Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made an uncharacteristic break with President Donald Trump and informed his fellow Senators as well as the White House that he will not support Trump’s nominee for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Halil Suleyman “Sul” Ozerden, according to POLITICO.
The publication cited three sources familiar with the Judiciary Committee’s inner workings, who said that the conservative from Texas’ opposition to the nomination could put the entire nomination into jeopardy.
Ozerden is reportedly a close friend of acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and his nomination was strongly supported by Mulvaney, despite hesitation on the part of the White House Counsel’s office.
“For a lifetime appointment on the court of appeals, I believe we should be looking for someone with strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist. I have significant concerns that Judge Ozerden’s judicial record does not indicate that he meets that standard,” Cruz told POLITICO in a statement.
“For that reason, I do not believe he should be on the court of appeals, and I will oppose his nomination,” the Republican went on.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently in their hearing process for Oxerden, but has yet to hold the committee vote, and Republicans are reportedly divided about whether the Trump nominee will move to a full Senate vote, with conservatives on the fence about the nominee.
There are also several other undecided senators who are holding up the nomination, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) who met with Ozerden on Thursday morning and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was is slated to meet with him in the afternoon, according to POLITICO’s sources close to the Judiciary Committee. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) is also reportedly not fully convinced of his support for the nominee.
“As a district judge, Ozerden approved the Obama administration’s dismissal of a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, deeming the challenge premature. Senate Republicans have expressed concern about Ozerden’s decision in 2012,” POLITICO reported.
“Unlike most other Trump judicial nominees, Ozerden lacks explicit backing from conservative judicial groups like the Judicial Crisis Network. Carrie Severino, the group’s chief counsel, wrote last year that “we could do better than Judge Ozerden” in Mississippi.”
Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the White House declined POLITICO’s request for comment on Ozerden.
Written by Savannah Pointer.