Nearly a year after the first of them won Senate confirmation, 15 nominees have made their way to federal appeals courts, representing perhaps Trump's most significant achievement in his 15 months as president. A dozen more are in the pipeline.But then the article explains that it's not always so clear that the judges are going to rule as predicted, and uses an example from the 11th Circuit:
While it's too soon to detect a definitive trend, Trump's judges are making their presence felt through the weight of their votes and the style of their rhetoric.
Judge Amul Thapar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit led the way last May and has amassed the largest body of work so far. He helped uphold Ohio's method of lethal injection as well as a Michigan county's practice of opening government meetings with Christian prayers.
Judge James Ho, a more recent addition to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, dissented from its refusal to reconsider a challenge to strict campaign contribution limits in Austin, Texas, that he said violate the First Amendment.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals helped block the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's attempt to stop an employer from transferring Chicago-area employees based on their race or ethnicity.
Three judges named by Trump to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals — Ralph Erickson, Steven Grasz and David Stras — joined in its refusal to reconsider a Missouri inmate's plea to change his method of execution because a rare health condition could make lethal injection too painful. The Supreme Court nevertheless agreed to hear the case next fall.
There is no question that Trump, unlike Obama during his presidency, is focused on judicial appointees:Judge Kevin Newsom of the 11th Circuit joined a three-judge panel's unanimous ruling that an Alabama police department's demotion of a female officer seeking to breastfeed her newborn child was discriminatory. The panel said its holding "will help guarantee women the right to be free from discrimination in the workplace based on gender-specific physiological occurrences."
Since coming to office, Trump has nominated more than 100 federal judges, and the Senate has confirmed 33. Another 12 circuit court nominees and 58 district court nominees are in the pipeline. The speed and efficiency of the process far outpaces past Democratic and Republican administrations.It helped that Trump inherited more than 100 lower court vacancies, and that Senate Democrats in 2013 changed that body's rules to block Republicans from bottling up nominations with just 41 votes. Now Republicans are in the majority — barely — and have been united on the president's appeals court choices.Conservatives have hailed them for their relative youth — Gorsuch is 50, and the 15 appeals court judges average 49 — and their adherence to the Constitution. Four of them clerked for the Supreme Court's most conservative justice, Clarence Thomas. Nearly all are white; four are women.Included among them are several already being touted by conservatives as potential Supreme Court nominees, including Barrett and Thapar, who is Indian American.