(Via Fox News)
One of the most transformative years in the federal judiciary began with uncertainty and ends on a political high note for President Trump.
The White House, after winning confirmation for Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court seat held by the late conservative icon Antonin Scalia, has moved with record speed to fill vacancies on the lower federal courts – a surefire way for a president to help cement his legacy.
As of mid-December, 19 of Trump’s 66 total nominees this year have been confirmed by the Senate.
By comparison, then-President Barack Obama had made only 26 choices – including Justice Sonia Sotomayor – half of whom were confirmed by mid-December 2009.
The impact under Trump is especially being felt on the appellate level, which could act as insurance of sorts if those judges are more inclined to support his policies as they face legal challenge across the country.
“The importance of this dramatic reshaping of the entire federal court system cannot be overstated,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Fox News contributor. “While it is easy to focus on the U.S. Supreme Court, lower and appellate court judges will make decisions that impact ordinary Americans on a daily basis for decades to come.”
It has not been all smooth for the Trump team. Three nominees were withdrawn by the White House in recent days after questions were raised about their record and temperament. In a confirmation hearing that essentially went viral, then-nominee Matthew Petersen stumbled repeatedly under questioning as he acknowledged not knowing basic trial court terminology, essential if he were to be a trial judge, say legal experts.
Yet, with 143 current vacancies — almost half of them considered “judicial emergencies” with shorthanded courts and heavy caseloads — more opportunities await the new president in the new year.
ANOTHER SUPREME DECISION?
Of those opportunities could be another early-term Supreme Court appointment.
With the unusually influential help of outside advisers, Trump made an immediate impact on the country just 11 days after taking office in 2017, choosing Justice Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s Supreme Court seat. The 50-year-old Colorado native — and youngest justice — quickly displayed that promised “reliable” conservative record.
Now, White House aides are quietly hopeful they might soon get another chance to move the shaky conservative majority on the bench solidly to the right.
“If a vacancy should arise again, this White House is going to be ready to go. They already have a working list of candidates to fill a seat. They’ve been through the process once before,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney. “So I would say, take the Gorsuch model, and do it again.”
Trump might get the chance as early as spring, when retirement announcements from the high court are typically made. Justice Anthony Kennedy — a moderate-conservative and powerful deciding vote on so many hot-button issues — tantalized Washington last summer, amid unfounded rumors he would step aside after three decades. The tight-lipped 81-year-old senior associate justice still has given no public indication he is ready to go.
But Trump already has a list. When Gorsuch was selected, he was among a list of 21 names then-candidate Trump promised he would rely on exclusively to complete the high court. The list of possibles has since expanded to 25, with the latest four added in November.
‘The importance of this dramatic reshaping of the entire federal court system cannot be overstated.’
– former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
Among those newly added was Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who sits on the same high-profile D.C. appeals court as Merrick Garland – the Obama pick stalled and sidelined by Republicans. Three current justices (and Scalia) came from that appeals bench. Government sources and court watchers say the 52-year-old Kavanaugh, a former law clerk for Kennedy, would be among those seriously considered for any near-term Supreme Court vacancy.
Also in the mix:
Judge Amul Thapar, 48, on the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit federal appeals court. While still a district court judge, Thapar was interviewed in January by the president for the Scalia seat, and would become the first Asian-American Supreme Court justice.
Judge Thomas Hardiman of the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit federal appeals court. The 52-year-old Pittsburgh native was the remaining finalist for the seat Gorsuch now holds.
Judge Joan Larsen, also of the 6th Circuit, also was a former law clerk for Scalia, speaking at his memorial service. Some sources say Larsen, who turns 49 this month and served on Michigan’s high court, may need some more federal bench experience before ever reaching the high court.
Judge Diane Sykes of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit appeals court, has long been a favorite of conservatives, having been considered for the high court in the Bush years. She too was a Trump high court finalist, but her age — she turns 60 this month — may be a factor for a president seeking a justice with a potentially longer tenure.
The planning, of course, all presumes a new vacancy will occur in Trump’s first term. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 84 the oldest member of the court, has privately indicated she has no intention of leaving. Kennedy too may decide to stay for another year at least.
“He is aware, as we all are, that Trump promised to put justices on the court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, who would perhaps undermine equal rights for gays and lesbians,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. “So he is not going to be eager to throw away that legacy away. The best steward of Justice Kennedy’s legacy is Justice Kennedy, and that will give him an impetus to stay on the bench.”
Conservative activists concede having Kennedy on the bench creates a measure of uncertainty into the new year, concerning whether many of the president’s legislative priorities will survive judicial scrutiny.
The so-called “travel ban” cases are working their way through the appeals process and could reach the justices this spring. The third version of Trump’s immigration and visitor policies includes a ban on travel into the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries. The case could be major test of executive authority over foreign policy and immigration.
Other pending court challenges where Republicans on Capitol Hill and the White House could face court setbacks include gun control, gerrymandering, religious freedom, abortion, transgender service members in the military, and the war on terror.
