As 2018 draws to a close, we reflect on the last year and on the first two years of the Trump presidency. What stands out is how many excellent judges who support the rule of law have been confirmed to the federal bench and how Democrats have attacked and delayed the nominations.
President Trump and former White House Counsel Don McGahn identified, interviewed, and vetted strong conservatives who respect the text and original meaning of the Constitution and understand the limited role of the judge in interpreting and not making law. Then the Senate Judiciary Committee under Chairman Chuck Grassley further vetted these nominees, and Senate Judiciary Republicans defended them against the attacks and grandstanding of the Senate Judiciary Democrats. And Leader Mitch McConnell prioritized the confirmation of judges on the Senate floor, devoting substantial floor time to this important task against all the procedural maneuvers and delays of the Democrats.
The prioritization of judicial nominations has resulted in 85 new federal judges confirmed, including two Supreme Court justices, 30 circuit court judges, and 53 district court judges, a record for the first two years of a presidency.
Yet much work remains to be done. There are 143 vacancies across the federal courts, and there are 54 judicial nominees currently awaiting confirmation on the Senate floor, some of whom are uncontroversial and will eventually be confirmed by large margins. As we saw during the confirmation battle over Justice Kavanaugh, the Democrats will stop at nothing to prevent these talented lawyers from serving in the judiciary. The Democrats have refused to make the customary end-of-session confirmation agreement, which means that all pending nominations will be returned to the President and will need to be renominated in the next session. Judges who have already had hearings will not need another hearing, but this will result in further delay in the confirmation of these judges.
In 2019, the RNLA will continue to support President Trump’s excellent judicial nominees and advocate for their prompt confirmation. Judges who support and uphold the Constitution and the rule of law will be President Trump’s lasting legacy and have a tremendous impact on our country for decades to come.
In the new year, the RNLA will also focus on supporting the nomination of former RNLA Board of Visitors member William Barr to be Attorney General of the United States. Despite having the ultimate qualification of having served as Attorney General with distinction under President George H.W. Bush and being widely respected in the legal community, Democrats and their liberal allies are already formulating attacks against Mr. Barr. Watch your email and the RNLA blog and Twitter feed in January for information on how to support Mr. Barr’s confirmation.
The RNLA will also focus in 2019 on hosting more local chapter events, building its membership, and making the RNLA more of a resource for attorneys around the country, not just in Washington, DC. The heart of the RNLA is its members. While we are grateful for the many attorneys who travel to our national events such as the National Policy Conference and the Election Law Seminar, we recognize that travel can be difficult and want the RNLA to be accessible and active on the local level as well.
Looking even further ahead, the 2020 presidential election has already started. The Democratic field is crowded, and the hopefuls are embracing a slate of progressive policy goals in the hope of appealing to the increasingly radicalized Democratic base. These goals, many of which will be advanced by the Democrat-controlled House under Nancy Pelosi in 2019, include increased federal control over elections, the weakening of election integrity protections, and restriction of political speech through campaign finance regulations.
While the Democratic presidential hopefuls attack each other and try to prove that they are more liberal than their rivals, one thing that will unite them all is attacking President Trump. We are already seeing a multi-front strategy play out among Democrats, liberal organizations, and the mainstream media in an effort to discredit and undermine President Trump, his policy agenda, and the legitimacy of his presidency. Democrats still have not accepted that they lost the 2016 presidential election, which will make the 2020 election remarkably vitriolic.
While continuing to support the Trump Administration’s efforts to restore the rule of law, the RNLA is preparing to help ensure the 2020 election is open, fair, and honest. Watch your email in the coming two years for opportunities to learn about election law and procedures and help ensure open, fair, and honest elections in your state or elsewhere.
Thank you for being a member or friend of the RNLA. The success of the RNLA is due to you, and as we close out 2018 and look ahead to 2019, we are grateful for your support for professionalism, Republican ideals, and open, fair, and honest elections.