President Donald Trump has announced his third Texas pick for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Andrew Oldham, who currently serves as general counsel to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.
Oldham was on the short list last year for what is arguably the nation’s most conservative appeals court, when the president had two long-standing Texas vacancies to fill. But Trump ultimately tapped former Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and former Texas Solicitor General Jim Ho. Both Ho and Willett were confirmed to the bench in December.
Oldham, who has been at his post in Abbott’s office for just over a month, previously served as deputy solicitor general for Texas. He moved into the general counsel post in January after Abbott nominated his former top lawyer, Jimmy Blacklock, to take Willett’s place on the state's highest civil court.
Abbott reportedly had unusual and outsized influence on the nomination process for federal judges, which is traditionally a process led by a state’s two U.S. senators. That party infighting seems to have delayed what was expected to be a relatively smooth nominations and confirmation process dominated by Republicans.
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"This is an excellent choice of a strict construction constitutionalist," Abbott tweeted Monday afternoon. "I think he's even better than [U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch]."
Oldham will require a positive vote out of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, and then approval from the full Senate. If confirmed, he’ll take the place of Edward Prado, a longtime 5th Circuit judge who Trump named last month as his pick for U.S. Ambassador to Argentina.