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U.S. District Court Judge Michael A. Shipp

Judge assigned to hear Trump v. Murphy is Obama appointee

Michael Shipp worked for McGreevey, Rabner before joining federal judiciary

By David Wildstein, August 19 2020 2:47 pm

The federal judge assigned to hear a legal challenge to vote-by-mail elections filed by Donald Trump’s campaign last night is a registered Democrat who worked under three Democratic governors and was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama.

U.S. District Court Michael A. Shipp was designated to hear Trump v. Murphy, which challenges Gov. Phil Murphy’s constitutional authority to order a general election conducted almost entirely through mail-in ballots, court records show.

Shipp, 54, became an Assistant Attorney General heading the officer of Consumer Protection under Gov. James E. McGreevey in 2003.  He became counsel to Attorney General Stuart Rabner in 2007, prior to Rabner’s nomination as Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  He was a law clerk to New Jersey Supreme Court Justice James Coleman.

Later that year, Shipp became a U.S. Magistrate.

Obama nominated Shipp to the federal bench in 2012 at the suggesting of U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg.

During a vote on Shipp’s confirmation, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) sought to delay the Senate calendar with a filibuster protesting U.S. aid to Pakistan  Senate Democrats invoked cloture and Paul backed down, allowing the Senate to confirm him by a 91-1 vote.

The Paterson native is the brother of Marcel Shipp, a former NFL running back and New York Jets coach.

The Trump campaign, along with the Republican National Committee and the New Jersey Republican State Committee, filed their lawsuit on Tuesday evening.

The GOP argues that the power to change to a predominately all-VBM election rests with the state legislature, and that the executive order violates the right of New Jersey votes to vote under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“This brazen power grab was not authorized by state law and violates both the Elections Clause and Electors Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” the lawsuit says.

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