Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised now that the impeachment trial is over, the Senate will be moving forward to approve more of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees.
“With the impeachment trial behind us, we can now get back to the business of the American people,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on Tuesday.
“We’re continuing to renew our federal judiciary with thoroughly-qualified men and women who understand that a judge’s job is to interpret our laws and our Constitution as they were actually written,” the Kentucky Republican added.
The state of our union is strong and there’s plenty for the Senate to do to keep up this momentum for the American people.
We’ll start this week by confirming more of President Trump’s well-qualified nominees to lifetime judicial appointments. pic.twitter.com/atWKYFOqBI
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) February 11, 2020
Trump has successfully appointed more judges to the federal bench than any of the last six presidents at this point in their administrations, according to the Heritage Foundation’s Judicial Appointment Tracker.
With the confirmation of Judge Andrew Brasher to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday and four other district court judges Wednesday, Trump’s overall federal bench tally stands at 192.
The next closest among recent presidents was Bill Clinton, who had appointed 188 at the same juncture in his first term.
By way of further comparison, Barack Obama had successfully seated just 126 judges, of which 25 were at the circuit court level. In that category, Trump beats all comers among recent chief executives with 51, compared with Clinton’s 33 and Obama’s 25.
During his entire eight years in office, Obama only sat 55 judges on circuit courts, which are just below the U.S. Supreme Court.
“My motto for the year is ‘leave no vacancy behind,’” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday morning.
“That includes district courts as well,” he said. “So, we’re a long way from being finished with doing court confirmations this year.”
Thomas Jipping — a senior legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation and former chief legal counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee — told The Western Journal, “Majority Leader McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman [Lindsey] Graham appear determined to continue this robust confirmation pace and make more progress toward properly staffing the judiciary.”
“President Trump has appointed more judges at this point than all but one president in history, and done so in the face of an unprecedented resistance campaign,” Jipping noted.
Former President Jimmy Carter appointed 195 compared with Trump’s 192, though the rules of the road were different back then, according to the legal expert.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has forced cloture votes on 148 of Trump’s nominees, slowing down the final vote by at least two or three legislative days.
None of Carter’s appointees faced a cloture vote when the Republicans were in the minority during his presidency, Jipping told The Western Journal.
He highlighted that it is not because Trump’s picks lack the background to serve on the bench.
“Two-thirds of his nominees have been rated ‘Well Qualified’ by the liberal American Bar Association, compared to 64.5 percent of President Obama’s nominees at this point,” Jipping said.
In a recent Vox Op-Ed, liberal columnist Ian Millhiser conceded that Trump is appointing qualified jurists.
“It’s tempting to assume that Trump’s judicial appointees share the goonish incompetence of the man who placed them on the bench, but this assumption could not be more wrong,” he wrote.
“His picks include leading academics, Supreme Court litigators, and already prominent judges who now enjoy even more power within the judiciary,” Millhiser said.
Marge Baker, who serves as executive vice president of liberal People for the American Way, lamented the “alarming milestone” the president reached this week with his most recent addition to the 11th Circuit.
“With this confirmation of Andrew Brasher, Donald Trump has now appointed half of the judges on the Eleventh Circuit, which serves Alabama, Georgia and Florida,” Baker said in a statement.
Fox News reported that Trump flipped the court to majority Republican appointees in November. So Brasher’s addition makes the advantage two seats.
Mike Davis — president of the Article III Project, a nonprofit fighting for the confirmation of Trump’s judicial nominees, and former chief counsel for nominations to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley — praised the president’s judicial makeover.
Brass knuckles aren't free, so please donate to A3P. Join the fight to confirm President @realDonaldTrump's judicial nominees — and help us prepare for the next Supreme Court vacancy. https://t.co/BdqMzRUV4I https://t.co/hoFJs6dnUJ
— The Article III Project (A3P) (@Article3Project) May 18, 2019
“President Trump has done a phenomenal job at appointing a record number of judges to the federal judiciary, despite unprecedented obstruction by Senate Democrats and their left-wing allies,” he told The Western Journal.
Davis predicted a second Trump term could mean up to four additional Supreme Court picks, thereby adding to the two he has already appointed: Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
He noted the president has already flipped the 2nd, 3rd, and 11th Circuits from majority Democrat-appointed judges to Republican.
Trump has also narrowed the gap from 11 more Democrat appointees on the ultra-liberal 9th Circuit to just a three-seat advantage among the 29 judges.
Davis said he believes in addition to the 9th, the 4th and 1oth Circuit Courts would likely flip in a Trump second term.
Currently, more than one out of every four circuit judges serving nationwide is a Trump appointee.