Republican Sen. Josh Hawley will oppose President Donald Trump’s nominee for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Halil Suleyman “Sul” Ozerden, joining Sen. Ted Cruz in opposition and putting the nomination in potential peril.
Hawley (R-Mo.) began informing colleagues of his decision on Thursday morning, just hours before Ozerden was going to be considered before the Senate Judiciary Committee. With Cruz (R-Texas) and Hawley in opposition, Ozerden now needs Democratic support to receive a favorable recommendation by the committee, where Republicans enjoy a two-seat advantage.
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Ozerden is a friend of acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and has been strongly supported by both Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). But conservatives have been skeptical of his credentials, specifically his ruling in favor of dismissing a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, which he deemed premature.
Hawley is citing that ruling in his opposition to Ozerden, the source said; he met with Ozerden earlier this month. Hawley also opposed Michael Bogren’s nomination to a district court earlier this year, helping derail another Trump nominee to a lifetime court position.