Trump Taking First Step in Reshaping Federal Judiciary

He's nominating 10 conservatives to open seats, the first of a wave of picks
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2017 3:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump says one of the signature achievements of his first 100 days was the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Now he's poised to continue the theme with the announcement of 10 nominees to lower federal courts, chosen with the help of the conservative Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation, per the New York Times. Here's a look at coverage:

  • The announcement was expected as early as Monday, with a similar batch of nominees to follow pretty much monthly for the near future, reports the Times' Adam Liptak. He notes that two of the names come from Trump's Supreme Court short list: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen, who clerked for Antonin Scalia, and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, who clerked for Clarence Thomas. The story lists the other eight as well.
  • Larsen or Stras could yet end up on the Supreme Court, notes a post at the Weekly Standard, given that federal appeals courts are a "farm system" of sorts for the higher court. That's where eight of the nine current justices came from.
  • Conservative columnist Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western law school, runs through the names and concludes in the Washington Post that it's "as strong a list of nominees as one could hope for."

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  • Politico notes that an unusually large number of vacancies will allow Trump to "remake the federal judiciary." BuzzFeed counts 129 federal court vacancies, accounting for about 14% of such judgeships.
  • This is a wise political strategy, writes Ed Morrissey at the conservative Hot Air blog, because these judicial appointments will shore up Trump's "right flank." Conservatives may not agree with all of Trump's moves in the White House, but they'll tolerate them as long he keeps adding conservatives to the federal judiciary.
  • From the left: “The Trump administration has made clear its intention to benefit from Republican obstructionism and to pack the federal courts with ultraconservatives given a stamp of approval by the Federalist Society,” says Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice. “We’ll be scrutinizing the records of these nominees very carefully."
  • Democrats hoping to oppose any of the nominations have one big problem: They ended the use of filibusters on lower-court nominations in 2013, back when they controlled the Senate, notes the Wall Street Journal.
(Read more federal judges stories.)

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