An increasing number of federal judges announced their departure in the weeks that followed President BidenDemocrats, Joe Biden, say defending against impeachment of Trump is ‘pointless’ The defense treaty between the United States and Israel has benefits – and threatens the White House: Biden won’t spend much time watching Trump’s trial More He was sworn in, giving the new administration an early opportunity to start making its way back President TrumpDonald TrumpDominion spokesperson: Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow ‘pleads to prosecute’ DC officers who defended the Capitol and the Sicknick family honored in the Super Bowl in the US will join the United Nations Human Rights Council: Report moreHis success in filling the judiciary with conservative judges.
There are currently 57 vacant seats in the Federal Circuits and Courts of Appeal and another 20 seats will become vacant in the coming months. At least 25 of these job vacancies were announced after Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
The departed group includes Emmett Sullivan, who was appointed by former President Clinton to the District Court of Columbia in 1994. Sullivan presided over several high-profile cases during the Trump era, including the trial of Michael Flynn on charges he was a former National Security Adviser to the White House. He lied to the FBI About his conversations with a Russian diplomat during Trump’s transition period.
Another Clinton-appointed judge, Robert Katzman of the influential Second Circuit Court of Appeals, announced on January 21 that he would be leaving his seat. Katzman has also been involved in a number of issues related to Trump. Last year, he was part of a three-judge panel that sided with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in a lawsuit that Trump filed for blocking the attorney general’s summons on his tax returns.
Katzman and Sullivan would both gain prestige, allowing them to remain as judges with a lighter case load while leaving seats for Biden to fill in the Senate confirmation process.
“I think he really, right away, has a wonderful opportunity to improve the cause of justice, and that he has a tremendous opportunity to make his mark by appointing a group of prominent jurists who are both demographically and professionally diverse,” said Daniel Goldberg, legal director of the progressive group The Alliance for Justice. “He demonstrated a commitment to equal justice. In this country.
But despite the wave of newly vacant seats, Biden will face an uphill battle to keep up with Trump’s success in the courts, in part because he inherits far fewer vacancies than his predecessor and must navigate the delicate 50-50 balance of the Senate.
It is not unusual for federal judges to time their exit as administrations change in order to ensure that their replacement is chosen by a president who will select someone who is ideologically similar. But Russell Wheeler, a researcher at the Brookings Institution who studies judiciary, said he believed the number of vacancies opened in the final months of the Trump administration and Biden’s early days was relatively low.
“I was surprised by the number of judges, including Republican appointees, who were less senior than in previous years,” Wheeler said. “At the dawn of the Obama administration and the twilight of the Bush administration, you usually see people start to rush out once it becomes quite clear what the presidential outcome will be, or in the case of the Republicans, try to get the situation done in the hope that the Republican president can appoint a successor.”
according to Wheeler dataTrump was one of the most prolific presidents of the modern era when it came to judicial assurances, quickly filling federal posts with conservative youth judges.
In four years, Trump has succeeded in appointing 226 judges to the federal court, including three judges on the Supreme Court, 54 judges in the Court of Appeals and 174 judges in the District Court, according to Pew Research Center.
Wheeler found that Trump lags behind former President Carter only in terms of the total number of judicial appointments in the first four years of any president. President Reagan, who appointed four Supreme Court justices in eight years, is the only president to have left an even bigger footprint on the Supreme Court.
Wheeler thinks it will be difficult for Biden to match Trump’s success in shaping the judiciary. First, he argues, Biden inherits fewer notable job vacancies.
When Trump took office in January 2017, there were 17 empty seats in the nation’s powerful appeals courts, which sit below the Supreme Court. There are now seven vacancies in current and future Circuit Courts that Biden will have the opportunity to fill, not including the DC Circuit seat that would be opened if Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian Garland The Biden Judiciary Committee must do justice to politics. Cotton is trying to pressure the Democrats to expand the Supreme Court. The Hill Morning Report – submitted by Facebook – Cheney maintains a leadership position; Democrats to punish Greene more The prosecutor’s position has been confirmed.
Wheeler also noted that Trump and Senate Republicans have made judicial affirmations one of their biggest priorities, which Biden and his colleagues in the upper house may not be able to replicate given the new administration’s ambitious legislative agenda.
“I don’t expect to see a revolution in the courts in four years,” Wheeler said, “and of course, if Republicans take back the Senate in 2022, it will only get worse.”
But progressives pushing the new administration to focus on the judiciary argue that the fate of Biden’s policy plans will largely depend on judges who hear the legal challenges he is sure to follow.
“The progress of many political cases will not be significant if there are no judges on the Federal Court who will give the appropriate effect to the important legislation,” Goldberg said. “Whatever legislation is passed, whether it is civil rights legislation, or legislation that protects workers, we need federal judges, the back end, to make sure that those laws are properly enforced and enforced as intended by Congress.”
To that end, Goldberg said, Senate Democrats appear to be taking the judiciary more seriously than they have in past years.
He said, “It is clear that they are ready to prioritize this issue as never before.”