MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Sen. Tammy Baldwin says a bipartisan Wisconsin commission that signs off on federal nominees never approved a Milwaukee attorney that President Donald Trump has picked to fill a federal appellate court vacancy.
Trump announced Friday that he had chosen Michael Brennan to fill a vacancy on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The slot has been open since 2010. The seat is designated for a judge from Wisconsin.
Federal judge nominees in Wisconsin are normally vetted and chosen by a nominating commission, which is run by the Wisconsin State Bar. Three or four names are given to the state’s U.S. senators, and they make a recommendation to the president. If the president approves the nomination, it goes to the full Senate for approval.
Baldwin’s office says the commission did not recommend Brennan as the nominee. Baldwin said in a statement that she’s troubled Trump has taken a partisan approach that disrespects Wisconsin’s process.
Brennan is now a partner at Milwaukee-based Gass Weber Mullins and an arbitrator and mediator. He tries commercial and tort cases in state and federal court. Before returning to private practice, Brennan was a Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge for 9 years. He has also been an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County and a litigation associate at Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee.
Brennan earned his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1989 and was admitted to practice law the same year.
Brennan has been nominated to fill a seat formerly held by Judge Terence Evans, who took senior status in 2010 and died in 2011. President Barack Obama had nominated Madison lawyer Donald Schott for the position in 2015, but the U.S. Senate never confirmed him.
Trump also chose Waushara County District Attorney Scott C. Blader to serve as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin. Blader has worked as district attorney in Waushara County since 2007.
He would replace John Vaudreuil, who resigned in March after Attorney General Jeff Session demanded the resignation of 46 U.S. attorneys.
Both nominations are subject to Senate confirmation.
– Erika Strebel of the Wisconsin Law Journal contributed to this article