But those issues may have a harder time reaching the justices if the various lower courts speak with one voice on such hot-button disputes. Since the Supreme Court is a purely discretionary body — taking only those cases it wants to resolve, and typically only when there are differing legal interpretations in the lower courts — many issues remain on the judicial back burner.
That, legal experts say, puts a priority on Trump ensuring the 874 federal judgeships with lifetime tenure remain mostly right-leaning. And they have so far, with the Senate’s help. Gone is the 60-vote, filibuster-proof threshold required to confirm judicial candidates. Gorsuch benefitted from a simple 51-vote majority to earn his seat, after rule changes engineered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky..
Many advocacy groups on the left remain frustrated.
“The judicial nominations process is spinning out of control under the Trump administration,” said Nan Aron, president and founder of the Alliance for Justice. “It is disgraceful that in their stampede to rush through as many judicial nominees as possible, Republican partisans on the Judiciary Committee continue to trample basic standards for nominees, longstanding Senate practice and their own Democratic colleagues.”
Trump has given credit for his third branch successes to several mostly obscure conservative legal minds, who provided outside resources and advice during the Gorsuch selection and confirmation drama. That includes Leonard Leo, who took a leave of absence from the Federalist Society to be the president’s private point man on all things judges. He says Trump would be ready if given another chance to burnish his legacy.
“I think it’s important the president and the Republican Party continue to pick individuals to the Supreme Court who are really committed to the ideals that Justice Scalia stood for. Those play well with the American people, those are the right ideals for moving the court forward, and that worked” with the Gorsuch confirmation, Leo told Fox News.
When it comes to the selection process, “The president is very entrepreneurial, he’s always open to new ideas. But I think the Gorsuch nomination tells you everything you need to know about what he’s looking for, and that I don’t think will change at all.”
Neo-Con & Israeli Puppet Dan Crenshaw Lies About America First Patriots, Just Like He Did About Trump
Dan Crenshaw continued an onslaught of attacks against Nick Fuentes, Michelle Malkin, and America First patriots by labeling them “vehement racists, antisemites, & ethnic nationalists”. This is a far cry from the truth. He also went on again to call America First patriots as ‘antisemitic’ in a response to Michelle Malkin blocking him. Dan Crenshaw also supported Red Flag laws, something that also got him a lot of flack. He also criticized Donald Trump in 2016 on top of coming out in favor of same-sex marriage, all of which that has been questioned and exposed of Mr. McCain, oops, we mean Crenshaw.
It is very apparent Mr. Crenshaw has nothing but an ‘Israel First’ policy, constantly making linear conclusions between conservatism and support for Israel. Making his own opinion that if you don’t support Israel, you don’t support America. A very sick and warped view of America Politics in general, some would say traitorous. Dan Crenshaw represents the worse the establishment can offer so far, he must be unseated, exposed, and further more shammed from the conservative movement, along with all the other conservative grifters and Conservative Inc. types.
Matt is correct. They use slogans like “America first” to get conservatives to sympathize with them. But after personally dealing with them, it’s pretty obvious they are vehement racists, anti-semites & ethnic-nationalists.
Conservatives need to know the difference. https://t.co/9PHwWumnU0
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 19, 2019
I guess it’s offensive to point out that conservatives are 100% different than these misguided alt-right anti-semites?
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) November 19, 2019
Dan on Red Flag Gun Laws:
It’s clear that there has been some confusion about what conservatives would support when it comes to laws that try to better protect our communities. Let’s address this directly. Watch. pic.twitter.com/TRYjPIclEm
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) August 10, 2019
Dan’s Facebook Post from 2016 denouncing Trump’s “hateful rhetoric”:
Conservative Inc. Coordinates Attack on Nick Fuentes and Michelle Malkin for being America First Patriots
Since the ‘Groyper War’ Phase 1 was a decisive victory following the November 14th ‘Change my Mind’ rip-off Charlie Kirk attempted to pull off, this late weekend we’ve seen a new onslaught of attacks from many mainstream Republican pundits, attacking Nick Fuentes and Michelle Malkin for their American First allegiance. Conservative Inc. is scared of the true conservatives exposing them and their big donor’s motives & hypocrisy. Even YAF (Young Americans Foundation) who even recently hosted Michelle Malkin, disavowed “holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists”. A slew of other clips and comments were made by Guy Benson, Michael Knowles, Stephen Miller, Bradon Tatum,Jordan Schachtel, & Matt Walsh.
Twitter threads about Fuentes and Malkin
There is no room in mainstream conservatism or at YAF for holocaust deniers, white nationalists, street brawlers, or racists.
Our full statement below: pic.twitter.com/b5EB7P53v3
— YAF (@yaf) November 17, 2019
The Cancel culture is alive & well—Michelle Malkin is their latest victim. If conservatism dies it’s not because of Trump, the alt-right or a faux Russia collusion. It’s because it’s filled with cowards who enable the delegitimization efforts of the Left https://t.co/1GfpDugUsV
— Denise McAllister (@McAllisterDen) November 18, 2019
Michelle Malkin identified a Holocaust denier & open anti-Semite, whose history she was well aware of, & repeatedly proclaimed to crowds that she would not disavow him. She then falsely ID'd him as a leader of a mainstream movement. Her conduct is insanely harmful & inexcusable.
