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Trump Just Announced Two New Judicial Nominees — Here’s What We Know

With the year of “leave no vacancy behind” in full swing, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced the two latest nominees for lifetime appointments on the federal bench.

According to a White House press release, the president will name federal prosecutor Aileen Mercedes Cannon to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and private litigation attorney Dirk B. Paloutzian to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

Cannon currently serves as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Appellate Section of the Southern District of Florida. She graduated from Duke University and received her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School before taking a role as a law clerk for U.S. Circuit Judge Steven M. Colloton of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Colloton, a George W. Bush appointee who was on the president’s shortlist for a possible spot on the U.S. Supreme Court, is regarded as a highly-knowledgeable, reliably conservative judge. Notably, Judge Colloton joined a 2008 abortion-related decision allowing enforcement of a South Dakota law that defined the unborn as “human beings.”

Following her clerkship, Cannon went on to practice civil litigation at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, before joining the Major Crimes Division where she prosecuted federal crimes related to firearms, narcotics, immigration, and fraud offenses.

Republican Florida junior senator and former governor Rick Scott praised Cannon’s nomination on Twitter, saying he was looking forward to supporting her in the Senate confirmation process.

Paloutzian is a partner at private law firm Baker Manock & Jensen in Fresno, California, where his practice has focused on commercial and agribusiness litigation. The prospective federal judge earned his J.D. from the University of California Davis School of Law before working at California law firm McCormick Barstow, followed by a five-year stint as a Fresno County deputy district attorney.

According to Law.com’s The Recorder, Paloutzian will join a severely overloaded Eastern District of California court that covers 34 counties and has not been given a new judgeship since 1978, during which time the population covered by the court’s jurisdiction has grown from 2.5 million to approximately 8 million people.

Baker Manock & Jensen managing partner Kenneth Price, who has known and worked with Paloutzian for more than 20 years, told The Recorder he was a “terrific” choice for the bench.

“He is universally regarded a smart, thoughtful, and reasonable attorney, and someone with the highest ethical standards,” Price said. “While we will miss seeing him in the office every day and benefiting from his wise counsel, we know that, upon confirmation, our legal community will be gaining an outstanding federal judge.”

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.