Texans Will Soon Dominate 5th Circuit


Texas is about to get another friendly face on the federal bench. President Trump's latest nominee to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is 39-year-old Andrew Oldham, who has spent the past several years working under Gov. Greg Abbott in the Texas Attorney General's Office and Governor's Office. In fact, Gov. Abbott appointed Oldham as his general counsel just weeks before President Trump nominated Oldham to the Fifth Circuit.

The President has been quietly reshaping the federal judiciary in a conservative direction since shortly after taking office last year, and he has tapped the Lone Star State as a big part of that. Oldham is the third Texan nominated to the Fifth Circuit since President Trump took office, joining former Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett and former Texas solicitor general James Ho. "What the Trump Administration is getting accomplished on a very rapid scale here, is filling judicial vacancies," says Chris Tritico, Houston attorney and KTRH legal expert. "The Republican majority in the Senate is, with breakneck speed, filling judicial vacancies as quickly as they can in advance of the midterm elections."

While Oldham will have to recuse himself from any cases he previously worked on for the state of Texas, his court will still hear most major cases coming out of Texas. "He will, once confirmed, have the ability then to construe laws that our legislature passes for their Constitutional effect," says Tritico.

With three conservative Texans sitting on the Fifth Circuit court, the state is likely to find favorable litigation territory there for years to come. "This guy is what, 39 years old, so he'll be on the bench for a good 30 years," says Tritico. "That has the effect of a conservative on the most conservative federal court of appeals for a generation."


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