One of the biggest privileges and impacts a president can have is appointing members of the US Supreme Court AND to the many federal courts throughout our nation. When Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in February of this year, many conservatives thought all was lost as the appointment of his replacement would fall to Barack Obama. Scalia was a champion of conservatives and had a record of ruling on law instead of on his personal agenda.
The loss of Scalia left the Supreme Court with four liberals, three conservatives and one moderate who swayed back and forth (Chief Justice John Roberts). Obama had already appointed two extremely liberal agenda driven women to the Supreme Court (Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan). The other two liberals on the high bench are Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg (appointed by Bill Clinton) and Stephen G. Breyer (appointed by Bill Clinton). The three remaining conservatives on the high bench are Associate Justices Anthony M. Kennedy (appointed by Ronald Reagan), Clarence Thomas (appointed by George H.W. Bush) and Samuel Alito (appointed by George W. Bush). Roberts, is considered to be a conservative by many, but based upon his track record, I would call him a moderate. Roberts was appointed by George W. Bush.
A presidential nominee to the Supreme Court must be confirmed by the US Senate, and after the death of Scalia, the Republican controlled Senate made it known that they would not confirm any person nominated by Obama. The task of nominating the next Supreme Court Associate Justice falls to President-elect Donald Trump. It seems like a forgone conclusion that Trump will work to put another conservative on the bench, but this is far from the only effect that Trump will have on the entire judicial system in America.
It’s quite possible that Trump could end up appointing three additional Supreme Court Associate Justices. Ginsburg is 83-years-old and has had some health issues in recent years. Breyer, another liberal is 78 at the start of Trump’s first term in office. On the flip side, Kennedy is 80-years-old and one never knows how much longer he’ll remain on the bench. If Trump ends up having to replace all three along with the replacement for Scalia, he will tie Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in nominating 4 members of the Supreme Court. In case you may be wondering, President Dwight D. Eisenhower has the record with filling 5 vacancies in five years.
While most are watching to see what Trump will do with the Supreme Court, there is a second way he can reshape the nation’s judicial system. When Barack Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, he inherited 54 vacancies throughout the federal courts. It was no surprise that he filled those vacancies with liberal agenda driven Democrats.
However, when Trump gets sworn in next month, he will inherit approximately 103 vacancies to federal benches. All nominations to federal benches must be confirmed by the US Senate and once Republicans gained control of the Senate in January 2015, their approvals of Obama nominees were few and far between. Since Republicans still control the Senate, Trump has the opportunity to place 103 law-ruling conservatives in those federal judicial vacancies. This could well reshape the judicial landscape as much, if not more than Trump’s nomination(s) to the Supreme Court.
Hopefully, President-elect Donald Trump will take advantage of this solemn duty and fill every judicial vacancy with law-ruling conservatives and reshape the nation’s judicial system and help secure hope for the future