Trump’s Rebuilding of the US Appeals Courts Continues
A couple of months ago I posted a story titled Despite Chaos Trump Is Reshaping The Federal Judiciary. In it I pointed out that while an unbelievable amount of energy is being focused on Donald Trump’s latest Twitter utterance, virtually no attention is being directed at his very successful campaign to stuff the federal judiciary with young, extremely intelligent and Federalist Society approved jurists.
This week, Trump will add four more young and conservative judges to the federal appellate courts:
This week is perhaps the high-water mark of the GOP’s judicial confirmation operation, an aggressive effort to pack the federal bench with young conservative jurists. Four confirmations to federal appeals courts are expected by Friday, while the Senate Judiciary Committee convenes to clear or vet yet more appointees.
The confirmation bonanza resulted from a concerted push from conservative groups, including The Heritage Foundation and the Judicial Confirmation Network, to quicken the pace of confirmations, fearing Senate Republicans would squander the opportunity to confirm federal judges as the GOP struggles to navigate the mire of its own internal divisions.
Stephanos Bibas, Third Circuit
Allison Eid, Tenth Circuit
Joan Larsen, Sixth Circuit
Amy Coney Barrett, Seventh Circuit
This one was particularly sweet. Amy Coney Barrett is an orthodox Catholic and mother of seven. Both the Senate Democrats and the New York Times campaigned against her because she actually lives her faith and sought to turn the First Amendment on its head by saying she was too faithful to serve on an Appeals Court.
While the anti-Trump right has made a decision to simply ignore what is being done on this front, the progressive left has not:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is finally giving conservative groups what they want: a huge push on judicial confirmations.
McConnell has teed up votes this week on four of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. That’s an incredible amount of activity on judges in one week. For some comparison, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) typically scheduled a vote on one nominee per week, at most.
“I never remember the Democrats ever doing anything comparable,” Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor and an expert on judicial nominations, told HuffPost on Monday.
With little fanfare, this week is shaping up to be one of Republicans’ biggest boosts to Trump’s agenda since Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed in April.
All four nominees are young (in their late 40s and early 50s), conservative and up for a lifetime post on a U.S. circuit court ― one level below the Supreme Court. None got a single Democratic vote when they were reported out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Two were recommended to Trump directly by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, both right-wing think tanks.
“If all goes according to McConnell’s plan, by week’s end the Senate will have confirmed 13 Trump judges, including a [Michigan State] Supreme Court Justice and eight judges to the courts of appeals,” wrote Kyle Barry, policy counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF), in a Medium post on Tuesday.
“These nominees’ collective records reveal the disturbing truth that this administration does not just tolerate radical anti-equality views among its judicial nominees, but requires them,” LDF’s Kyle Barry argued.
“Rather than change his policies or passing legislation, President Trump is seeking to pack the courts with extremists,” Gupta of The Leadership Conference added in a statement. “Senate Republicans are shirking their independent constitutional role by rubber stamping these nominees.”
Sen. Elizabeth WarrenIn a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) echoed the critiques of rights groups and slammed the aggressive judicial push as part of a broader effort by Trump and the GOP to “make government work better and better for the rich and the powerful.”
“We have two justice systems in America—one for the rich and powerful and one for everyone else,” Warren said. “Part of the way we fix that problem is by making sure that we put judges on the federal bench who are fair, impartial, and committed to dispensing equal justice under law….Rejecting judicial nominees who will make it worse is a really good first step.”
She doesn’t do the Tomahawk-chop but she gets damned close:
This is the long-term game-changer. Each of these appointees will have about 30 years on the bench to defend our rights and shape the future of American jurisprudence. You can deride Trump as a Manhattan liberal all you wish but in nine months he’s done more for a conservative judiciary most Republican presidents did in their entire tenure.