Vet Them Now or Vet Them Later

One of the few “successes” of the Trump administration has been the rapid pace of nominations to the federal bench. When Trump took office last January, there were more than 100 judicial vacancies, including one on the Supreme Court. As of early November, Trump had put forward 58 names to fill those slots, including 18 for the federal appellate courts. Although Republicans are generally more invested in the ideology of the courts than Democrats, to some, Trump is mounting nothing less than a complete a makeover of the federal courts. 

And that’s just the way some conservatives want it. Carrie Severino, policy director of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network told The Daily Signal, “President Trump and his allies in the Senate campaigned on the promise to remake our federal courts…” 

Republicans tend to go for ideological extremes in their nominees. While Democrats tend to steer toward the middle of the road. Think plain vanilla Merrick Garland as President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee and the norms GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell broke to thwart his nomination, and then going on to change Senate rules to win confirmation of Trump’s more ideologically extreme choice of Neil Gorsuch. 

The Senate is also toying with the idea of getting rid of blue slips, a traditional process where the home Senator of a judicial nominee can raise an objection to a nomination. If blue slips go, then packing the courts with Trump nominees could move at warp speed. 

As of this writing, the Senate has confirmed one Supreme Court justice, 12 nominees to the federal appellate courts, and six nominees to the federal district courts. According to Axios, a dozen confirmations to the federal circuit courts is a record for a first-year president. 

Abandoning the practice of past presidents, Trump has refused to submit his nominees to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary for evaluation before they are announced. Perhaps it is merely pique, but…

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