Presidents traditionally work with senators from judicial nominees' home state -- in this case, California -- to put forward judicial picks. They often seek what's known as a "blue slip," or an opinion from those senators.
But in a snub to California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, the White House announced Wednesday that Trump had nominated Patrick Bumatay, Daniel Collins and Kenneth Kiyul Lee (all from the Golden State, and reportedly all members of the conservative Federalist Society) to the influential circuit. The court, with a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against the travel ban and limits on funding to "sanctuary cities."
GOP critics have branded the court the “Nutty 9th,” in part because many of its rulings have been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Sacramento Bee reported that White House officials had been negotiating with Feinstein and Harris about the appointments earlier in the year, but the dialogue collapsed over the summer.
Any working relationship is likely only to have soured further after Harris and Feinstein led the charge on the Senate Judiciary Committee against the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In particular, Trump and Republicans accused Feinstein of withholding information about an allegation of sexual assault against Kavanaugh until after the hearings were over. Both Feinstein and Harris voted against Kavanaugh's nomination, joined by all but one Democratic senator.