200 Judges

Since 2017, The Senate Republican Majority Has Confirmed 200 Article III Judges, ‘A Generational Remaking Of The Courts’

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “Once we confirm Judge Wilson today, this Senate will have confirmed 200 of President Trump’s nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench. And following number 200, when we depart this chamber today, there will not be a single circuit-court vacancy anywhere in the nation for the first time in at least 40 years. As I’ve said many times, our work with the administration to renew our federal courts is not a partisan or political victory. It is a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself. If judges applying the law and the Constitution as they’re written strikes any of our colleagues as a threat to their political agenda, then the problem, I would argue, is with their agenda.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/24/2020)



Judges Confirmed Since 2017

Supreme Court


Circuit Courts


District Courts


U.S. Court of International Trade




(Congress.gov, Accessed 6/24/2020; U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee)


30% Of All Circuit Judges Have Been Nominated By President Trump And Confirmed By The Republican Senate

Authorized Circuit Court Judgeships: 179
Circuit judges confirmed by 115th – 116th Congresses: 53
Percentage of all authorized circuit judgeships nominated by President Trump and confirmed: 29.6%
 (“Judicial Vacancies,” United States Courts Website, Accessed 6/24/2020; Congress.gov, Accessed 6/24/2020)


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 6/24/2020)


With Judge Wilson’s Confirmation, ‘No Vacancies … Exist On The Nation’s Appeals Courts, The Judicial Level Where Most Of The Major Rulings Are Handed Down,’ The First Time That’s Happened In At Least 40 Years

“Mitch McConnell is following his one true credo: Leave no judicial vacancy behind. On Thursday, the Senate confirmed the 52nd federal appeals court judge of the Trump era to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — commonly known as the second most important court in the land …” (“McConnell Nears His Benchmark,” The New York Times, 6/18/2020)

  • “Next up is Cory Wilson of Mississippi … If confirmed next week to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, he would be the 53rd circuit court judge nominated by Mr. Trump and placed on the bench under the stewardship of Mr. McConnell. Upon Judge Wilson’s confirmation, no vacancies would exist on the nation’s appeals courts, the judicial level where most of the major rulings are handed down. No vacancy would be left behind.” (“McConnell Nears His Benchmark,” The New York Times, 6/18/2020)

This is the first time since at least 1981 with no circuit court vacancies recorded. ("Archive of Judicial Vacancies," Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts Website, Accessed 6/24/2020)


‘The Executor Of This Aggressive Push Is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,’ ‘McConnell’s Pace Of Filling Federal Court Seats Has Been Eye-Popping’

“The executor of this aggressive push is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is almost singularly focused on reshaping the federal judiciary …” (“1 In Every 4 Circuit Court Judges Is Now A Trump Appointee,” The Washington Post, 12/21/2019)

“President Barack Obama had 55 circuit court judges confirmed over eight years, underscoring the breakneck pace of the Republican effort over four. Mr. Trump has now selected more than a quarter of the nation’s federal appeals court judges.” (“McConnell Nears His Benchmark,” The New York Times, 6/18/2020)

“[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)

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

“Trump’s appointments have flipped three circuit courts to majority GOP-appointed judges, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York. The president has also selected younger conservatives for these lifetime appointments, ensuring his impact is felt for many years.” (“1 In Every 4 Circuit Court Judges Is Now A Trump Appointee,” The Washington Post, 12/21/2019)

“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 2019] 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 2019], gaining a 7-6 Republican-appointed majority following the Senate’s confirmation of Steven Menashi, the fifth Trump appointee to that court. In March [2019], 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)

“[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)


Just Last Week, The Senate Confirmed Judge Justin Walker To The D.C. Circuit Court Of Appeals

On Thursday, the Senate confirmed the 52nd federal appeals court judge of the Trump era to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — commonly known as the second most important court in the land … The outcome was particularly sweet for Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, since the court’s newest member is 38-year-old Justin Walker, a native of Mr. McConnell’s hometown, Louisville, whom the senator first met when Mr. Walker interviewed him for a high school research paper. Mr. McConnell personally lobbied President Trump to choose Judge Walker, a former intern in his office, for the powerful job.” (“McConnell Nears His Benchmark,” The New York Times, 6/18/2020)

“Walker’s nomination also underscores the influence of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the conservative transformation of the federal judiciary under Trump …” (“Trump Taps Former Kavanaugh Clerk To Fill Vacancy On Powerful D.C. Appeals Court,” The Washington Post, 4/03/2020)

  • “‘I think you cannot credibly argue that Justin Walker is not a judicial all-star,’ McConnell said in an interview with The Washington Post in advance of the announcement Friday, ticking off his academic and legal credentials. Chief among them are Walker’s clerkships with former Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and Kavanaugh during his tenure on the D.C. Circuit. Both Kennedy and Kavanaugh privately recommended Walker for the D.C. Circuit vacancy in conversations with Trump … Even more active was McConnell. He knows Walker’s grandfather and first met Walker when he interviewed the future majority leader for an article for his high school newspaper. McConnell had previously recommended Walker for the Western District seat and in January, accompanied the judge to the Oval Office to meet the president … Trump, McConnell recalled, came away impressed with Walker during the 15-minute conversation and connected well with him. Walker is the youngest nominee to the D.C. Circuit since 1983, and the first from outside Washington since 2005. ‘I thought it might be a good idea to go outside the Beltway’ for the D.C. vacancy, McConnell said.” (“Trump Taps Former Kavanaugh Clerk To Fill Vacancy On Powerful D.C. Appeals Court,” The Washington Post, 4/03/2020)


Democrats Can Thank Themselves For Paving The Way Towards This Milestone

“[In 2013] Democrats changed [Senate] rules to eliminate the 60-vote threshold [for nearly all nominations], unintentionally clearing the way for the onslaught of conservative judges following the election of Mr. Trump. The day of the 2013 showdown, Mr. McConnell warned Democrats they would regret the move someday soon. Watching Judge Walker step one rung below the Supreme Court, many Democrats probably now concede that Mr. McConnell was right.” (“McConnell Nears His Benchmark,” The New York Times, 6/18/2020)

“Sen. Chuck Schumer lamented Tuesday the Democrats’ move to diminish the number of senators needed to confirm Cabinet picks from 60 votes to 51, because the new rule now hurts his party.” (“Schumer: I Wish We Hadn't Triggered ‘Nuclear Option’” CNN, 1/03/2017)

  • SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): “[I]n 2013, out of desperation, I came to this floor and voted to change the rules … I have said on this floor before that that is the worst vote I have taken as a Senator … I share some of the responsibility for where we find ourselves today. The majority leader said at that time: ‘You’re going to come to regret this decision.’ And I will say this about him: He was right.” (Sen. Bennet, Congressional Record, S. 2214-15, 4/03/2019)



Related Issues: Judicial Nominations, Nominations