The Long Lasting Trump Effect
It has always been my belief that timing is important and, in some situations, it can be everything. That is nowhere more true than in respect to the coming judicial appointments of Donald Trump.
At present, there are 120 judicial vacancies to fill in the federal judicial system. Furthermore, there is a need to expand the federal judiciary to meet the needs of a growing population which will entail the appointment of more judges.
Throughout the Obama years, Republicans used their majority in the Senate to block judicial appointments. You will recall that Senate Republicans refused to even give a confirmation hearing to Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. This policy of obstruction allowed federal benches to be vacant for years and undoubtedly caused backlogs, delays, hardships and inconvenience to the federal judiciary and to litigants with business before the courts. Nevertheless, Republicans considered this a small price to pay for the possibility that a Republican President might be elected who could nominate conservatives to these judicial positions. As it has turned out, the Republican strategy paid off when Trump was elected.
Although the Senate has heretofore had a rule requiring 60 votes to confirm a judicial nominee, Republicans changed that rule in order to confirm Trump nominee Neal Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The road is wide open for Donald Trump, who ironically is openly hostile and disrespectful to the courts, to appoint federal judges for all the open positions that presently exist and all those that become open or are created during his term. Because federal judges enjoy a lifetime appointment, the Donald Trump effect will be around for a very long time.
As I said, timing can be everything.