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Senate confirms avalanche of Trump-backed judges despite impeachment – New York Post

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Senate confirms avalanche of Trump-backed judges despite impeachment – New York Post

December 21, 2019 | 4:40pm

Re-order in the courts!

As House Democrats try to force President Trump out of office, Senate Republicans have been plowing ahead with his plan to transform the federal judiciary.

A record number of judicial confirmations is cementing one of Trump’s central campaign pledges — and will reverberate for decades, even if impeachment pulls the plug on his presidency.

When Trump took office, nine of the nation’s 13 circuit courts were dominated by Democratic appointees. Now, seven of them have Republican majorities.

Trump has had 50 of his circuit-court judges confirmed — far more than any other recent president at this point in their first terms. President Barack Obama managed just half that number, 25, in the same time frame.

Altogether, 187 Trump-nominated federal judges have been confirmed by the Senate — outpacing the 169 new judges named by George W. Bush and the 166 brought on board by Bill Clinton in their first three years.

Senators approved two Trump nominees, Patrick Bumatay and Lawrence VanDyke, for seats on Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 10 and 11 as the House Judiciary Committee tussled over the phrasing of its impeachment articles.

And last week, as House Democrats voted to impeach Trump, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed 13 district court judges through the Senate.

“The pace is dramatic,” McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt Wednesday. “My motto for the remainder of this Congress is ‘leave no vacancy behind.’”

At the same time, the Senate’s efforts are giving Trump’s base reason to remain in his corner.

“Conservatives believe that the courts have been weaponized by the left. This issue has really ignited them,” Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network told The Post.

Lawrence VanDyke
Lawrence VanDykeAP

“The judicial confirmations have been Trump’s greatest achievement, as far as conservatives are concerned,” Cornell Law School professor William Jacobson said. “These Trump justices will be on the bench for 25 to 30 years.”

Senate Republicans approved the conservative Bumatay and VanDyke for seats on the San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit, historically the most liberal bench of all, despite stiff opposition from Judiciary Committee Democrats.

In an explosive October hearing, the two Trump nominees were derided by Senate Dems who called the 40-year-old Bumatay inexperienced and brought VanDyke to tears with accusations of anti-gay bias.

On Nov. 14, as Rep. Adam Schiff’s public impeachment hearings got underway, the Senate approved a Trump-nominated judge that flipped the Manhattan-based Second Circuit to a Republican majority.

The newcomers are shifting the balance of the entire system of 13 circuit courts that operate just below the U.S. Supreme Court and handle thousands of cases a year.

“For most plaintiffs, the court of appeals is the last stop,” Jacobson said — and 25% of its active judges are now Trump appointees.

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