During his four years in office, failed one-term former President Donald Trump made a lot of appointments to the federal bench, including two right-wing Supreme Court justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
But that was only part of the impact Trump left on the federal bench, Washington Monthly notes:
“With Sen. Mitch McConnell’s help, the Senate became a judicial confirmation factory. Not counting the Supreme Court, Trump got 231 judges with lifetime appointments confirmed. No president got more lower court judges confirmed in a single term since Jimmy Carter.
“After flipping three Circuit Courts from majority-Democratic to majority-Republican, Trump left office with 7 of the 13 appellate-level courts staffed by a majority of Republican appointments. And when counting up all of the appellate-level and district-level judges at the end of Trump’s presidency, Republicans had more: 17 more to be exact.”
Yet despite all of the judicial appointments McConnell managed to get confirmed, President Joe Biden is on the verge of reversing nearly all of the gains Trump made during his term in office:
“Biden’s first set of judicial nominations this week is the beginning of something big: almost certainly by the end of this Congress, the majority of lower court seats will be filled by Democratic appointees.”
Yes, you read that correctly: By the time the current Congress is finished in 2022, the majority of lower court seats in the federal system will be held Democratic appointees.
But that’s not all the good news.
There are also rumblings that some of the current Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices could also be ready to retire. The name most often mentioned is Clarence Thomas, who is 73 and reportedly tired of being on the bench.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, may also be close to retiring, since he’s been on the bench for almost 30 years and is 83 years old.
Even if Thomas and Breyer stay on the high court, many of the lower courts are about to be populated by Democratic appointees, and that means decisions will be favorable to the Biden administration as its moves forward with its legislative agenda.
In other words, Donald and Mitch may have thought they had hijacked the courts, but it turns out their efforts are about to come to naught.