Democrats famously shot themselves in the political foot in 2013 when they removed the filibuster option for judicial confirmations in Senate.
Four years later, Republicans now in control are using that decision to their advantage to help President Trump — in the words Barack H. Obama — ‘fundamentally transform’ the federal judiciary.
Whilst the Trump administration and Congress are mired in a very public sort of do-nothing reputation after failing to repeal Obamacare and, so far, to pass a tax reform bill, some very significant things are happening in the courts.
Trump has filled vacancies in federal courts faster than any president since Richard Nixon–almost nine appellate judges to be exact.
And he’s done it by creating a not-so-public team whose sole job is to find conservative judges, vet them and get nominated and confirmed.
If this is the only legacy from the Trump era, it’s already huge.
Here’s more from PJ Media…
In the weeks before Donald J. Trump took office, lawyers joining his administration gathered at a law firm near the Capitol, where Donald F. McGahn II, the soon-to-be White House counsel, filled a white board with a secret battle plan to fill the federal appeals courts with young and deeply conservative judges.
Mr. McGahn, instructed by Mr. Trump to maximize the opportunity to reshape the judiciary, mapped out potential nominees and a strategy, according to two people familiar with the effort: Start by filling vacancies on appeals courts with multiple openings and where Democratic senators up for re-election next year in states won by Mr. Trump — like Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania — could be pressured not to block his nominees. And to speed them through confirmation, avoid clogging the Senate with too many nominees for the district courts, where legal philosophy is less crucial.
Nearly a year later, that plan is coming to fruition. Mr. Trump has already appointed eight appellate judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard M. Nixon, and on Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to send a ninth appellate nominee — Mr. Trump’s deputy White House counsel, Gregory Katsas — to the floor.
Republicans are systematically filling appellate seats they held open during President Barack Obama’s final two years in office with a particularly conservative group of judges with life tenure. Democrats — who in late 2013 abolished the ability of 41 lawmakers to block such nominees with a filibuster, then quickly lost control of the Senate — have scant power to stop them.