President Trump is looking to flip the country’s infamously liberal 9th circuit court through his continued appointment of young, conservative judges.
As the Washington Examiner reports, Trump’s unprecedented rate of appointing judges to these posts has the liberal court as close as it has been to ideological balance in more than two decades.
“The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is on track to have 13 Republican appointees among its 29 full-time judges once the Senate confirms Trump’s latest nominee to the San Francisco-based court and the president fills one remaining vacancy,” the Washington Examiner reports.
The court’s 16 remaining judges were appointed by Democratic presidents.
The 13 to 16 breakdown of conservative to liberal judges is a noticeable shift from its 7 to 18 ratio when Trump first took office in January 2017. Trump inherited four court vacancies and appointed an additional two judges throughout his tenure.
Here’s more, from the report:
Now, more than two years into his first term, Trump has tapped six judges to the San Francisco-based court, which is the country’s largest federal appeals court and has been described as the most liberal. The Senate confirmed two of those nominees — Kenneth Lee and Daniel Collins — this month, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing for another 9th Circuit pick, Daniel Bress, on Wednesday.
“That kind of fortifies it in a different direction,” said Adam Feldman, founder of Empirical SCOTUS, a blog focused on the high court. “That’s the intention for sure.”
The retirement of Judge Alex Kozinski in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment, and the unexpected 2018 death of Judge Stephen Reinhardt, considered to be the “liberal lion” of the 9th Circuit, created two additional vacancies for Trump to fill.
The Empirical SCOTUS founder said the impact of the appointments may not be immediately seen, but “the sheer number of appointments is staggering.”
“But as a general matter, we see that there’s a high correlation of Republican nominees sticking together and Democratic nominees sticking together on panels and en banc votes, so the likelihood is that’s going to push the 9th Circuit further to the right,” he also said.
The conservatives appointments, should they ever obtain a majority on the court, may not necessarily push the court to be as active as its liberal majority has been, Russell Wheeler, a Brookings Institution visiting fellow claimed via the Washington Examiner.
“The real question is will they be judges on the Right like Reinhardt was on the Left — very aggressive and very liberal who works very hard to put his mark on the court — or will they be something else,” he said. “I think it’s too soon to say. If we have this conversation in 10 years, it’ll take a different course.”
Any reversal of the 9th circuit court’s jurisprudence will come of great relief to President Trump as he has been repeatedly blocked by it. The Washington Examiner adds:
A recent analysis showed the 9th Circuit has ruled against the Trump administration 29 times, more than any other federal appeals court in the country.
In 2017, the San Francisco-based court invalidatedTrump’s travel ban, which placed travel restrictions to the U.S. on five Muslim-majority countries, and last year, it blocked the Trump administration from rolling back the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Created by Obama in 2012, DACA protects immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from the threat of deportation.
The Supreme Court, however, reversed the 9th Circuit’s ruling in the travel ban case in June and upheld the president’s order.
Trump’s losing streak before the 9th Circuit has prompted him to call the court a “big thorn in our side” and “a complete and total disaster.”