Full Court Press: Trump Still Appointing Judges


One of President Donald Trump's strongest legacies is how he has reshaped the federal judiciary with a record number of judicial appointments. That process has not ended, even in the chaotic aftermath of the election. As he continues to challenge the election results in several states, the president has also continued to make judicial appointments, which the Senate continues to take up. In fact, a new batch of Trump nominees is up for consideration in the Senate this week.

Regardless of when President Trump leaves office, his legacy in the area of judicial appointments is already secure. "President Trump has already appointed more than a quarter of the federal circuit judges," says Ilya Shapiro, author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America's Highest Court. "During his presidency, three geographic circuits have now flipped from Democratic to Republican-appointed majorities, and the Ninth Circuit---famously the most liberal court in the country---is no longer, it's much closer, it's almost tied."

Of course, President Trump has also had three Supreme Court nominees--an unusually high number for a president in only one term. But Shapiro tells KTRH that while Supreme Court nominations get most of the attention, the lower court nominees can have a greater impact on everyday life. "Trump's makeover of the federal courts represents a big shift in terms of jurisprudence on a host of issues, but mostly run-of-the-mill issues, not necessarily these very hyper-politicized things," he says.

And with lifetime appointments, all of these judges will maintain Trump's influence long after he leaves office. Shapiro points out that a key federal ruling just a few years ago came from a judge appointed by President Lyndon Johnson. "Judges that presidents appoint live on and have an effect on legal policy decades after the president who appointed them has departed the White House," he says.


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