Thanks to Republican intransigence during President Barack Obama's tenure, President Donald Trump is going to fill more than 100 vacancies in the federal court system. But we now know that the Trump administration's strategy on filling these vacancies won't be finding the best-qualified candidates. It'll be finding the youngest possible judges to enact a conservative philosophy for as long as possible.
The White House is "interviewing lawyers in their late 30s and early 40s for federal judgeships," according to Politico, noting that "some are not 'seasoned litigators,' but they are 'very well qualified.' Another Republican legal-world source said the interview pool has included conservative law professors and U.S. attorneys in their late 30s."
There's a nearly two-year backlog in judicial vacancies, the Washington Post noted in December — one that stretches back to 2005, when the GOP took control of the Senate and began its two-year-long obstructionist campaign.
Twenty-five of Obama’s court nominees were pending on the Senate floor, after having been approved out of the committee with bipartisan support, but did not get a vote before the Senate ended its two-year term before the holidays, according to White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
As with Trump's selection of Neil Gorsuch to fill Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court vacancy, he's likely to lean on conservative groups, such as the Heritage Foundation, to fill the ranks in the judiciary, the Post also reported.
State gun control laws, abortion restrictions, voter laws, anti-discrimination measures and immigrant issues are all matters that are increasingly heard by federal judges and will be influenced by the new composition of the courts. Trump has vowed to choose ideologues in the mold of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon — a prospect that has activists on the right giddy.
Trump's list "is a departure from the Obama administration, which mostly stuck to older, experienced legal professionals for judgeships," according to Politico. "Republican presidents historically pick younger lawyers for judgeships compared to Democratic presidents."