Terrifying: 1 in 6 Circuit Court Seats Is Now Held by a Judge Nominated by Trump

Jennifer Bendery's work at The Huffington Post covering Donald Trump's judicial nominations is indispensable. Her latest is no exception: Trump's Judicial Nominees Aren't Just Ideologues — They're Really Young.
Senate Republicans voted Monday night to advance the nomination of Allison Jones Rushing, yet another of [Donald] Trump's judicial nominees who are troubling for a number of reasons.

Rushing worked for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has argued that there were "moral and practical" reasons for banning same-sex marriage.

But it's her age that may be most notable: She is 37. If she gets confirmed this week, as expected, she will be the youngest federal judge in the country.
Jones Rushing has practiced law for only nine years. But experience isn't a requisite qualification for Trump judges — who are more likely selected by Mike Pence, at the recommendation of the conservative Federalist Society, which has been "driving Trump's judicial selection process and funneling anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ nominees to the White House." The primary — indeed only — qualification is being a conservative ideologue who will limit the rights of marginalized people and protect privilege (and the people who enjoy it).

And the process by which they're being confirmed is profoundly shady, being driven by unethical dirtbag and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been laying the groundwork to reshape the judiciary for a decade, obstructing President Barack Obama's ability to get his judicial nominees confirmed. McConnell didn't just hold open a Supreme Court seat in anticipation of a Republican president; he also held open more than 100 federal court seats. Now he's filling them as quickly as possible.
To some observers, the age of these nominees is part of a bigger problem of Republicans not taking the review process seriously and blowing through Senate customs to confirm as many of Trump's circuit court nominees as possible. Circuit courts are often the last word in federal court cases. The Supreme Court hears only about 100 to 150 appeals of the more than 7,000 cases that come before the nation's 13 circuit courts each year.

"[This week's nominees] may lack life experience and will be serving many years after Trump … enjoying life tenure on the 'Supreme Courts' for their regions because the Supreme Court hears so few cases," said Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor and an expert in judicial nominations. "Many are also being confirmed on extremely close votes and some on party-line votes with insufficiently rigorous vetting."

Rushing didn't even have a real confirmation hearing. The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman at the time, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), scheduled her hearing last fall when the Senate was out of session and few senators were in town. Not a single Democrat could attend the hearing. Just two Republicans attended, and neither one asked tough questions.

McConnell has made judicial confirmations a top priority and has already helped Trump dramatically reshape the federal courts. To date, Trump has gotten 31 circuit judges, 53 district judges and two Supreme Court justices confirmed. That's so many circuit judges ― more than any other president confirmed by this point in his first term ― that 1 in 6 seats on the U.S. circuit courts is filled by a judge nominated by Trump.
Emphasis mine.

This is what they've managed to accomplish in two years (following the groundwork laid by McConnell). Imagine what they'll do in two more. Or six more.

Imagine a Mike Pence presidency where the judiciary is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oval Office.

The Republican Party, led by Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and Mike Pence — and let us never forget the contributions of erstwhile Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan — are reshaping the judiciary to ensure that it has little power or wont to provide checks and balances on the executive branch.

Right now, with the exception of newly-empowered House Democrats, the courts are We the People's only possibly remedy to Trump's attempts to subvert our democracy permanently. The courts are where we turn to deliver checks and consequences on a president who has zero respect for the rule of law or democratic norms.

The GOP knows that. And they want to remove that barrier to their goal of unfettered power. Chillingly, it's working.

One of many reasons why it is urgent to remove this regime from office as swiftly as possible. Preferably, two years ago.

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