A controversial judicial nominee from Pittsburgh is set to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing Wednesday. David Porter was nominated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Trump in April.
Porter's nomination comes after progressive activists stopped him from being nominated to a lower federal court in 2014. They objected to his involvement with conservative groups, including the Federalist Society and the Pennsylvania Judicial Network.
The latter group is affiliated with the Judicial Crisis Network, which opposed the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009, according to the left-leaning Alliance for Justice.
Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senator, Bob Casey, opposes Porter’s nomination.
“His writings and the activities he’s undertaken indicate, to me at least, that he’s too ideological, too extreme,” Casey said.
Ordinarily, Casey could prevent the nomination from going forward by refusing to sign what’s called a “blue slip,” literally a blue piece of paper that indicates whether a senator supports a judicial nominee in his or her state. Since Trump took office, however, Senate Republicans have broken with this tradition.
“I think it’s bad for the Senate," said Casey, who in 2016 allowed his Republican counterpart, Senator Pat Toomey, to block the nomination of Rebecca Haywood to the 3rd Circuit by withholding a blue slip. "I think it’s bad for the country because, in this case, you have two Senators – Pat Toomey and I – where we’ve worked together to confirm a whole long line of district court judges and several appellate court judges."
Toomey supports Porter’s nomination. In an April statement, he said Porter “has the intellect, temperament and legal experience to be an outstanding judge.”