The United States Senate on Wednesday confirmed Sarah Pitlyk to the federal bench, the 165th Trump appointee to be confirmed. So far.
Voting 49-44 to confirm (with Senator Susan Collins of Maine the only Republican to vote against her), the Senate filled an open position on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
Since his inauguration, the president has nominated 230 people to the federal bench and expects that more than 180 of them will have been confirmed by the end of the year.
Erielle Davidson of The Federalist Society, which has provided vetting for Trump’s appointments, is delighted: “Almost 30 percent of all circuit judges in the United States are now Trump appointees [with] nearly one in five … district court judges … Trump appointees.” Their average age, according to Davidson, is 49, which translates to 30 years or more of “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution in cases brought to their consideration.
The White House calls this “a historic transformation of the judiciary,” noting that many of Trump’s appointments “have already tipped the balance of numerous Federal courts to a Republican-appointed majority.” Taken altogether, those judges “are expected to give the nation more than 2,600 years of combined judicial service.”
In a meeting with Republican senators last month, the president said, “We should have, within the next short period of time – like two months – we should have about 182 federal judges.… They will uphold our Constitution as written.”
Pitlyk, one of those on The Federalist Society’s list, fits the bill admirably. Sporting degrees from Boston College (summa cum laude), Georgetown University, and Yale Law School, she started her career by clerking for then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served as special counsel for the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm “dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family and religious liberty.”
When Kavanaugh’s confirmation was blind-sided by the last minute faux accusations of rape, which allegedly occurred 35 years earlier, Pitlyk told CNN that she thought the attacks were politically motivated and “hard to take seriously.” She went to bat for her former boss in an opinion piece she and another Kavanaugh clerk wrote for Fox News:
Last minute efforts to block a confirmation vote on his nomination in the Senate have veered from mischaracterization of his judicial record into direct character assassination….
We know Judge Kavanaugh well, having worked closely with him as his law clerks. His character and integrity are unassailable. He is a champion for women’s equality….
The Brett Kavanaugh we know is a man of humility, generosity, and kindness. Since he was nominated to the Supreme Court, people across the country have learned about the man who regularly serves meals to homeless people, tutors underprivileged elementary school children, mentors minority law students applying for judicial clerkships, and coaches his daughters’ basketball teams….
Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most honorable men we have had the privilege to know.
Pitlyk took the extra step of writing about Kavanaugh’s record for the National Review:
On the vital issues of protecting religious liberty and enforcing restrictions on abortion, no court-of-appeals judge in the nation has a stronger, more consistent record than Judge Brett Kavanaugh. On these issues, as on so many others, he has fought for his principles and stood firm against pressure. He would do the same on the Supreme Court….
Judge Kavanaugh has a clear, consistent, and rock-solid record on the issues that matter most to social conservatives. He has repeatedly taken conservative stands and fearlessly defended his textualist and originalist philosophy. And as I can say with confidence from having worked with him closely in chambers for a year — and benefited from his mentorship for a decade — he is a good and decent man who will never waver in the face of pressure from any quarters. He is exactly what constitutional conservatives should want on the Supreme Court.
What’s notable about Pitlyk’s defense of Kavanaugh is her willingness to defend him even at the cost of serious damage to her own career and reputation had his confirmation been denied.
The confirmation of Pitlyk as No. 165 to the federal bench is causing significant angst among the haters of the Constitution as it was intended to be understood and applied, including Slate magazine:
[She] will join her fellow Trump appointees in dismantling the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy, laying the groundwork for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Senate may not be passing any legislation these days but by rapidly ramming through radical nominees like Pitlyk, Republicans are ensuring that the GOP platform will be implemented from the bench for decades to come.