On Thursday, Hawley — the first-term junior senator from Missouri — confirmed his decision to reporters that he would be opposing the president’s pick for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Halil Suleyman Ozerden.
News of the Missouri Republican’s opposition was first reported by Politico and came mere hours before Ozerden’s nomination was to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Hawley became the second Republican senator to oppose Ozerden’s nomination, behind Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
Cruz told Politico earlier this month that he was opposing the nomination because he has “significant concerns” that Ozerdan will not meet his “standard” of having a “strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist.”
“For a lifetime appointment on the court of appeals, I believe we should be looking for someone with a strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist. I have significant concerns that Judge Ozerden’s judicial record does not indicate that he meets that standard. For that reason, I do not believe he should be on the court of appeals, and I will oppose his nomination.”
Ozerden’s nomination has since been shelved by the Senate. He will need to garner support from the Democrats to get through the committee where Republicans have two seats over them.
Conservatives are skeptical of Ozerdan’s judicial record due to his ruling on a challenge to the birth control mandate under ObamaCare. Ozerdan’s nomination was backed by the two senators from Mississippi — Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). Additionally, the judge is also a friend of acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.