While Donald Trump distracts the media with crazy tweets, a terrifying plan to drastically transform the judiciary is brewing inside his campaign. Donald Trump is set to inherit an unprecedented number of vacancies (103 judicial openings) in the federal courts in addition to the open Supreme Court seat, giving the president-elect a monumental opportunity to reshape the judiciary after taking office.
The estimated 103 judicial vacancies that President Obama is expected to hand over to Trump in the January 20 transition of power is nearly double the 54 openings Obama found eight years ago following George W. Bush’s presidency.
The Republicans plan to control the judiciary has been in the works since took control of the Senate in 2015. Confirmation of Obama’s judicial nominees slowed to a crawl in an unprecedented level of obstruction in blocking the Democratic president’s court picks.
Senate Republicans refused to hold even a hearing on Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, for the Scalia seat.
The result is a multitude of openings throughout the federal circuit and district courts that will allow the new Republican president to quickly make a wide array of lifetime appointments.
Voter laws, state gun control laws, abortion restrictions, anti-discrimination measures and immigrant issues are all matters that are increasingly heard by federal judges and will be influenced by the new composition of the courts.
Trump has vowed to choose ideologues in the mold of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and put forward a more conservative Supreme Court nominee — a prospect that has Republicans giddy.
The judiciary is a top priority for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has opposed all of Obama’s court choices and stands ready to help the Trump White House identify candidates and speed up the Senate confirmation process.
“I’m optimistic he’ll come at this right out of the gate,” McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters recently.
The Supreme Court vacancy created by Scalia’s death in February was a motivating issue for many conservative voters, especially evangelical Christians, to turn out for Trump.
Democrats accuse McConnell and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, of intentionally denying Obama’s nominees a fair hearing and running out the clock in hopes that a Republican would succeed him, as Trump has.
H/T: The Washington post.