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Trump Already Announced Amy Coney Barrett’s Successor on 7th Circuit—Here’s What You Need to Know


President Donald Trump appears to have no superstitions against counting chickens before they’re hatched; the president already announced his intent to nominate Amy Coney Barrett’s successor on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance Barrett’s nomination to a vote of the full Senate, a process that is expected to begin on Monday.

Thomas Kirsch, the current U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, was the lucky recipient of Trump’s latest judicial rose. Here’s a bit of background on likely-soon-to-be-Judge Kirsch.

Kirsch served for 7 years, from 2001 to 2008, as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Indiana. He prosecuted white-collar crimes, many of which were related to public corruption (including wire, mail, bank, tax, and healthcare fraud, racketeering, and perjury) as well as gang and drug crimes.

In 2020, Kirsch’s office handled the prosecution of Joe Stahura—mayor of Whiting for over 35 years, for spending $255,000 in campaign money on personal expenses, and his wife’s gambling habit.

Kirsch is a 1996 graduate of Indiana University and 1999 graduate of Harvard Law School.

In addition to serving as a federal prosecutor, Kirsch was a partner at the law firm Winston & Strawn, where he handled corporate investigations and complex litigation.

The seat Kirsch appears destined to fill has already been the scene of another Merrick Garland-esque situation; President Barack Obama nominated Myra Selby for the seat in January of 2016. Selby had served, since 1995, on the Indiana Supreme Court; there, she served as both the first African-American and first woman on the highest state court in Indiana. Had Selby had been confirmed to the Seventh Circuit, she’d have been the first African-American and the first woman from Indiana on that circuit court as well. Senate Republicans, however, refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Selby. After a vote on Selby’s nomination was denied, the seat eventually went to Amy Coney Barrett.

If Kirsch is confirmed as a judge on the Seventh Circuit, that would mark the 54th confirmed appellate judge during Trump’s presidency.

[Image via DOJ]

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Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos