Matt Schlapp: Trump's federal court legacy — how these judges will make a difference

By Matt Schlapp | Fox News

The lasting impact of these appointments to the federal court cannot be overstated.

With a 52-48 Senate vote to confirm Cory Wilson to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, President Trump has now placed 200 federal judges on the bench — a legacy that will outlast the Trump administration for generations to come.

No modern president has had a greater impact on the federal court system than Trump. The president, with the support of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and a Republican Senate, has fundamentally shifted the balance of judicial power into the hands of conservative judges.

The lasting impact of these appointments to the federal court cannot be overstated. Some 108 of these vacancies were inherited from the Obama-Biden administration.


For far too long, activist judges have attempted to legislate from the bench, resulting in a shift away from originalism and the rule of law. President Trump’s forward momentum and prioritization of judicial appointments have filled these vacancies at a historic rate.

Recent Supreme Court decisions highlight the need for rule-of-law justices who refuse to bow down to political pressure and leftist ideology. Unfortunately, a number of Supreme Court Justices act more like senators than judges.

Take Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a man I had the pleasure of working closely with at the White House from 2001-2004 where I witnessed first-hand the strength of his character and understanding of American Jurisprudence.

When an all-out smear campaign unfairly threatened to upend Kavanaugh’s slam-dunk Supreme Court nomination, Trump displayed an incredible amount of courage and wisdom by standing by the now-Supreme Court justice.

A weaker president would have caved to the lies and outrage mob.

Trump’s prudent decision to nominate and stick by Kavanaugh was not only a testament to the president’s character, but also a move that shifted the court toward textualism and originalism, and away from irresponsible judicial activism.

The president understands and respects the importance of nominating judges who strive to interpret the law as written, regardless of their own personal philosophy.

This is critical when it comes to the federal bench, where judges are afforded lifetime tenure to protect them from political pressures, in exchange for upholding their oath to the rule of law.

It is not the role of judges to legislate from the bench, no matter the public pressure to rule a certain way. It’s a fundamental pillar of American democracy — the legislative branch makes law, and the judicial branch is to interpret said law as written, not as they wish to see it.

It’s not just that Trump appointed more judges than the Obama-Biden White House — his judges are also widely seen as better qualified.

It has been my long-held belief that conservatives of character on the federal bench, and especially on the Supreme Court, are our constitutional chaperones. They remind us that no matter the issue of the day or flavor of the month — the role of the courts is to simply apply the rule of law and determine the constitutionality of the issue before them.

Trump understands this. That’s why he has appointed judges at such a rapid pace. By contrast, the Obama-Biden White House confirmed only 55 circuit court judges in all of their eight years in office.

Trump has appointed the second-highest number of federal judges through June 1 of a president’s fourth year in office, following through on a promise to “leave no vacancy behind.”

To underscore, the president has appointed federal judges at a 30 percent faster rate than Obama and appellate judges at a 73 percent faster rate than Obama.

The average age of Trump’s circuit court judge appointees is less than 50 years old, which is about 10 years younger than Obama’s circuit court nominees. Now, that is not a knock against age and wisdom, but the fact of the matter is that these judges will be around for generations.

Not only did the president solidify a conservative majority on the Supreme Court with Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, but he also flipped the majority for Republicans on three federal circuit courts — which have the final say on a majority of federal cases.

It’s not just that Trump appointed more judges than the Obama-Biden White House — his judges are also widely seen as better qualified.

Some 40 percent of President Trump’s appellate nominees clerked for a Supreme Court justice, and about 80 percent clerked on a federal court of appeals, while less than a quarter of Obama’s nominees clerked for the Supreme Court, and less than half had a federal appellate clerkship. Even the anti-Trump outlet Vox admitted that, “the average Trump appointee has a far more impressive resume than any past president’s nominees.”

This is simply the latest example of Trump following through on his campaign promise to appoint conservative judges. The president understands and appreciates the institutional meaning of the judiciary in American society.

In the words of Vox, “There is simply no recent precedent for one president having such a transformative impact on the courts.”

For the first time in at least 40 years, there is not a single court vacancy anywhere in the nation. One of President Trump’s crowning achievements will be his impact on America’s courts by leading a much-needed shift toward a common-sense, conservative, rule-of-law perspective.

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