The Committee for Justice applauds President Trump's expected announcement today of ten nominees to the federal courts. As was true of Trump's selection of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, this group of nominees confirms the President's stated commitment to appoint judges who will enforce the Constitution's limits on federal power and its protection of individual liberty.
The following is the statement of Committee for Justice President Curt Levey:
The large number of judicial vacancies gives President Trump a historic opportunity to move the federal courts in the right direction - towards constitutionalism and away from judicial activism - in just four years. Fulfilling this opportunity will require a steady stream of judicial nominations from the White House and a brisk pace of hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
By naming ten nominees just four weeks after the White House finished its selection and confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice, President Trump has demonstrated his commitment to speedy judicial nominations. It took President Obama until July of 2009 to name as many nominees.
We are also pleased to see that President Trump has made the U.S. Courts of Appeal, the most influential courts after the Supreme Court, a priority. Six of the President's first 11 lower court nominations - Amul Thapar was named to the Sixth Circuit in March - are to the Courts of Appeal. By already naming nominees for one quarter of the 24 appeals court openings (current vacancies and announced retirements), Trump is off to a fast start.
Of those six nominees, five are in their forties. Thus, President Trump is also off to a quick start in expanding the number of young conservative appeals court judges, a pool from which his future Supreme Court appointees will likely be drawn.
Despite the exceptional qualifications of President Trump's first group of judicial nominees, we cannot assume they will be swiftly confirmed. Senate Democrats will be as determined to defeat or slow the confirmation of Trump's lower court nominees as they were to stopping Justice Gorsuch.
While Senate Democrats do not have the judicial filibuster at their disposal - Majority Leader Harry Reid saw to that by invoking the nuclear option in 2013 - they are likely to slow the confirmation process by exploiting post-cloture debate time at a record level. They may even attempt to defeat nominees by abusing the "blue slip" privileges granted to the two senators from each nominee's home state. If Democrats go that extreme, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley may be forced to curtail the 100 year old blue slip tradition.