— Jordan Schachtel (@JordanSchachtel) November 17, 2019
‘Groyper’ leader on segregation:
“Enough with the Jim Crow stuff. Who cares? ‘Oh, I had to drink out of a different water fountain.’ Big f—ing deal…oh no, they had to go to a different school…And even if it was bad, who cares?…it was better for them, it’s better for us.” pic.twitter.com/ZJ7LqpTHgL
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 18, 2019
Wait a second…
Are you telling me the guy who publicly supports Jim Crow, marched with Richard Spencer, says the Holocaust didn't happen, called for executions at CNN, and refers to people as "shabbos goy race traitors" might have a problem with certain racial minorities? https://t.co/BrOxub1r0y
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) November 18, 2019
Problems like that fucking green screen nerd Fuentes usually solve themselves. If Malkin wants to choose to be flushed with that turd, so be it.
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) November 18, 2019
No, I went back and watched your shows. You come across as a racist. If this video is edited, post the unedited version were you don't sound like a white supremacis.
Don't complain about @charliekirk11 when you send your people after him.
— Brandon Tatum (@TheOfficerTatum) November 18, 2019
Hi @michellemalkin. Fuentes called me a "race traitor" and "f*ggot" because I "work for Jews." He also said that black people who complained about segregation needed to "grow up." How do you feel about these statements? And in what way are they "America First"? https://t.co/fz8qcXrRCl
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) November 18, 2019
Tweets Supporting Fuentes and Malkin
The Keepers of the Gate have spoken. #AmericaFirst is not "mainstream." My defense of unjustly prosecuted Proud Boys, patriotic young nationalists/groypers & demographic truth-tellers must not be tolerated. SPLC is cheering. https://t.co/yYyqocx1T5
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) November 17, 2019
When Ben Shapiro wrote his column advocating ethnic cleansing of Arabs, he was about the same age as Nick Fuentes is now.
Yet Shapiro, who expects a pass for his quasi-genocidal columns, offers no decency to those who have said the same type of fucked of shit he was saying.
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) November 17, 2019
— The Hill (@thehill) November 17, 2019
Do you hear that? It's the sound of Kirk screaming. pic.twitter.com/vcT3ISeS6a
— Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) November 18, 2019
No Nation Is An Idea
The concept that “America is a timeless placeholder of ideas” is a common talking point that has been in circulation from both Conservative Inc., and the broader American Left for many years now. This saying is typically used as a divergence from addressing important policies as they pertain to mass immigration. Often, it is also used to stifle the growth of an American National Populist movement. Clearly, the unelected elites calling shots around the Western world seek to undermine valid and critical debate of the role of National Populism. Rather than emphasizing the importance of health, stable families, community, housing, and wages, our leaders have an obsession with growing GDP, doing the bidding of predatory crony capitalists who are constantly pushing to import cheap labor, and retaining power for generations to come.
The fact of the matter is, Americans (and humans in general) seek more than cheap, 4k television sets, quirky tupper-ware for last night’s leftovers, and salad shooters that break after a few uses. We are innately spiritual beings who long for community, order, and social cohesion. The United States of America is not an idea… actually, no nation is an idea. As further disorder ensues among the population, the elites have made sure to use their corporate-funded foot soldiers as a means to promote a very new, Neo-Liberal agenda. This agenda is the concept that the beautiful mountains, forests, and lakes of our Nation would mean absolutely nothing without this arbitrary term of “ideas.” The blood, sweat, and tears American workers shed producing automobiles in Michigan, the early mornings for the farmers of Iowa, and the dedicated fishermen of California, all mean nothing if this is but a plot of land where the British came to talk about the importance of small government.
Although we can appreciate the writings of philosophers like John Stuart Mill, John Locke, and Adam Smith, the “marketplace of ideas” means absolutely nothing to people who see the world completely different than you. It is apparent that the philosophy of our ancestors and founding fathers have changed the world. In an American context, the very concepts of things like liberty, freedom of speech, and the right to bear arms should be held in the highest regard. Among Conservatives and the American Right, these values are not even up for debate. Unfortunately, much of Conservative Inc. (who are just liberals who want to keep more of their money) do not recognize (or are blatantly ignorant to) the sacrifices made by the ones who came before them.
To put this into perspective, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk previously stated, “I have loyalty to ideas.” Kirk says, “Of course I love the Grand Canyon. I love the Rocky Mountains. And I love Boston. And I love Chicago. But if all that disappeared, if all I had was ideas, and we were on an island, that’s America. That’s Israel. And that’s what people have to realize, America’s just a placeholder for timeless ideas. And if you fall too in love with, oh, the specific place, and all this…that’s not what it is.” What Kirk fails to recognize is that the physical reality of a Nation is what manifests those very ideas he holds so dear.
Nations are unique, with celebrations and folktales that those who inhabit the land feel relation to. Nations are made up of a people. Nations are traditions. Nations are land, resources, and landmarks. Nations are history – the good, the bad, and the ugly. No Nation is an idea.