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Savage writes: "Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon."

Donald Trump. (photo: Mark Seliger)
Donald Trump. (photo: Mark Seliger)

Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary. Here's How.

By Charlie Savage, The New York Times

13 November 17


n the weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, lawyers joining his administration gathered at a law firm near the Capitol, where Donald F. McGahn II, the soon-to-be White House counsel, filled a white board with a secret battle plan to fill the federal appeals courts with young and deeply conservative judges.

Mr. McGahn, instructed by Mr. Trump to maximize the opportunity to reshape the judiciary, mapped out potential nominees and a strategy, according to two people familiar with the effort: Start by filling vacancies on appeals courts with multiple openings and where Democratic senators up for re-election next year in states won by Mr. Trump — like Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania — could be pressured not to block his nominees. And to speed them through confirmation, avoid clogging the Senate with too many nominees for the district courts, where legal philosophy is less crucial.

Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor.

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+2 # bardphile 2017-11-13 12:08
The LA Times reports that Brett Talley received a unanimous "not qualified" rating by the ABA; his nomination scrapes the bottom of the barrel of the entire legal profession, let alone practicing judges. Outrageous.

In the rush to pile on the democrats, let's at least acknowledge that with Hillary and a democratic supermajority in the Senate, we'd be seeing the opposite of this--the "stocking" of the federal judiciary with center-left judges of professional distinction rather than unqualified far-right nut jobs, with profound implications for American jurisprudence far into the future.
+1 # Robbee 2017-11-13 12:19
no doubt these are all ultra-conservat ive, corporatist, federal society members

an don't give me any crap about how hillary would have appointed corporatist judges - dems don't select judges from the same list as repukes

most readers here on rsn did their best to elect rump - signed in blood! - as for the rest of us? - it's not our country, we just live here!

rest of us
worked hard all our lifetimes
no help from our friends!
0 # chapdrum 2017-11-13 12:29
Better this than impeachment, says the Democratic Party.
+3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-11-13 14:05
I’m always shocked at how the faux gauche and its publications like the NYTimes always think history began in Nov. 2016 when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. They got used to saying following 9-11 that "this changes everything" and they are unable to see continuities. Nov. 2016 changed almost nothing.

In fact, the right wing has been actively taking over both federal and state judiciaries since the 1980s. They were inspired by Reagan's appointees to the federal circuit and appeals courts. Then Christian universities began crafting law schools with one mission -- create a mass of lawyers aimed at filling the federal government with fundamentalist Christian lawyers. The two largest law schools in the US were founded by Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson. They train tomorrow’s judges and they advertise this openly.

Here is NPR way back in 2005 --

"In the past few years, religious conservatives have realized what their liberal counterparts saw long ago: The place where the culture wars are won or lost is in the courtroom. Some religious leaders, including Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, have set up schools to train their own battalion of lawyers."

Right now there are more lawyers from fundamentalist Christian schools working in all branches of the Federal government than from other law schools. This was their design from the 80s to now. Trump is only following the plan.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-11-13 14:08
Cont’d -----

And it is not just the fundamentalists .

The neo-confederate Federalist Society has been doing the same packing of the courts on a secular front. The 2017 Federalists Society's National Lawyers convention takes place next week.

1. The featured topic – “Federalism & Separation of Powers”

2. The three keynote speakers? -- Yes, you guessed it -- Sessions, Gorsuch, and McGahn (referenced above)

The Federalist Society holds a majority in the Supreme Court. Trump is just following plans created in the Reagan era.

Things in the federal court system are much worse than the NYT knows, although the article does mention the tit-for-tat battle between republicans and democrats for control of the courts. But the democrats have nothing like the lawyer boot camps set up at fundamentalist Christian universities or the Federalist Society. Sometimes the Ivy League law schools are compared to them but these are really a mix of left and rightist law professors.
+2 # Caliban 2017-11-14 02:27
Interesting stuff, #RR. You should write this material up in a full length article.
0 # Robbee 2017-11-14 21:22
Quoting Caliban:
Interesting stuff, #RR. You should write this material up in a full length article.

- maybe, but who would read it?

the few of us who read this article, Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary. Here's How, care about culture wars

you may as well ask why don't dems vote in redistricting mid-term elections? 2010? 2030?

how do you connect to dem voters that our nation's culture matters to their everyday lives?

readily i see that bardphile and rr get what's going on - legal rigging of the judiciary against humans - but pre-election one otherwise perceptive, intelligent and popular commenter alleged that hillary would appoint corporatist judges (sure! corporatist judges who care about women's rights?) AND that rump is more liberal than hillary! - stupid nonsense!

and lots of popular comments maintained that there is no difference between dems and repukes! - stupid nonsense!

our disgusting scotus declared that, according to our constitution, money is speech and corporations are people, shredding the last, flimsy barrier against corporate money and culture!

and we so few, brave souls complain among ourselves!

bernie said that obama's worst mistake was disbanding his organization after his election in 2008 - in 2010 dems should have got out the vote and, for the past 7 years of corporatist state judiciaries, humans have paid for it dearly, in human lives, human suffering and deprivation of human rights and justice

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