White House names 3 nominees for 9th Circuit after conservative attacks

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)(L) walks with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (C), to a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence closed door meeting at the U.S. Capitol, on April 27, 2017.

(CNN)After a day of attacks from commentators on the right, the White House announced Wednesday night that it planned to nominate three judges for the California seats on the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The left-leaning 9th Circuit has been a frequent target of President Donald Trump, but when the White House last week announced its plans to renominate dozens of judges who had not received a hearing during the last Congress, those who had been previously nominated for the 9th Circuit weren't on the list.
    The Wall Street Journal weighed in Tuesday night in a post from its editorial board: "President Trump's best achievement has arguably been judicial selection," the post said.
    "So more than a few eyes widened this month when the White House omitted three names from the list of 50 judges Mr. Trump sent back up to the Senate. What intrigue gives?"
    The editorial suggested derisively that new White House counsel Pat Cipollone had been "pen pals" with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who is the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
    Carrie Severino of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network referenced Feinstein and California's other US senator, Democrat Kamala Harris, in a morning tweet: "why on earth would the WH agree to tarnish its sterling legacy of circuit court judges &abandon the opportunity to improve the notorious 9th Cir to help Sens (and a would-be POTUS challenger) who are shafting him every chance they get?"
    In a release Wednesday evening, the White House press office announced that Daniel P. Collins, Kenneth Kiyul Lee and Daniel A. Bress had been nominated for the 9th Circuit. But Patrick Bumatay, who had been slated for the 9th Circuit last time around, was listed to serve as a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of California, instead of the 9th Circuit.
    After the White House issued its new list, Severino released a statement. "We are relieved to see that the White House has decided to move forward with a list of extraordinarily qualified nominees who embrace the rule of law," she said.
    As for Feinstein and Harris, they issued a joint statement saying they were "deeply disappointed" with the choice to renominate Collins and Lee.
    "We made clear our opposition to these individuals and told the White House we wanted to work together to come to consensus on a new package of nominees," the statement read. They said they also had "raised concerns" about Bress "since he lives in Washington DC" and is "quite young and has no judicial experience."
      Feinstein acknowledged that they also had had "productive conversations with the White House about district court vacancies."
      CNN reported last fall when the White House sent three nominations for the 9th Circuit to Capitol Hill that it set off a firestorm, including a letter from then-White House counsel Don McGahn to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, saying that after two years "attempting to engage constructively" with Feinstein and Harris the President had decided to "nominate his own well-qualified nominees."