By Isabel Van Brugen
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Dec. 22 accused the media of being so “obsessed” with the impeachment of President Donald Trump that it hasn’t highlighted the confirmation of 13 of the president’s conservative judges.
Rubio made the remarks on Twitter after Senators confirmed 13 of Trump’s judicial nominees last week, bringing to 102 the number of federal judges approved this year—more than twice the annual average over the past three decades.
The president’s appointments have flipped three circuit courts—including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York—to majority GOP-appointed judges, the Washington Post reported.
Media obsessed with Dem impeaching @POTUS & ignored GOP Senate confirming 13 more judges this week alone.
Impeachment is better for ratings, but what is going to matter more & longer?
A partisan impeachment?
Or 187 judges including 1/4 of appellate courts?
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 22, 2019
“Media obsessed with Dem impeaching @POTUS & ignored GOP Senate confirming 13 more judges this week alone,” Rubio wrote on Sunday, accusing the media of using the impeachment for better ratings.
“Impeachment is better for ratings, but what is going to matter more & longer? A partisan impeachment? Or 187 judges, including 1/4 of appellate courts? Happy Sunday!”
In Trump’s first three years in office, he has installed 187 judges to the federal bench, with 25 percent of circuit court judges now Trump appointees and confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, the Post reported.
With the confirmation of Judge Barbara Lagoa to the Eleventh Circuit, President Trump has now transformed three of the nation’s federal appellate courts from Democrat-appointed majorities to Republican-appointed majorities. This is a major achievement for his presidency.
— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) November 20, 2019
The steady transformation of the courts reflects the single-minded focus of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has vowed publicly to “leave no vacancy behind” as he and Trump seek to tilt the judicial branch to the right.
McConnell’s 53-to-47 Senate majority has enabled him to quickly fill openings and reshape the federal judiciary as per his mantra.
“I’ve always heard, actually, that when you become President, the most—single most important thing you can do is federal judges,” the president said at a White House event in November.
Christopher Kang, chief counsel at Demand Justice, a liberal advocacy group, told the Associated Press the confirmation of 13 additional federal judges last week remains “the most underrated story of the Trump era.”
“While all eyes were understandably on impeachment, Mitch McConnell’s conveyor belt churned out a shocking number of judges this week,” he said.
McConnell was praised on social media for his achievements.
🚨🎄: You didn’t think @SenateMajLdr would leave town without confirming more judges, did you?
Supreme Court: 2
Circuit courts: 50
District courts: 133
U.S. Court of International Trade: 2
Grand Total: 187
Merry Christmas America! pic.twitter.com/26xIBaHjke
— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) December 20, 2019
“You didn’t think @senatemajldr would leave town without confirming more judges, did you?” the Senate Republican Communications Center wrote on Twitter on Dec. 20, sharing a list of the judges confirmed since 2017 … Merry Christmas, America.”
In a statement on Dec. 19, Rubio applauded the Senate confirmation of Anuraag “Raag” Singhal, who was appointed as a federal district court judge for the Southern District of Florida.
Rubio said Singhal’s appointment is “proof” that the Senate is “committed to filling judicial vacancies with President Trump’s well-qualified nominees.”
“Judge Singhal has lived and worked in Florida for 30 years, and he has extensive experience in the courtroom as both an attorney and a judge. He is committed to honoring professionalism, honesty, integrity, and ethics in his work and in the community, and I am confident he will exhibit and exercise those qualities on the federal bench.”
McConnell’s push to fill vacancies now has been pushed forward by the calendar, with no guarantee that a Republican will be in the White House come January 2021, according to Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.
McConnell “is moving nominees as quickly as he can (through the Senate), just in case Trump loses in 2020,″ Tobias told the Associated Press.
Under Trump and McConnell, “Republicans have packed the appeals courts with very conservative judges,″ with a particular emphasis on nominees under the age of 50, Tobias added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.