President Donald Trump promised to stack the courts with conservative, Constitutional judges.
And he’s doing just that.
During protests and riots around the country, the commander in chief has been quietly making lifetime appointments to fill more than 100 vacancies on federal courts.
With five judges confirmed, another 30 pending and 123 seats left to fill, according to one group tracking the numbers, Trump has the opportunity to revamp the judiciary branch and carve out a legacy for himself that could stand the test of time.
“It can’t be overstated the impact the individuals he’s appointing will have on millions of people across the country and their children for a generation or two,” said Dan Goldberg, legal director at the liberal Alliance for Justice.
“The Supreme court only hears about 80 cases a year. 99 percent of cases end in the federal courts of appeal or at the trial level.”
Trump’s biggest achievement in office so far has been the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, for whom Republicans changed the Senate rules to proceed to a confirmation vote with a simple majority.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court seat, Merrick Garland, after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 — has repeatedly pointed to Gorsuch to rebut accusations that the GOP Congress has achieved little under Trump.
“Well, we have a new Supreme Court justice,” McConnell said when asked how he’d explain to voters the party’s failure to repeal ObamaCare this summer.
“We have 14 repeals of regulations. And we’re only six months into it. Last time I looked, Congress goes on for two years.”
While another appointment to the high court in Trump’s presidency is possible or even likely, given the ages of several justices, it’s appointments to the lower district and circuit courts where the president is likely to have a bigger impact.
Ilya Shapiro, a member of the conservative Federalist Society and senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, said only one of the 13 federal circuit courts had a majority of judges appointed by Democrats when Obama took office.
When Obama left office, nine of the 13 courts had a majority of Democratic appointed judges, Shapiro said.
The Senate has already confirmed two of Trump’s judicial nominees to the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: Kentucky natives Amul Thapar and John Bush.
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