Barely 118 days into office, President Trump’s administration is already mired in controversy and scandal. Amid the bombshell report that he may have fired Comey to cover up his transition team’s alleged wrongdoing in the 2016 election, Trump is in a precarious situation.
Facing the prospect of a special prosecutor implicating him in a conspiracy to collude with Russia in stealing the election, Trump is away from the country and at the complete mercy of the mainstream media. Yet Republicans and conservatives may still have reason to maintain optimism in spite of Trump’s woes.
Federal Court Vacancies Represent Low Hanging Fruit for Conservative Judges
Currently, there are roughly 130 vacant lower court seats. Trump gets to fill these vacancies regardless of the turmoil surrounding his administration. If the ten judges that Trump has just nominated to federal vacancies are anything to go by the White House is taking this job seriously. All the nominees have come with impressive track records and are mostly conservative.
The appointees are also quite young meaning that these smart and talented judges will shape the law in this country not just during Trump’s administration but for many years to come. It has already been confirmed that Trump aims to fill all the court seats that are up for grabs regularly during his first term. The past two presidents, President Obama and President George W. Bush each filled about 300 federal court seats during their terms.
Rumors Surrounding Justice Kennedy
As the first nominee for the Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch settles into office, there are rumors that President Trump may have a second Supreme Court vacancy to fill. There is speculation that Justice Antony Kennedy may retire later in the year or in 2018 following the remarks of Senator Ted Cruz and Chuck Grassley.
Though Justice Antony Kennedy has refused to comment on these allegations, there are several signs that the 80-year-old justice is getting ready to retire after nearly to 30 years of service.
President Trump said that if the Justice Antony Kennedy retires, he will still use the list of proposed justices he released during his campaign. Though the remaining 20 on the list lean to the right in varying degrees, some are bolder than others. As such, it is unclear whether his pick will solidify a conservative majority or remain as the swing vote just like Justice Antony Kennedy.
So Why Is the Rumor That Justice Antony Kennedy May Soon Retire Causing Panic Among Democrats?
Well, his choice to the Supreme Court may in more ways than one affect how the next general elections play out. Also, depending on whether the Trump administration can weather the current storm, the president could get several more chances to nominate Supreme Court judges.
If he sticks to his plan to appoint conservative, young and talented minds, he has an unfettered path towards reshaping the nation’s highest courts for decades to come.
The Battle to Reshape the U.S. Judicial System Could Translate Into a Groundswell of Conservative Support
Trump’s judicial nominees could end up being his most lasting legacy, not to mention the impact that his choices could have with Republican voters in 2020. Anyone who doubts the significance of this factor, need only consult an ABC exit poll conducted on that ominous day, Nov. 8, 2016. It shows that of the American voters who cited the Supreme Court as a decisive factor in their decision, Trump won the lion share of their votes ― a whopping 57 percent.
The fact that President Trump may have one if not more supreme court vacancies to fill in the near future could mean an even larger turnout by Republicans during the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 general election.
Republicans salivate at the thought of appointing a second or third conservative judge, and if another term on Trump term turns this possibility into a reality, it is quite likely that Republicans will continue to hold their noses and support the President, despite his many shortcomings.
The fact that there are only 51 “yes” votes required instead of the previous 60 means that the current Senate is decidedly friendly. Trump’s judicial nominees will encounter little if any opposition. It is, therefore, safe to say that there has never been a better time for a Republican president to add more conservative judges to the Supreme Court, and federal courts in this country.
Democrats, on the other hand may want to brace themselves in the event of turbulent times ahead.