President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have outpaced former President Donald Trump in appointing judges over the past two years, but they have halted in the South.
The lack of southern nominees, especially in states with two Republican senators, may derail Biden’s comprehensive attempt to reverse Trump’s influence on the federal court, particularly efforts to strengthen civil rights and safeguard voter protections.
President Biden’s judicial nominee, attorney Sara Hill, had a difficult time at her Wednesday Senate hearing.
On October 18, Biden made Hill’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma official. Hill and John D. Russell, another federal judge candidate for the Northern District of Oklahoma, were described by President Joe Biden as “extraordinarily qualified, experienced, and dedicated to the rule of law and our Constitution” in a White House letter.
Senator John Kennedy, a Republican from Louisiana, questioned Hill on the distinction between a stay order and an injunction at her nomination hearing. Hill said that a stay order would bar a party from taking action, but an injunction would limit the parties from doing action. A stay order is a judicial order that stops further action in a lawsuit.
From 2019 until 2023, Hill was the Cherokee Nation’s Attorney General. A small delegation of Cherokee people attended her nomination hearing. In an interview with the Cherokee Phoenix (the first Native American newspaper), Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. praised Hill and her colleague nominee Russell, saying they would be excellent additions to the judiciary because of their legal knowledge, work ethic, and sense of fairness.
Social media users couldn’t believe Kennedy’s question stumped Hill. “How can an individual who aspires to be a federal judge possibly not know this?” Carrie Severino, head of the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), tweeted after seeing the video.
It became so bad that Senator Durbin later praised Hill for “passing the Kennedy bar test” on a curve.
Conservative communicator, as Steve Guest describes himself, wrote on X. Hill, if approved, will make history in Oklahoma by becoming the state’s first Native American woman federal judge.