While Democrats criticize Donald Trump for firing staffers and lagging on filling Cabinet positions, the president is outpacing his predecessor by far when it comes to early nominations for the federal bench.
Judicial nominations have kept Trump in the favor of many conservatives who have been skeptical of the unorthodox Republican.
Trump is moving at what Business Insider calls “a breakneck pace” in filling vacant US attorney positions and and nominating federal judges — with nearly all the positions he’s filled being lifelong seats.
Business Insider reports:
“This will be the single most important legacy of the Trump administration,” Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Business Insider. “They will quickly be able to put judges on circuit courts all over the country, district courts all over the country, that will, given their youth and conservatism, will have a significant impact on the shape and trajectory of American law for decades.
“I do think this deserves more attention given the consequence, the significance of what will eventually be a wholesale change among the federal judiciary,” he continued.
While only three of Trump’s nominees for the federal bench, aside from Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, have been confirmed by the Judiciary Committee to date, the sheer number of nominees he has sent to the committee — both for federal judgeships and US attorney slots — is staggering.
During Trump’s first six months in office, he nominated 18 people for district judgeship vacancies, 14 for circuit court and the Court of Federal Claims positions, and 23 for US attorney positions.
In the amount of time that Trump nominated 55 individuals, Obama had nominated just 22.
Nominations, though, still have to be confirmed by the Senate, and leftists are busy trying to block judicial nominees.
The Washington Examiner reports:
Here’s just one example why: On Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled that the board of commissioners in Jackson County, Mich. — represented by First Liberty Institute, a non-profit law firm that deals with religious liberty issues — may open its meetings with invocations. In two cases, the Supreme Court found invocations before government meetings to be constitutional and historically common, but this case still faced a tenuous battle. (In another similar case in Rowan County, N.C., the Fourth Circuit ruled against the Rowan County commissioners in a split 10-5 vote.)
The types of cases these federal judges hear affect important facets of our lives — religious freedom, freedom of speech, or the right to bear arms, to name a few essential liberties. The people Trump nominates for these positions, which the Senate must confirm, are often the only people standing between freedom and another legal fight to preserve them.
This is why it’s so egregious that people such as Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., would block the nomination of qualified judges (from his own state!) such as Justice David Stras. While Franken’s strategy for failing to send in his blue slip is exactly the reason why conservatives want Stras on a federal bench — because he would be an excellent judge in a pivotal role — it makes him no less qualified, but rather proves how important of a pawn he is in the political game for freedoms politicians like to play.
A “blue slip” is the support of both senators in the state where the nomination rests. The Senate will generally not confirm any judicial or US attorney nominee without it.
Trump knows this. His 55 nominations have mostly gone to states with two Republican senators. 30 of them, to be exact.
Circuit court or Court of Federal Claims vacancies, however, may be an exception to the rule.
Business Insider continues:
In states with two Republican senators, Trump has made 30 of his 55 nominations. In states with two Democratic senators, he has nominated five. And four of those are for circuit court or Court of Federal Claims openings, positions for which Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said the blue-slip rule is not quite as important in comparison to district judgeships.
A White House official told Business Insider that the Trump administration was “working with and extensively consulting all senators nationwide in order to complete the nomination process,” adding that it was “committed to filling all the US attorney and judicial vacancies as quickly as possible.”
So, as many a Republican is pressed by the Left, “Was Gorsuch worth it?” Potentially.
But Trump’s lower level judges, also responsible for ensuring liberty across the country, really seal the deal.