The basics say it all, really.
President Donald Trump named former Texas Deputy Attorney General David Morales on Tuesday to a trial bench in Corpus Christi. Morales had been recommended to the White House by Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
Morales made headlines during the presidential campaign when news outlets learned that in May 2010 the state’s consumer protection division had sought permission to pursue what it believed was a strong case against Trump and Trump University. Investigators asserted that Texas taxpayers had been bilked out of more than $2.6 million, and sought to file a $5.4 million lawsuit.
Morales rejected the recommendation. Texas dropped its investigation. Trump University voluntarily ceased operations in Texas.
Incidentally, the federal judgment against Trump University—to the tune of $25 million—was finalized on Monday.
The settlement marks an end to two class-action lawsuits filed by former students, who said they were misled into enrolling in the university’s real-estate seminars and given “educations” that were essentially worthless. [New York Attorney General] Schneiderman later filed a civil suit over the programs.
Trump University, which shut down in 2010, was not required to admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
Trump originally refused to settle the case, and bragged on the campaign trail about his history of seeing cases through to the end. However, he announced shortly after the 2016 election he would settle the Trump University lawsuit.
Texas’s two Republican senators are pushing Morales. Their enthusiastic backing suggests he’ll be yet another success story for the GOP as they set records for judicial confirmations in both the speed and quantity categories.
“David has spent his career mastering complex legal issues in both public service and private practice,” Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said in a statement.
Cruz, who worked with Morales in the state attorney general’s office, called for quick confirmation.
“I know firsthand that he will be a principled, passionate defender of the Constitution and the rule of law,” Cruz said in a statement.
Both Texas Republicans sit on the Judiciary Committee, which reviews judicial nominations.
Perhaps they’re just trying to avoid a repeat of the Jeff Mateer debacle. The last time Trump nominated someone from the Texas Attorney General’s Office to the federal bench, it ended in a particularly ignominious defeat.
Mateer ran into trouble over comments describing transgender youth as part of “Satan’s plan” and labeling as “disgusting” the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. He also suggested the decision could spur polygamy or bestiality.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said his primary concern was that Mateer didn’t disclose the contents of those speeches before he and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recommended that he be nominated.
“That’s a big problem,” Cornyn told POLITICO last month. “That may not be the only problem, but that’s a big problem.”
Granted, the instances in which Trump’s unsuitable nominees have actually been blocked from confirmation are all too few.
Matthew Kacsmaryk, another religious conservative who previously worked for First Liberty, drew scrutiny from gay-rights advocates after his nomination for a judgeship.
The Judiciary Committee approved Kacsmaryk in January despite calls by gay-rights advocates to kill the nomination. He is still awaiting a vote of the full Senate. If confirmed, Kacsmaryk would fill a seat in the Northern District, based in Amarillo.
Let’s see what comes to light now that Morales is under scrutiny. Favor-based nominations don’t usually generate the soundest nominees.