Trump nominates White House lawyer to D.C. appellate court

President Trump announced on Thursday that he has nominated White House lawyer Gregory G. Katsas to sit on the influential U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Katsas, 52, served on the Justice Department’s transition team before becoming the right-hand man of White House counsel Donald McGahn after the inauguration this year.

NPR reported that the two men previously worked together as partners at the Jones Day law firm in Washington, D.C. Since then, McGahn has depended on Katsas for legal advice and day-to-day management of the House legal operation, which includes more than two dozen attorneys.

Early in his career, Katsas ran the Justice Department’s Civil Division during the George W. Bush presidency. Prior to that, he served as executive editor of the Harvard Law Review and clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas during his first year on the Supreme Court. According to Katsas’ White House biography, he’s argued more than 75 appeals cases, including in the high court and “every federal appellate court.”

Trump’s nomination of Katsas to the influential D.C. appellate court is predicted to set off a contentious confirmation battle in the Senate. Considered the most important federal appeals court in the nation, a position on this particular bench has been known to be a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.

The court hears cases involving disputes over the federal separation of powers and challenges to executive branch authority.

The nomination was among several that Mr. Trump announced Thursday in his seventh round of judicial appointments.

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