President Trump nominates judge who ruled in favor of drive-in church services to DC Circuit

President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that he was nominating Justin Walker, a federal judge and former clerk for now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, The Hill reported. Now, two columnists for Fox News say it’s time for Walker to be swiftly confirmed.

Writing in an op-ed published by Fox on Friday, Michael R. Davis and David Feder said Walker “has a resume that marks him as among the most talented lawyers of his generation.”

“He is a stellar selection, and we urge his swift confirmation,” they added.

“A stellar selection”

During his time in office, President Trump has made a record number of appointments to the federal bench. The Washington Post reported in December that one in four circuit court judges in the U.S. is now a Trump appointee — and that’s good news for conservatives.

According to Davis and Feder, Walker, who currently presides over the Western District of Kentucky, will be much like Trump’s other nominees when he takes his seat on the D.C. Circuit bench: someone who cares about the Constitution and the Americans it protects.

Walker also earned the praise of conservatives last month when he sided with a church offering “drive-in” worship services after Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer attempted to shut them down due to concerns over the coronavirus, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

Calling Fischer’s order a “stunning” violation of religious freedom, Walker pointed out that the congregation had abided by federal social distancing guidelines and yet was being singled out in a way that other institutions were not.

“If sitting in cars did pose a significant danger of spreading the virus, Louisville would close all drive-throughs and parking lots that are not related to maintaining public health, which they haven’t done,” Walker wrote in his April decision, according to the Courier Journal.

He went on: “Nor is there any evidence that churches are less essential than every other business that is currently allowed to be open – liquor stores among them.”

An “outstanding nominee”

According to the Courier Journal, Walker’s ruling brought praise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who tweeted that he was “[g]rateful for this strong, eloquent ruling defending Kentuckians’ religious liberty,” adding that Walker is an “outstanding nominee for the D.C. Circuit.”

Indeed, Davis and Feder argued Friday that “working as a law professor — on top of clerking for two of the nation’s leading jurists — has prepared Judge Walker well to serve on the D.C. Circuit.”

“A review of his legal scholarship shows that he is someone who has thought deeply about the sort of hard constitutional-law issues that he may be called upon to decide — and reveals someone who pays careful attention to the Constitution’s design, especially its separation of powers,” they wrote. “If confirmed, Judge Walker would bring this sort of thoughtful and perceptive analysis to the constitutional and other issues he would face on the D.C. Circuit.”

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