Trump is remaking our federal courts – and we are fed up with it. In just three years, the Senate has confirmed 50 Trump judges into lifetime seats on the circuit courts. These judges now make up over 25% of the nation’s federal circuit court judgeships.
Here’s a picture of all 50 Trump Circuit Court judges. Notice a pattern?
Not only is Trump nominating many judges with far-right extreme views, but who he has confirmed fails to reflect the diversity of our country. In the Circuit Court of Appeals, 78% of Trump’s nominees are male and 86% of nominees are White. None are Black. In fact, there are more judges named Chad nominated by Trump than Black Circuit Court judges. And there are more Michaels nominated than there are women of color. In fact, Trump confirmed his first and only Latinx judge just last November.
Another painful fact: the average age of circuit judges appointed by President Trump is less than 50 years old – a full 10 years younger than the average age of President Obama’s circuit nominees. The youngest confirmed judge is Fourth Circuit judge Allison Rushing, who was 36 at the time of her confirmation- she could be on the court for a half a century. While this Administration’s hateful actions may be undone, these lifetime-appointed judges will be rendering decisions that could continue to undermine our rights for decades to come.
You might be asking yourself: how much impact can these judges have? Well, in 2018, the Circuit Courts of Appeals received almost 50,000 case filings. However, the Supreme Court only receives about 7,000 filings and hears about 100 cases a year, meaning that the circuit courts have the last word on so many issues that affect everyday people. When the roster of judges who are opining on these cases are not representative of the populations most impacted by these decisions, it’s a problem. When judges lack understanding of the real-life implications of their rulings, it’s a problem. When the courts are stacked with young conservative ideologues who are putting their personal biases over their duties to uphold the law and rolling back progress for decades to come, it’s a problem.
And it’s a problem we must stop in its tracks.
The courts are an essential fabric of our democracy. While Senators confirm judges, we the people are the ones whose lives are impacted by their decisions. We must galvanize each other to fight tooth and nail for every judgeship, from the district courts to the Supreme Court. We need to make sure that the courts are filled with people who look like us and will protect our rights. Courts matter.
And for that reason, our fight for the judiciary is far from over.