As Senate Republicans rammed through a rules change enabling faster approval of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, two advocacy groups released reports on Wednesday showing the far-reaching and long-lasting damage his confirmed federal judges have already inflicted on the nation.
People for the American Way (PFAW) and Alliance for Justice (AFJ) both published studies Wednesday about Trump’s success in appointing 92 judges to district courts, federal appeals courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court—with PFAW writing that the president’s effort to remake the judicial branch in his own image could be disastrous for a number of marginalized groups.
“The record number of judges appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate to lifetime posts on the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals is by far the biggest impact thus far of the Trump presidency.” —Elliot Mincberg, PFAW
“In just under two years on the bench, these narrow-minded elitist judges have already harmed workers, consumers, voters, immigrants, reproductive rights, and many more,” wrote the group in its report, “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears.”
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The report was published shortly before the GOP-controlled Senate triggered the so-called “nuclear option” by voting 51-48 to allow the approval of most executive nominations with a simple majority vote. Trump’s future judicial nominees will be subject to just two hours of debate instead of an additional 30 hours.
Trump’s two most high-profile appointments so far are those of Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, whose most recent pro-death penalty ruling was called “bloodthirsty” and “atrocious” by critics.
But the groups also highlighted the 37 judges who now have seats on the Circuit Courts of Appeals, which often has final say in federal cases that do not make it to the Supreme Court.
Trump’s influence has made its way into the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, where four of his appointees upheld an Ohio law barring funding to Planned Parenthood; and the 7th Circuit, where four judges appointed by Trump went against federal law when they ruled that older workers cannot claim discrimination by their employers.
“The record number of judges appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate to lifetime posts on the Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals is by far the biggest impact thus far of the Trump presidency,” PFAW Senior Fellow Elliot Mincberg said in a statement.
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