On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced his list of nominees to fill five vacancies for federal courts in the state of Texas. One of those nominees is a former Travis County prosecutor, while two others have ties to a Christian legal advocacy group called the First Liberty Institute.

The nominees, all of which were recommended to Trump by the Texas’s Republican senators, would fill half of the vacancies in the state that have been open for the past one to six years. The vacancies were also designated as being judicial emergencies due to the strain that the vacancies have placed upon the legal system in the state.

The nominees named by Trump include two who were previously nominated by former President Barack Obama. This includes Walter David Counts III, a Midland U.S. magistrate judge whose appointment expired due to not receiving a vote in the Senate last year.

Counts was a Travis County assistant district attorney prior to becoming a San Antonio-based federal prosecutor. From there, he became the deputy chief of the major crimes unit and was also appointed to serve as the federal judge in Midland to take the place of U.S. District Judge Robert Junell after Junell attained senior status 2 ½ years ago.

Counts also serves as a judge advocate in the Texas National Guard, where is he also a colonel as well. He also previously served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Counts previously attended St. Mary’s University, which is where he obtained his degree to practice law.

Before Counts can officially take the bench and serve, he must first be confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, then by the full United States Senate.

Thank you for stopping by Gabriella Young’s blog, an Austin criminal defense attorney. We write about current events and news in Austin, Texas.