Trump is chipping away at Obama’s remade federal courts

“President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are remaking the federal courts in their own image,” declared NPR’s Nina Totenberg recently. Others agree: The administration’s lower-court selections will change America “for generations.”

Exciting, no? Unless you take the view that it happens with pretty much every White House. Barack Obama, too, remade the lower courts with effects that will last for generations. Federal judges have life tenure and decide big issues. Same with George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. All came in with a Senate majority and definite views on judges they wanted to ­appoint.

Yes, judicial appointments are a core accomplishment of Trump’s presidency. But keep in perspective just how slowly and incrementally these things change. For the 851 seats in the federal judiciary overall — which collectively make final decisions for all but the 70 or so cases the US Supreme Court agrees to hear — four or even eight years just isn’t enough to chisel final triumphs or dash recurring hopes.

What Trump did do was stop what would otherwise have been a 12- or 16-year stretch of straight liberal appointments — a true generational shift — if a Hillary Clinton presidency had succeeded Obama’s.

Consider that when Obama took office, 10 of the 13 federal circuits had majority Republican-appointed judges. By January 2017, only four circuits had GOP-appointed majorities, while nine were Democratic-appointed majorities. Quite the shift.

 Read more at New York Post

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