When President Trump nominated Joel Carson to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, it was a practical decision as much as a political one.
Carson, a part-time magistrate judge, was also a principal attorney at a law firm specializing in oil, gas, and energy law. There is a lot of that in the Tenth Circiut, which includes resource-rich states such as Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
The 71 Senators who confirmed his nomination can't wait to see what Carson can do. The 21 who opposed him have some concerns.
With 49 Democrats in the Senate, more than enough voted for the nominee. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, from New Mexico, were among them.
"I believe that Joel will bring New Mexico values -- integrity, compassion and respect for those with opposing viewpoints -- to the federal bench," Udall said. "These values will serve him, and New Mexico, well on the circuit court."
Some Democrats were skeptical of Caron's work representing energy companies. Most backed him, however, because of his experience.
"I look for the expertise someone brings, and he certainly brings oil and gas, public lands and environmental experience and you need that on the 10th Circuit," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who tracks judicial nominations.
Soon after the confirmation, Judge Bobby R. Baldock of the Tenth Circuit administered the oath of office to the new judge. Carson had served as a law clerk to Judge Baldock twenty years ago.
Judge Carson received his law degree from the University of New Mexico. Prior to joining the bench, he was a partner at Carson Ryan, LLC.
His chambers will be in Roswell, New Mexico. The court's primary headquarters are in Denver, Colorado.