Trump Reshapes Judiciary In His Own Image [Opinion]

President Donald Trump speaking
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Perhaps the most lasting legacy of the Trump administration may be found in the federal judiciary. In the first two years of President Trump’s term of office, he has appointed 53 district court judges, 29 appellate court judges, and two justices to the Supreme Court. In a report by NPR, a look at the breakdown of those judges by race, gender, and qualifications reveals a bias in President Trump’s selection criteria– the vast majority of his appointees are white men who will proliferate the president’s agenda, even if they are not qualified for the position.

“He came into office with a mandate to nominate judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network, an advocacy group for the appointment and election of conservative judges. “That was a key reason he won the presidency.”

President Trump has nominated 151 judges through his first two years, which is a large enough sample for distinctive patterns to emerge. President Obama nominated 392 judges over the course of his eight-year term, and a comparison between the two is informative when analyzing the makeup of those judges.

President Trump’s judicial nominations have been 77 percent male, compared to only 58 percent by President Obama. President Obama’s nominees were 63 percent white, 19 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent Asian, with the remaining 2 percent consisting of other races. By comparison, President Trump has submitted 83 percent white nominees, with 4 percent of his nominees remaining unconfirmed as of today.

Though it is not the greatest discrepancy between the two sets of nominees, perhaps the most troubling analysis can be found when examining the judicial qualifications of the nominees. Every nominee that President Obama submitted for the federal judiciary was rated as qualified by the American Bar Association, with 64 percent of them earning a well-qualified rating. President Trump, on the other hand, has submitted 23 judges rated as either not qualified or remain unrated by the American Bar Association, taking up 15 percent of his total.

The spreadsheet with this data can be found on this Google doc.

As reported in Inquisitr, President Trump has taken advantage of his partnership with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold nomination hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee while Congress was in recess leading up to the midterm elections in an effort to confirm them during the following lame-duck session. Critics consider this an abuse of the system.

“Of his 43 appellate nominations, none are African-American,” said Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “None are Latino. Only nine are women. Our nation’s great diversity should be reflected in its leadership institutions, especially the federal judiciary, which serves as the guardian of our rights and liberties.”