American Elephants


Reforming The Courts, One Outstanding Justice At a Time by The Elephant's Child
October 13, 2017, 6:24 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

Most Republicans are extremely pleased with President Trump’s appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. And most of us are unaware that the President is filling the federal judiciary with a whole class of “brilliant young textualists” who bear little resemblance even to prior appointments by the Reagan or Bush administrations. Mr. Trump has nominated nearly 60 judges, filling more vacancies than Barack Obama did in his entire first year. And there are another 160 more openings that will allow Mr. Trump to increase conservative majorities on the circuit courts that have the final say on 99% of federal legal disputes.

The project is the work of Mr. Trump, White House Counsel Don McGahn and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. They have addressed the problems of the judiciary with purpose. The Bush team had a committee approach, hunting for nominees who were the least controversial and had a small paper trail — which helped them to get past a Senate filibuster, but meant bland choices.

Harry Reid, in 2013, decided to blow up the filibuster for judicial nominees, which has freed the Trump White House from having to worry about a Democratic veto during confirmation. Mr. McGahn has been free to work with the Federalist Society to choose the most conservative judges. Mr. McGahn has been concerned with constitutional law and the risk of a powerful administrative state. The focus is on choosing jurists who understand the real challenges of our big government era. They wanted nominees who can read a statute and understand the implications. So they have a group of young rock stars, textualists like Justice Scalia.

Donald Trump’s desire to improve the courts has matched Mr. McConnell’s passion for remaking the judiciary. The new generation of Republican senators elected in recent cycles are reformers — Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Dan Sullivan, Cory Gardner, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton. Mr. Trump will keep on tweaking the media with tweets and comments, but in the background, government is being remade.

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