Last week President Trump hit a milestone that the major media largely ignored. In the under three years that he has occupied the White House, the president has had over 150 federal judges confirmed by the U.S. Senate — nearly three times the 55 circuit judges Obama had confirmed over his entire eight years in office.
In a White House celebration attended by Republican lawmakers and other supporters of the president, Trump noted that the actual number of confirmed federal judges is 159, “and we should have, within the next short period of time — like two months — we should have about 182 federal judges.”
Thanking those assembled for their help in getting quality conservative judges confirmed, Trump said that “together we are restoring American freedom, defending American justice, preserving the extraordinary vision of our Founding Fathers.”
In a press release, the White House noted that among those confirmed were 112 nominees to district courts and 43 to appeals courts, along with two hard-fought confirmations of Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Additionally, the Republican-led Senate will shortly confirm Trump’s 44th appeals court judge.
Among those Trump highlighted for their strategic help in filling the judgeships was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), predicting that “generations from now, Americans will know that Mitch McConnell helped save the constitutional rule of law in America.”
In a Twitter post after the event, McConnell noted that with the latest confirmations, “one in every four judges on the federal courts of appeals will have been nominated by Trump and confirmed by us here in the Senate. That’s 45 new lifetime appellate judges committed to the key principle that judges should apply our laws and the Constitution as they are actually written, not as the judge might personally wish they’d been written.”
Trump also thanked Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), calling him a “very special man.”
In his comments Graham called the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the High Court the “defining moment” of Trump’s presidency. Noting the Republican stalwarts present at the celebratory event, Graham said that “this room would be empty if we had failed Brett Kavanaugh. Brett Kavanaugh lived a life we should all be proud of. He worked hard. And the way he was treated was the worst experience I’ve had in politics. A lot of people would have pulled the plug on him. Mr. President, thank you for not pulling the plug on Brett Kavanaugh.”
Among the Republican lawmakers who congratulated Trump on the milestone was Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who wrote in an op-ed that “few legacies will be longer lasting than this judicial one. These new judges are principled constitutionalists who have demonstrated excellence and professionalism throughout their legal careers.”
By contrast, leftist Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) took pains to denigrate Trump’s judiciary appointments, complaining to a New York Times reporter: “As a senator I have now worked with four separate administrations, Democrat and Republican, on the appointment of federal judges. I can say with perfect confidence that over the last three years, President Trump has nominated — and Senate Republicans have approved — the most unqualified and radical nominees in my time in this body.”
In his own comments President Trump noted the importance of constitutionally sound federal judges in keeping a check on oppressive government. “When judges assume the role of a legislature, the rights of all citizens are threatened,” he said. “The great English jurist William Blackstone warned that if the judicial power were joined with the legislative, then life, liberty and property would be in the hands of arbitrary judges.”
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