‘A New Milestone’ In Reshaping The Courts

‘With McConnell’s Help, Trump Is Making His Mark’ On The Federal Judiciary: In 2017 Only Four Of The Thirteen Federal Appellate Courts Had A Majority Of Republican-Appointed Judges, And Now Seven Do


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 Wednesday 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)

  • “With an 80-15 vote, the Senate confirmed Barbara Lagoa to the seat formerly held by Judge Stanley Marcus, a Clinton appointee … Lagoa, the first Cuban-American woman confirmed to the 11th Circuit, tilts that court, which was previously split between six Republican appointees and six Democratic appointees, to a GOP-appointed majority. Trump's nominees alone now hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit…. Lagoa's confirmation comes on the heels of 64-31 vote confirming Robert J. Luck to the 11th Circuit Tuesday.” (“Confirmation Of Latest Trump Judicial Pick Tilts Balance Of 11th Circuit Court,” Fox News, 11/20/2019)

“The action represented a new milestone in Trump’s dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary, with Republican-appointed judges now in the majority in the 11th Circuit, whose majority before Trump took office in January 2017 had been Democratic appointees.” (Reuters, 11/20/2019)

  • “The 11th Circuit now has five Trump appointees, and a 7-5 majority of Republican-named judges.” (Reuters, 11/20/2019)

“The 2nd Circuit flipped just last week, 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)

“And with McConnell’s help, Trump is making his mark on the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, the longtime liberal bastion that has drawn the president’s repeated ire. The 9th Circuit now has 16 Democratic appointees and [13] Republican appointees, compared with 18 and 7 when Trump took office. Another term for Trump could let him transform that court.” (“McConnell, Eyeing Legacy, Turns Senate Into Machine for Conservative Judges,” Bloomberg News, 8/12/2019)


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: 48
Percentage of all authorized circuit judgeships nominated by President Trump and confirmed: 27%
(“Judicial Vacancies,” United States Courts Website, Accessed 11/21/2019; Congress.gov, Accessed 11/21/2019)

“The tally means one-quarter of all appellate court judges will have been installed by Mr. Trump.” (“Trump And Senate Republicans Celebrate Making The Courts More Conservative,” The New York Times, 11/06/2019)

“McConnell, R-Ky., and Trump have made a point of filling federal courts, from the Supreme Court on down to district courts.” (“Confirmation Of Latest Trump Judicial Pick Tilts Balance Of 11th Circuit Court,” Fox News, 11/20/2019)


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 11/21/2019)

“The results have been striking. Mr. Trump has seated about a dozen more appellate court nominees than his most recent predecessor and the most since 1980, when President Jimmy Carter expanded the courts.” (“Trump And Senate Republicans Celebrate Making The Courts More Conservative,” The New York Times, 11/06/2019)

“Now in his third year of office, Trump has appointed 48 judges to the U.S. appeals courts — a record pace. By comparison, Democratic former President Barack Obama appointed 55 appellate court judges during his eight years in office. Trump appointees have already tilted the ideological balance of the 2nd, 3rd and 11th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal …” (“Courting Change,” Reuters, 11/20/2019)


‘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