If there is one thing that unites conservatives of all political stripes in their appreciation of the Trump administration, it is the arena of judicial nominations. Trump’s White House counsel’s office has worked closely with outside actors, such as the Federalist Society, Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), and the Heritage Foundation, to vet prospective nominees for their firm commitments to statutory textualism and constitutional originalism. To be sure, there have been some nasty internecine disputes and internal dueling among warring factions of the broader legal Right — to say nothing of the jury very much still being out on Justice Brett Kavanaugh — but the totality of the administration’s actions in this realm has unambiguously galvanized conservative support ahead of the president’s 2020 re-election fight.
Now, there is a new outside group to help advance the president’s agenda in the judicial nominations arena. This weekend marked the launch of a new outside advocacy group called “The Article III Project” (A3P), whose title references the Article of the U.S. Constitution that establishes the federal judiciary. The group, which has already taken on a pugnacious profile, does not hide the ball in its mission statement:
Since President Trump took office, the Left has sunk to new lows in its desperation to stop his qualified judges from being confirmed to our federal courts.
As hardened veterans of all three branches of government, we are continuing the political fight from the outside to confirm great Supreme Court justices and circuit and district court judges throughout the country. Our team takes the same approach to every nomination that we took to the nominations of Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh.
The founder and president of A3P is Mike Davis, who clerked for Neil Gorsuch on both the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court and also recently served as chief nominations counsel to former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) during the epic Kavanaugh confirmation saga. Davis’s reputation is that of a hardline conservative and a no-nonsense brawler — and A3P’s public image seems to fully adopt Davis’s known style.
The New York Times profiled A3P and Davis over the weekend:
Mr. Davis, 41, is known as a take-no-prisoners conservative eager to challenge the left with hardball tactics. He now intends to apply those techniques to judicial confirmations from the outside after his inside work on behalf of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and scores of federal judicial nominees seated on the bench since the start of the Trump administration. …
Justice Gorsuch privately called Mr. Davis “the general” of his confirmation while Justice Kavanaugh referred to the former Senate aide as “a warrior” on his behalf. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, singled him out for special praise after the successful vote to confirm Justice Kavanaugh following the tumultuous hearings. Former Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah praised Mr. Davis as the “tip of the spear” in that clash.
Davis also provided an exclusive statement to The Daily Wire:
President Trump is fulfilling his promise to the American people and enjoying record success in appointing stellar judges to the federal bench, despite unprecedented obstruction and radical attacks by Senate Democrats and their left-wing allies. The attacks are only getting uglier, more personal, and more radical. I am launching the Article III Project (A3P) to fight to confirm President Trump’s judicial nominees, defend these new judges from left-wing attacks, defend the integrity of the confirmation process, and fight back against the assault on judicial independence — including radical court-packing, term-limit, and even impeachment schemes.
I am excited to work hand-in-glove with my longtime friends at JCN, along with many others on the outside who understand the critical importance of the judicial fight.
Conservatives of all stripes ought to be excited to see what the uniquely qualified Davis can do with his promising new venture.