In Less Than Three Years, President Trump Has Appointed And The Republican Senate Has Confirmed 50 Circuit Judges, More Than Any President’s First Full Term Since 1980


More Than One Out Of Every Four Circuit Judges Has Been Nominated By President Trump And Confirmed By The Republican Senate

Authorized Circuit Court Judgeships: 179
Circuit judges confirmed by 115th – 116th Congresses: 50
Percentage of all authorized circuit judgeships nominated by President Trump and confirmed: 28%
(“Judicial Vacancies,” United States Courts Website, Accessed 12/11/2019; Congress.gov, Accessed 12/11/2019)

In Less Than Three Years, The Senate Has Confirmed The Most Circuit Judges In A President’s First Term Since 1980



Circuit Court Judges Confirmed

Donald Trump



Barack Obama



George W. Bush



Bill Clinton



George H.W. Bush



Ronald Reagan



("Biographical Directory of Article III Federal Judges, 1789-present," History of the Federal Judiciary, Federal Judicial Center Website, Accessed 12/11/2019)

“In less than three years as president, President Trump has done nearly as much to shape the courts as President Obama did in eight years.” (“What Trump Has Done To The Courts, Explained,” Vox, 12/09/2019)

  • “On the courts of appeal, the final word in the overwhelming majority of federal cases, more than one-quarter of active judges are Trump appointees. In less than three years, Trump has named a total of [50] judges to these courts — compared to the 55 Obama appointed during his entire presidency.” (“What Trump Has Done To The Courts, Explained,” Vox, 12/09/2019)

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): “… Mitch McConnell has converted the United States Senate into a machine to approve judges…. Americans need to understand that half of the Congress is a machine to approve Donald Trump’s judges.” (“Democratic Congressman Complains McConnell Has Turned Senate Into A ‘Machine To Approve Judges,’” Washington Examiner, 12/05/2019)

“McConnell views judicial nominations as a top priority, and the party’s best shot at having a long-term influence on the direction of the country. Republicans have made it a priority to nominate young, conservative judicial picks who could theoretically hold their lifetime appointments for decades.” (“Senate Confirms Eight Trump Court Picks In Three Days,” The Hill, 12/05/2019)


‘[W]ith McConnell’s Help, Trump Is Making His Mark On The San Francisco-Based 9th Circuit, The Longtime Liberal Bastion’

“[W]ith McConnell’s help, Trump is making his mark on the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, the longtime liberal bastion …” (“McConnell, Eyeing Legacy, Turns Senate Into Machine for Conservative Judges,” Bloomberg News, 8/12/2019)

President Trump has appointed 10 judges to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, more than to any other circuit. ("Biographical Directory of Article III Federal Judges, 1789-present," History of the Federal Judiciary, Federal Judicial Center Website, Accessed 12/11/2019)

  1. Mark J. Bennett of Hawaii
  2. Ryan D. Nelson of Idaho
  3. Eric D. Miller of Washington
  4. Bridget S. Bade of Arizona
  5. Kenneth K. Lee of California
  6. Daniel P. Collins of California
  7. Daniel A. Bress of California
  8. Danielle J. Hunsaker of Oregon
  9. Patrick J. Bumatay of California
  10. Lawrence VanDyke of Nevada


After Flipping The 2nd, 3rd, And 11th Circuits, A Majority Of The Federal Appellate Courts Now Have More Republican-Appointed Judges Than Democrat-Appointed Judges

“When Trump took office, only four of the 13 [federal appellate courts] had more Republican-appointed judges than Democratic selections. Now seven do.” (Reuters, 11/20/2019)

  • “U.S. Courts of Appeals, which review decisions from federal trial courts, wield a great deal of power. They often have the final word in interpreting federal law because the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, hears fewer than 100 cases a year.” (“Courting Change,” Reuters, 11/20/2019)

“The Senate confirmed yet another of President Trump's picks to a federal circuit court seat [in November] in a vote that tilts the balance of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to a GOP-appointed majority. The 11th Circuit is now the third court to undergo such a transformation during Trump's presidency.” (“Confirmation Of Latest Trump Judicial Pick Tilts Balance Of 11th Circuit Court,” Fox News, 11/20/2019)

  • “The 2nd Circuit flipped [in November], gaining a 7-6 Republican-appointed majority following the Senate’s confirmation of Steven Menashi, the fifth Trump appointee to that court. In March, a Trump appointee confirmed by the Senate to the 3rd Circuit gave that court an 8-6 Republican-appointed majority, including four Trump nominees.” (Reuters, 11/20/2019)


‘Based Solely On Objective Legal Credentials, The Average Trump Appointee Has A Far More Impressive Résumé Than Any Past President’s Nominees’

“Trump hasn’t simply given lots of lifetime appointments to lots of lawyers. He’s filled the bench with some of the smartest … men and women to be found in the conservative movement. Long after Trump leaves office, these judges will shape American law …” (“What Trump Has Done To The Courts, Explained,” Vox, 12/09/2019)

  • “[President Trump’s] picks [for the federal bench] include leading academics, Supreme Court litigators, and already prominent judges who now enjoy even more power within the judiciary…. Approximately 40 percent of Trump’s appellate nominees clerked for a Supreme Court justice, and about 80 percent clerked on a federal court of appeals. That compares to less than a quarter of Obama’s nominees who clerked on the Supreme Court, and less than half with a federal appellate clerkship. In other words, based solely on objective legal credentials, the average Trump appointee has a far more impressive résumé than any past president’s nominees.” (“What Trump Has Done To The Courts, Explained,” Vox, 12/09/2019)


‘The Trump Administration’s Indispensable Partner In Seating Two Supreme Court Justices And [Numerous] Lower-Court Judges,’ ‘McConnell Is Giving The Nation’s Federal Courts A Facelift’

“[Q]uietly and methodically, McConnell is giving the nation’s federal courts a facelift … [a] silent but incredibly consequential judicial overhaul …” (“McConnell’s GOP Haters Are Overlooking His Greatest Achievement,” The Daily Beast, 5/11/2018)

“The judicial renaissance, led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has energized a party wowed by the number of judges placed on the federal bench … Mr. McConnell has come to define his legacy by his ability to transform the judiciary, calling the confirmations ‘the most significant, long-term contribution we are making to the country’ in an interview with a Kentucky radio station last week.” (“Trump’s Judicial Nominees Take Heat but Largely Keep Marching Through Senate,” The New York Times, 12/11/2018)

  • “[McConnell] was the Trump administration’s indispensable partner in seating two Supreme Court justices and [numerous] lower-court judges: a generational remaking of the courts that has made McConnell, ‘in my view, the most consequential majority leader, certainly, in modern history,’ says Leonard Leo, the conservative legal activist who serves as executive vice president of the Federalist Society and as an adviser to the Trump administration on the court appointments.” (The New York Times Magazine, 1/22/2019)



Related Issues: Nominations, Judicial Nominations