Trump Not Done Overhauling the Courts

Trump Not Done Overhauling the Courts

( – No matter the 538 members of the Electoral College’s outcome on December 14, President Trump did something few presidents in American history have achieved. He and the Republican-led Senate overhauled the liberal federal courts and turned them conservative for a decade or longer. It’s an astounding achievement that will define his legacy for generations to come.

The president’s success means the courts will serve as a vital check on a potential Biden administration and Congress and put limits on federal power. The Supreme Court could block liberal agendas, including the Green New Deal, Medicare expansion, and burdensome regulations on health care, technology, and the financial industry. The court could also force Congress to do its job instead of relying on the “administrative state” within the executive branch, which has written laws via regulations without Congressional or voters’ oversight.

Trump Overhauled the Federal Courts

In just one term, the president appointed more judges than Presidents George W. Bush or Barack Obama. He steered the Supreme Court to the right with three solid conservative confirmations to the high court, and 229 judges were appointed to the federal bench. Over two terms, Obama saw 160 judicial nominees get confirmed, Bush 204, and Bill Clinton 203. Of the 800 judges sitting on appellate and trial courts, over 25% of them are now conservative Trump appointees.

For decades, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was a thorn in the side of Republicans. The largest of the circuit courts, it covers the majority of the West. For decades, it was dominated by Democratic appointees intent on ruling against conservative policies. Not anymore. Trump nominated, and the Senate confirmed more than a third of the judges now on the court. As a result, the court is more balanced between conservative and liberal judges.

Biden Could Struggle to Make a Liberal Appointment

If one of two Republicans win re-election in the Georgia Runoff on January 5, Biden’s court agenda is in trouble. A Republican-led Senate will ensure that potential President Joe Biden could have a difficult time appointing judges. Especially ones that are to the left of center.

Biden ought to remember well. As vice president under Barack Obama, he witnessed what a Republican-led Senate can do to their judicial agenda. Not only did the Senate thwart Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, but there were also 100 empty seats on federal benches when Trump was inaugurated in January 2017.

Trump’s Not Done Yet

Despite Trump’s successes in overhauling the courts, he isn’t done yet. On Thursday, December 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on filling the appeals court vacancy created when Justice Amy Coney Barret received confirmation to the Supreme Court. Additionally, they are considering three lower trial court nominees as well.

Democrats are angry about the move. They believe all nominations should be suspended until Biden takes office on January 20, 2021. However, it appears that Republicans aren’t having it. 35 nominations are still pending on district and specialty courts.

There’s no question a Trump judge will be different than a Biden one. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said after the election that the committee would keep operating until the end of their term. Don’t be surprised if the current Senate confirms President Trump’s 35 nominees waiting to take the bench.

Whatever the election outcome, President Trump’s judicial achievements will be with America for a long time.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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