Public Comment

Judicial Appointments

Jagjit Singh
Monday January 01, 2018 - 04:18:00 PM

In contrast with Trump’s much hyped appointment of supreme court justice, Neil Gorsuch, appellate appointments have received scant media attention. What is even more disturbing are appointments to the lower courts which have the most impact on American life.

For example, last year the 13 circuit courts, rendered 60,000 opinions compared to the Supreme Court’s 62. Trial courts write several hundred thousand opinions per year.  

Trump’s appointments have received withering criticism from the American Bar Association (ABA). Many of his appointees have drawn scrutiny, including Leonard Grasz, whom the Senate confirmed earlier this month to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals despite a “not qualified” rating from the ABA. Meanwhile, Trump’s nominee to a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court in Washington withdrew from consideration, after a widely circulated video showed he was unable to answer basic questions about the law and had never tried a case in court. 

A staggering 150 backlog of vacancies exist in federal courts or about 10 percent of the federal judiciary, largely due to Republican obstruction of confirmations during the Obama administration.  

Another of Trump’s “brilliant nominations” was Texas lawyer Jeff Mateer, who has called transgender children evidence of “Satan’s plan,” and blogger Brett Talley, who was rated “unanimously unqualified” for a judicial post by the ABA. The lower courts have become filleded with very conservative judges, all of whom who have life tenure,of approximately 30 to 40 years, which will have a huge impact on American life for decades.