Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)
Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)


Judicial Update: A Historic First Year, but Additional Work Remains Confirming Trump Judges
-Mr. Richard Kisielowski

Photo - Mr. Richard Kisielowski
Mr. Richard Kisielowski
Judicial nominations by the Trump Administration have been historic on many different levels. But, more work is needed to ensure that President Trump’s judges are confirmed.

First, just by the numbers: President Trump had 23 federal judges confirmed by the Senate in his first year in office, including Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch and 12 circuit court judges. The Trump Administration has 43 judicial candidates nominated and pending confirmation by the Senate. Currently, there are still more than 100 federal judicial vacancies still awaiting nominations. Of these openings, currently 73 vacancies are deesmed judicial emergencies, which means that a court is faced with docket backlogs or prolonged vacancies. So, more federal judges needed to be confirmed by the Senate.

So, what does this all mean? President Trump has been a very successful at nominating judges. He has kept his campaign promise of nominating conservative, qualified judges. He has had the most circuit court judges confirmed in the first year of a Presidency, ever—despite unprecedented obstructionism by Senate Democrats.

What is this so-called “blue slip controversy” in the Senate? On January 24th, the blue slip controversy was brought up again during the during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Michael Brennan, nominee for the 7th Circuit. As Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley previously noted, blue slips historically were a courtesy, advisory tool about judges under consideration by the Senate—not a unilateral veto power for a single senator to invoke. During Mr. Brennan’s hearing, Chairman Grassley noted during his opening statement, “a negative or unreturned blue slip won’t necessarily prevent a Circuit Court nominee from receiving a hearing, unless the White House failed to consult with home-state senators before choosing the nominee.” Of course, obstructionist Senate Democrats are trying to use this as a means of preventing President Trump’s judicial nominees from getting a fair hearing debating a nominee’s qualifications.

How can you help? Keep an eye on RNLA’s daily blog, Twitter, and Facebook. The RNLA has regularly highlighted stories on judicial nominations and controversial confirmations. You can also sign up to volunteer for the RNLA Judicial Affairs Committee. Our committee has been hard at work gathering research on nominees criticized by the left and advocating for other exceptionally qualified nominees. If you have any questions, please reach out to RNLA Vice President for Judicial Affairs, Eric Lycan, or you can feel free to reach out to me.

Recently, one of our members, Tom Isaacs, penned a guest blog post on the nomination of Damien Schiff’s exceptional qualifications. Other members’ work has had an important role in helping nominees and their surrogates prepare for hearings and countering baseless attacks by the left.

Lastly, you can write your Senator—especially, “Blue Senators” and “Blue Senators in Red States” up for reelection in 2018. Contact information for your Senator can be found here.

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