Trevor N. McFadden

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Trevor McFadden
McFadden Trevor.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Assumed office
October 31, 2017
Appointed byDonald Trump
Preceded byRichard J. Leon
Personal details
Born (1978-06-28) June 28, 1978 (age 42)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
EducationWheaton College (B.A.)
University of Virginia School of Law (J.D.)

Trevor Neil McFadden (born June 28, 1978) is an American attorney and jurist who serves as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Previously, he was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.


McFadden received his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from Wheaton College in Illinois, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review.

He served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and as counsel to the United States Deputy Attorney General. He also has extensive experience as a law enforcement officer, having served as both a Deputy Sheriff in the Madison County Sheriff's Office and as a police officer with the Fairfax County Police Department.[1]

McFadden clerked for Judge Steven Colloton on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He was previously a partner in the Compliance, Investigations & Government Enforcement Group in the Washington, D.C. office of Baker McKenzie, where he represented clients in white collar matters, including Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations, anti-money laundering compliance work, and U.S. trade compliance matters.[2][3]

Before becoming a judge, McFadden served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.[2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

On June 7, 2017, President Trump nominated McFadden to serve as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, to the seat vacated by Judge Richard J. Leon, who took senior status on December 31, 2016.[4] A hearing on his nomination before the Senate Judiciary Committee was held on June 28, 2017.[5] On July 20, 2017, his nomination was reported out of committee by voice vote.[6] On October 30, 2017, the United States Senate voted 84–10 in favor of his confirmation.[7] He received his judicial commission on October 31, 2017.

Judicial tenure[edit]

On April 23, 2019, the House of Representatives requested that McFadden issue a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's plan to spend about $6 billion from military construction and counter-drug accounts to build additional barriers along the U.S-Mexico border.[8][9] On June 3, 2019, he issued a ruling that the House lacked standing and, therefore, the Court lacked jurisdiction. This ruling contradicted the Northern District of California's May 24, 2019, ruling on this case as well as a 2015 D.C. District Court ruling that found the Republican House of Representatives had standing in a lawsuit against President Obama's Affordable Care Act in United States House of Representatives v. Azar.[10]

Congressman Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has litigated to obtain Trump's tax returns, but McFadden has ruled other matters should be litigated prior to any such release. Trump's attorneys moved to dismiss the case, arguing congressional investigatory power is nonexistent. Should McFadden rule for the committee's request, Trump's attorneys claim further that Neal's proffered legislative purpose—oversight of mandatory presidential tax audits—is merely a pretext for securing and publicizing Trump's IRS 1040s forms.[11]

McFadden was assigned to rule on a subpoena hearing in a case regarding a Russian businessman named in the Steele dossier who sued Buzzfeed News for libel for publishing the dossier. Fusion GPS, the research firm which had commissioned the dossier and to whom the subpoenas have been issued, requested that McFadden step down from the case for potential conflict of interest. Fusion GPS alleges that McFadden's connections to Trump—a $1,000 donation to Trump's 2016 campaign, some volunteer work performed by McFadden on Trump's transition team vetting potential Cabinet nominees, and the fact that Trump nominated McFadden to the bench—are grounds for dismissal. McFadden denied the recusal request. McFadden noted that he has little to no actual connection to the President, who is not a party to the lawsuit but has political interest in the suit, and has never even met the President. McFadden ruled "The President's connection with me and his interest in this case are simply too tenuous to cause a reasonable observer to question my impartiality." Hofstra University law professor James Sample, an authority on the subject of recusal, said that while he found some of the McFadden's contentions "curious," recusal did not appear to be required.[12][13][14]


He has been a member of the Federalist Society since 2003.[15]


  1. ^ Schneier, Cogan (June 7, 2017). "Trump Taps Trio of DOJers for DC Judge Nominees". The National Law Journal. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Severino, Carrie (June 8, 2017). "Who is Trevor McFadden?". National Review. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  3. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Judicial Candidate Nominations". The White House.
  4. ^ "Twelve Nominations Sent to the Senate Today". The White House.
  5. ^ "Nominations | United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary".
  6. ^ "Results of Executive Business Meeting – July 20, 2017, Senate Judiciary Committee" (PDF).
  7. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress - 1st Session".
  8. ^ Gerstein, Josh. "House asks judge to halt Trump border wall funding". POLITICO. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  9. ^ full text (Case No. 1:19-cv-00969): pdf
  10. ^ Hsu, Spencer (June 3, 2019). "Judge rejects House suit to block transfer of billions of dollars for Trump border wall". Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  11. ^ A Bit of Impeachment-um for Tax Return Quest?, Western Mass Politics and Insight, October 2, 2019. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  12. ^ Trump-appointed judge who donated to campaign refuses to recuse himself from dossier matter, ABC News, February 22, 2018, Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  13. ^ Gerstein, Josh. "Trump-appointed judge won't recuse from dossier case". POLITICO. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  14. ^ Gerstein, Josh. "Fusion GPS: Trump-appointed judge has conflicts, should recuse". POLITICO. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  15. ^ "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: Questionnaire for Judicial Nominees: Trevor N. McFadden" (PDF).

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard J. Leon
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia