President Donald Trump has gotten 84 of his judges confirmed, even with persistent gridlock in Congress.
Trump’s judiciary still has a 14 percent vacancy and it’s going to be much harder for him to grind through Democrat obstruction if Republicans fail to win the House of Representatives on November 6th.
The Associated Press noted that he is only third in judicial appointments at this point in the presidency.
AP reported: “Even with two years remaining in office, Trump has a long way to go to name 50 percent of the judges in the federal courts. His appointees now occupy roughly 10 percent of the judicial seats authorized by Congress. That’s compared to 28 percent for Kennedy and 15 percent for Clinton at the 21-month mark. Presidentially appointed federal judgeships are lifetime appointments.”
Trump is on a roll. But the roll needs to continue.
But things are looking up in a couple of different ways. First, the overall confirmation pace has markedly improved in the last few months. The three-month total of 39 confirmations during August-October was exceeded only five times since 1949. As their arbitrary and unprecedented obstruction tactics have been exposed, Democrats have used them less. As a result, Trump is now slightly ahead of the average confirmation pace of his five predecessors at the same point in their presidencies.
Second, the decision by Trump and Senate Republican leaders to prioritize filling vacancies on the U.S. Courts of Appeals is working. Trump has already appointed more appeals-court judges than any new president in history, with at least a few more expected by the end of the year.
When the Senate reconvenes after the election, we will know what the partisan landscape will look like in the 116th Congress, which begins on January 3. There will still be work to do, however, because 32 judicial nominees are on the full Senate’s docket, and another 22 are ready for Judiciary Committee hearings or approval. That would make Trump’s first two years a real judicial confirmation triumph.
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