On Thursday, the Senate held more votes on President Donald Trump’s nominees to federal judgeships, with three new appointments marking a new threshold in his influence over the federal judiciary.
Trump has now appointed 25% of circuit court judges in the country. Recently, Trump has emphasized that milestone in D.C. and on the campaign trail.
On Wednesday, Republicans gathered in the White House so Trump could flaunt the “one in four” statistic.
“From the beginning of my campaign, I promised to appoint judges who will adhere to the true and original meaning of our Constitution,” he said, according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was at the event. Grassley has previously boasted about this achievement. Last night, Grassley praised Trump for accomplishing what he promised voters he would during his 2016 campaign.
“You kept your word. And 20% of the people voted for you based on the proposition of the kind of people you were going to put on the Supreme Court,” he said.
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Lee Philip Rudofsky, a district judge for Arkansas; Jennifer Philpott Wilson, a district judge for Pennsylvania; and William Joseph Nardini, a judge for the Second Circuit.
With these new confirmations, Trump has had 161 of his nominees to all federal courts get approved. Of those, 45 were appointed to national appeals courts.
Trump’s Judicial Victories
Also on Thursday, a controversial appointee who currently works as a direct legal aide to the White House, was approved by the Judiciary Committee along party lines. The next step will be a vote in the full Senate next week.
There are many concerns with his qualification to serve. The American Bar Association even ranked him “not qualified.”
But that isn’t new for Trump appointees, something Sen. Michael Lee of Utah mentioned before the Judiciary Committee vote.
“Not all of us view the ABA as a neutral arbiter,” Lee said. “It’s not. It’s an interest group with a distinct ideological bias.”
He maintained that, despite the diverse ideological leanings of the members of the ABA, the group holds a left-leaning bias.
The ABA has a long-standing tradition of evaluating judicial nominations on a nonpartisan basis, and has defended itself against those charges.
A major part of Trump’s success is the Republican-led Senate, with a majority leader who shares his ambition of appointing conservative judges to lifetime appointments.
Sen. Mitch McConnell was also at the White House celebration this week. In 2016, McConnell held the door open on a Supreme Court vacancy for Trump to fill with Neil Gorsuch.
But along with the Supreme Court seat, McConnell also blocked the Obama Administration’s ability to appoint nominees to the lower court, which led to the high number of vacancies available for Trump to fill.
“You had been helped enormously by a decision that I made — and these guys will back me up — not to let President Obama fill that Scalia vacancy on the way out the door,” McConnell said.
By Nikoel Hytrek