Donald Trump's Judicial Takeover

It has already been 354 days! | Source: Flickr Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It has already been 354 days! | Source: Flickr Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In the 354 days since Donald Trump became President, it appears on the surface, that in actual legislative terms, he has achieved little, and the evidence appears to point to that. Many of his signature campaign promises, such as building a wall on the southern border, and repeal of Obamacare ( Barack Obama's 2010 Healthcare law), remain unfulfilled. However, one thing which the Republican has been adept at it is judicial nominations.

While this may sound dull, it is an extremely important issue, with large ramifications for the US Judiciary. When Trump first assumed office, on January the 20th, 2017, Obama had left over 100 judicial nominees unfulfilled. This was as a result of Republican obstruction after the 2014 Mid Term Elections, and the Republicans had a majority in the Senate and the House. As a result, they simply refused to hold confirmation hearings for Obama's Judicial Nominees, the most high profile of these being Merrick Garland. Obama nominated Garland for the Supreme Court, after the death of Justice Scalia in March 2016, with nine months left in his presidency. Republican leaders simply refused to hold a hearing or a vote on Garland for the remainder of Obama's term, and as they had majority control of both chambers of Congress, the minority Democrats were unable to do anything, despite holding the executive branch. As a result, by the time Obama left office, 54 of his nominees were left pending like Garland, and Obama simply didn't nominate judges for the remaining 67 positions, considering it futile

Since Trump has taken the presidency, however , he has begun filling the US Judiciary with deeply conservative judges, as opposed to more liberal judges that Obama would have appointed ( Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the empty Supreme Court, that Obama had tried to fill for over a year, in just three months). The effect of appointing deeply conservative judges, has long-lasting ramifications, as after the judge is appointed, he can stay in his post until his death , thus creating a deeply conservative judiciary .Furthermore, many of Trump's picks, have often appeared unqualified, something that can be seen in the case of Matthew S Petersen.

A judicial nominee for a DC District Seat , Petersen rose in notoriety and prominence , after an incident between a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Petersen showed Petersen struggling to answer basic legal questions, in an excruciating exchange with a REPUBLICAN senator . Petersen withdrew his nomination . Petersen is not unique either , a second Trump nominee, Brett Talley, also withdrew after it emerged he had never tried a case, showing how in this case, party partisanship is rising above what is actually needed. 

Trump has managed to confirm 14 federal judges, a number that is one of the highest ever, and thanks to Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress, the judges are easily confirmed. 

In conclusion therefore , despite Trump's performance being spectacularly bad in his first year ( with record low approval ratings , further dividing America , and a refusal to condemn Neo-Nazis being just three of his highlights ) , his stacking of the judiciary with conservative judges , is one area where his presidency could have long-lasting ramifications .