by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Donald Trump has had as much impact on the third branch of government in two years as most presidents have in two full terms, and the new Senate opens the door for the second half of his first term to be even more significant than the first half.
The Senate in 2018 confirmed 67 federal judges to lifetime appointments: one Supreme Court justice, 18 judges to the U.S. courts of appeals, and 48 judges to the federal district courts (which is where trials are conducted).
Combined with the 2017 number, this is a phenomenal total of 85 new federal judges: two Supreme Court justices, 30 appellate judges, and 53 trial judges. The total of 30 for the circuit courts of appeals breaks the previous all-time two-year record of 23, marking a historic achievement by President Trump and Senate Republicans. …
… [T]he new 53-47 Republican-controlled Senate should almost always be at worst 51-49 on originalist judges. Even when a surprise comes along that costs a vote – such as Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who somehow fell for left-wing attacks, opposing two well-respected judicial nominees because of long-discredited allegations of racial insensitivity that even the liberal American Bar Association (ABA) did not see as disqualifying – this new equation allows for Vice President Mike Pence to break 50-50 tie votes to confirm the president’s nominees.
President Trump can now be even bolder on one of his strongest issues.