President Trump has had quite a struggle getting Congress to work together and pass bills promised to voters. However, recent efforts have completely removed the hurdles the President might face in regards to judicial nominees.
CNBC is calling it “one of the biggest victories any president could claim in the past 45 years.” Thanks to Senate rules, President Trump is completely revamping the federal judiciary, filling it with conservative judges — and Democrats can’t stop him.
His unprecedented authority comes as a result of two US Senators’ efforts.
Last week, Senator and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), waived the “blue slip courtesy,” the term coining the Senate tradition of holding hearings when a judicial nominee isn’t approved by the senators of their own state. By forgoing the tradition, Sen. Grassley effectively removed the hurdles slowing President Trump’s federal judicial appointments.
Sen. Grassley stated that Democrats were using the “blue slip courtesy” as a replacement of the filibuster in a final measure to block a confirmation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also criticized the Democrats’ abuse of the tradition, saying that doing so allowed Democrats to decide over 60 percent of appeals court nominees. “That’s simply not a tenable place to land in a Senate that now deals with judges with a simple majority,” Mr. McConnell said.
Sen. Grassley, a popular critic of President Trump, was expected to keep the tradition in place. He defied expectations and eliminated the tradition, paving the way for President Trump to “fill the most federal judiciary vacancies in 40 years.”
The now-retired senator once revered by Democrats, Harry Reid, is coming under fire. Senate Majority Leader Reid got rid of the filibuster rule for judicial nominations in 2013. At the time, his decision made Republicans powerless to stop President Obama’s judicial nominations. Now, Democrats are the ones powerless to stop President Trump’s judicial nominations.
President Trump is now tasked with filling the most federal judicial vacancies in 40 years. The number is twice as high as what President Obama faced in 2009. The administration has been fast at work to fill these vacancies.
In the first nine months of President Trump’s administration, 13 of his judicial nominees have been confirmed. Along with Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, that number includes eight federal appeals court judges and four US district court judges. This is the highest number of judicial confirmations made in the first year of an administration when compared to the last four presidents.
On the campaign trail, President Trump promised to return to Constitutional and conservative values, and that his appointments to the federal judiciary would reflect that. He famously released a list of Supreme Court nominees to the public for his voters to analyze. The list was compiled after discussions with leadership in The Federalist Society, a group of 70,000 federal judges, lawyers, and both professors and students of law — all dedicated to the Constitution. Federalist Society member and White House counsel, Donald McGahn, said that releasing such a list “had never been done before.”
During a speech at a Federalist Society meeting, McGahn told the crowd, “I’m very fortunate to serve a president who is very committed to what we are committed to here, which is nominating and appointing judges who are committed originalists and textualists.” The crowd responded with cheers and applause, indicating that they, too, believe President Trump’s goal.
Conservatives can rest easy knowing that President Trump can now appoint an unprecedented number of traditional conservative federal judges who will stay true to Constitutional principles.