Arguably one of President Donald Trump’s largest — and significantly underreported — achievements so far is the number of conservative judges that have been confirmed to all levels of the federal judicial system.
With the cooperation of the Republican-controlled Senate, Trump has achieved a “historic milestone” by seeing 150 mostly conservative and originalist federal judges confirmed to lifetime seats at the district, circuit, and Supreme Court levels.
“A historic milestone”
With successful confirmation votes on six judicial nominees on Wednesday, Trump cleared the 150 mark on judicial confirmations overall since taking office little more than two and a half years ago, Bloomberg Law reported.
That total includes 105 district court nominees, 43 circuit court nominees, and, of course, two Supreme Court picks, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
In a statement released by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “I’m very pleased that the Senate has confirmed 150 federal judges thus far in President Trump’s first term. This is a historic milestone.”
“As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will continue to push through highly qualified, conservative judges at all levels of the federal courts,” Graham added. “These conservative judicial appointments will impact our nation for years to come.”
Throwing bones to Democrats
It should go without saying that the Republican chair of the Judiciary Committee, not to mention Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has played an integral role in the confirmation process. Indeed, Trump’s judiciary accomplishment was really only possible due to those senators making the confirmation of judicial nominations a top priority in the Senate.
However, it has also required a modicum of cooperation from Senate Democrats at times as well, particularly with the most recently confirmed batch of six district court nominees, which included two judges who were originally nominated by former President Barack Obama about four years ago.
Bloomberg Law reported that McConnell had previously reached a deal with Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that would see a small handful of still-waiting Obama nominees — typically from states controlled by Democrats, in this case, Maryland and Rhode Island — confirmed as a way to keep Senate Democrats from further stalling or attempting to filibuster or block Trump’s nominees.
They’re not done yet
But just because the important milestone of 150 confirmations has been reached doesn’t mean that Graham, McConnell, and Trump are finished. Attention has already shifted to the next batch of nominees who will be up for confirmation soon.
In the next group are seven nominees from New York — two of whom are old Obama nominees — which is why Schumer’s cooperation was so important. In all, an additional 19 Trump nominees have been cleared for a vote as of now, and Graham’s committee is hard at work to advance even more Trump nominees to join them.
This achievement by Trump — along with McConnell and Graham — cannot be heralded enough. The lifetime confirmations of relatively young, conservative jurists with originalist outlooks on the Constitution has shifted the judiciary system toward the right for a generation to come.