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  • Ashley Baker

With 15 circuit judge confirmations and a dozen pending, Trump looks to reshape the courts

So far, President Trump has not dramatically altered the makeup of any of the 12 circuit courts of appeals.

"...Mr. Trump has padded the Republican numbers on the 5th, 6th and 8th circuit courts, which were already Republican-dominated, and has closed the gap on the 11th, a majority Democratic circuit.

But because of retirements, Republicans have lost ground among active judges on the 4th, 9th and 10th circuits since the beginning of 2017, when Mr. Trump took office.

'It is significant when the gap narrows,' said Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice. 'The proportion matters even if it doesn’t flip.'

[continued] ...One of the most pointed debates was when President George W. Bush tried to fill a vacancy on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals while that court was taking up contentious affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan.

According to a memo from Democratic staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats were slow-walking Mr. Bush’s pick, fearing another Republican appointee on the bench could swing the case against Democrats’ position.

'The thinking is that the current 6th Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge with conservative views is confirmed before the case is decided, that new judge will be able, under 6th Circuit rules, to review the case and vote on it,' staffers wrote in an April 17, 2002, memo to then-Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, advising him to slow the confirmation process for Tennessee Judge Julia S. Gibbons.

Republicans obtained the memo because of computer system irregularities. Democrats blasted the Republicans for releasing the memos but struggled to defend their own moves.

'Seemed counter to the idea of judges being neutral arbiters,' said Mr. Levey, who was an attorney involved in the affirmative action case."

Read more in The Washington Times.


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