Trump approaches key milestone with latest judicial appointments

November 6, 2019

While President Donald Trump has achieved many things during his time in office thus far, the accomplishment that has been arguably the most far-reaching and potentially longest-lasting is the substantial number of judicial appointees he has seen confirmed to federal courts across the nation.

In fact, Fox News reported that Trump is on the verge of reaching a significant milestone in that his nominees will soon comprise roughly one-quarter of all federal judges at the appellate level, with his picks notably making up about one-third of the once-staunchly liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Transformational tenure

Of the 179 judges who sit on the federal appellate courts across the nation, 43 of them have been appointed by President Trump and confirmed by the Republican-led Senate, an accomplishment for which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell deserves a share of the credit.

There are currently four vacancies in the appeals courts, and another five seats are expected to be vacated soon by retirements, and Trump undoubtedly has already made his selections for McConnell and the Senate to confirm for those open spots.

To be sure, a number of Trump’s appointees have simply replaced judges previously nominated by a Republican president, but many of his picks have replaced more liberal jurists appointed to the courts by Democrat presidents.

Most significant of all has been the substantial transformation of the Ninth Circuit — famously dubbed the “Ninth Circus” by Rush Limbaugh, according to The Washington Post — which has historically been filled with extremely liberal judges nominated by Democrats.

Trump has already seen six of his judicial appointments confirmed to that court, has a seventh nominee currently going through the confirmation process for a vacant seat, and has two more seats on the court that will soon become vacant. Once all is said and done, he will have replaced nine of the 29 judges on that panel with conservative, originalist judges who respect the Constitution instead of using the bench to impose the left’s agenda.

Campaign promise kept

Carrie Severino, policy director for the Judicial Crisis Network, told Fox News of what Trump was about to accomplish: “This is an exciting milestone for the president.”

She described his judicial appointees as being “exceptional” in regard to their originalist views and independence from ideological agendas, noting: “That’s the kind of judge America wants.”

Severino also pointed out that Trump’s potential ability to select such judges for lifetime appointments to the bench was a big part of why voters elected him in 2016. Indeed, reshaping the court system with more conservative-leaning and originalist judges was one of Trump’s main campaign promises, as was noted by Mike Davis of The Article III Project, a group that has assisted in the confirmation of Trump’s nominees.

“President Trump has delivered on his promise to American voters,” Davis said, specifically noting the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and “an all-time-record number of circuit judges to the critically important federal courts of appeals.”

Trump will certainly reach this impending milestone in terms of appellate court appointments in the near future, and if he is re-elected to a second term in office, it is not inconceivable that he could end up being responsible for the appointment of anywhere from one-third to one-half of all of those consequential judges by the time he eventually leaves office.


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Ben Marquis

Ben Marquis is a staff writer for Conservative Institute.