President Trump may go down in history as the most judicially influential president in modern American history. His impact on the US judicial system is nearly unprecedented and the number of judges he is adding to the federal court system is only increasing.
Trump’s judicial influence is continuing into his third year in the White House as his administration just announced the nomination of 51 federal judges to circuit and appellate courts.
Here’s more on the judicial nominations, from Fox News:
Nine of the 51 appointments are for spots on prestigious and influential federal appellate benches, including two on the mostly liberal San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which President Trump has often derided as “disgraceful” and politically biased.
Neomi Rao, the president’s “regulatory czar,” who would take now-Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s vacated seat on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is on the list. Case Western University School of Law professor and Washington Post commentator Jonathan H. Adler wrote when Rao first joined the administration that “Trump’s selection of Rao suggests the administration is serious about regulatory reform, not merely reducing high-profile regulatory burdens.”
Also on the roll was Brian Buescher, for a seat as United States district judge for the District of Nebraska. In December, Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, raised concerns about the Omaha-based lawyer’s membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic service organization — prompting legal commentators to suggest the Democrats were engaging in religious discrimination.
According to the report, Buescher explained his participation with the Catholic group does not necessitate how he would vote on certain matters. Furthermore, he said the official position of the Knights of Columbus does not represent that of the individual members.
“The Knights of Columbus does not have the authority to take personal political positions on behalf of all of its approximately two million members,” Buescher said in a response to Harris. “If confirmed, I will apply all provisions of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges regarding recusal and disqualification.”
Fox News reports the Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have made judicial confirmations a priority in the new Congress.
“Because of Democrats’ unprecedented obstruction of judicial nominees, we now have significantly more vacancies than when President Trump took office,” Carrie Severino, Judicial Crisis Network chief counsel and policy director said according to Fox News.
“Senator McConnell has restated his commitment to filling the vacancies and has maintained that this is a Senate priority. It’s time for Democrats to end the bullying and smear campaigns and confirm the judges,” Severino continued.
The nominations seemed poised to quiet growing conservative unrest about the relative lack of news on appointments during the ongoing partial federal government shutdown, which commenced Dec. 22. Six new appointments to federal district courts, which are effectively trial courts, were announced by the White House last week.
Senate Democrats previously eliminated the filibuster for federal judicial nominees below the Supreme Court level during the Obama administration, meaning that each of the 51 nominees needs only a majority vote in the Senate to win confirmation.
Once they claimed their current Senate majority, Republicans, in response, eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees as well.