or co-counsel, whether civil or criminal,'" Feinstein said.

U.S. Sen. Michael Lee, a Utah Republican, vouched for Walker -- who previously clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Anthony Kennedy -- during Thursday's committee hearing.

Trial experience isn't unimportant, Lee said, but the Judiciary Committee has advanced nominees in the past who had less experience with trials than they did with other aspects of litigation, such as with making dispositive motions that seek to advance or resolve a case without further trial proceedings.

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