United States: A Look At Trump's First Wave Of United States Attorney Nominations

On June 12, 2017, President Donald Trump made his first nominations of prospective United States Attorneys. The eight lawyers he nominated are:

  • Jay E. Town, an Assistant District Attorney in the Madison County, Alabama, District Attorney's Office, to be the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.
  • Louis V. Franklin, Jr., an Assistant United States Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama, to be the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. 
  • Richard W. Moore, the Inspector General for the Tennessee Valley Authority, to be the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama. 
  • Jessie K. Liu, the Deputy General Counsel for the United States Department of the Treasury, to be the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
  • Justin E. Herdman, a partner in the Cleveland office of Jones Day, to be the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. 
  • Brian J. Kuester, the District Attorney of Oklahoma's 27th Judicial District, to be the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. 
  • D. Michael Dunavant, the District Attorney General of Tennesse''s 25th Judicial District, to be the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
  • John W. Huber, the current United States Attorney for the District of Utah, to remain the United States Attorney for the District of Utah.

A brief summary of the nominations procedure: Presidential nominations for United States Attorney (or judicial) positions in the federal court system's 94 districts are typically made after both Senators from a nominee's home state have returned the "blue slip" indicating approval of the nominee. The nominee will then be vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee before moving to the full Senate for confirmation.

Six of Trump's eight nominees come from states with two Republican Senators – states where "blue slips" likely were easier to come by than states where one or both Senators are Democrats. Mr. Huber's renomination in Utah is not out of the ordinary – former President Obama renominated a number of former President Bush's United States Attorneys, including current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of Maryland, with the approval of those nominees' home state Senators. Ohio's Senators – one Democratic, one Republican – had previously announced their bipartisan support of Mr. Herdman, a former prosecutor in the Northern District office. But Ms. Liu does not have any "home state" senators in her capacity as the D.C. nominee – D.C. only has "shadow senators" who do not enjoy the typical Senatorial courtesies like the "blue slip" (or apparently even the use of the Senate elevators).
So what kind of conclusions can you draw about these nominees? The fact that all three Alabama districts were in this first group shows that former Alabama Senator/now Attorney General Jeff Sessions has most likely played a significant role in getting the nominations machinery started. But while it is a small sample size, there are a number of similarities between Trump's nominees and those of former President Obama. Including the timing of the nominations – despite some negative media coverage about delays, the eight Trump nominations to this point line up fairly closely with Obama's nine nominations prior to July 2009. Here are a few other areas of consistency that jump out –

  • The Trump nominees average around 26 years of legal experience, compared with the 23 years of experience of the average Obama nominee.
  • Two of the eight Trump nominees (Ms. Liu and Mr. Herdman) have experience working in large law firms, compared with around 20% of the Obama nominees. 
  • All eight Trump nominees have either prior state or federal prosecutorial experience, compared with the more than 80% of Obama nominees who had prosecutorial experience prior to nomination.

There is one notable difference, though: While less than a third of the Obama nominees had prior state prosecutorial experience, five of the eight Trump nominees do. Trump also nominated two elected District Attorneys in this first wave; while three of the more than 100 Obama nominees had some prior experience as an elected or appointed District Attorney, none was serving as the District Attorney at the time of nomination. Court records show that cases involving violent crime are more often handled in state courts than in federal courts. Trump's nomination of prosecutors who have front line experience where violent crime cases are typically addressed is in keeping with his recent executive order that the Department of Justice will emphasize efforts to combat violent crime.

The pace of these nominations moving forward is anyone's guess, but if history is any indicator the second half of the year should be busy – around a third of the Obama nominees for these positions came during between July and December 2009.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions