Thus far in his first term, President Donald Trump has made a record number of federal judiciary appointments. Now, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is advancing a plan that would allow him to add even more.
In an interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt this week, Graham called on aging judges to step down so the president can select their replacements, The Washington Times reported.
Calling it a “historic opportunity” to stack the courts with conservatives, the senator noted that the Trump administration has already added nearly 200 federal judges over the past three years.
“If you can get four more years, I mean, it would change the judiciary for several generations,” he said of the possibility of adding judges in a second Trump term, according to The Guardian.
In any case, Graham declared that this “would be a good time” for conservative judges to step down in order to “make sure the judiciary is right of center,” The Guardian added.
He called specifically on circuit judges in their mid-to-late 60s, suggesting that they “take senior status,” which is a type of semi-retirement available to judges older than 65 who have served at least 15 years on the bench.
Appointing conservative judges was a central promise in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. As a White House statement released last fall asserted, shaping the federal judiciary remained an important issue in his presidency.
“President Trump is committed to appointing judges who set aside their personal views and political prejudices to do what the Constitution and the law demand,” the statement read.
The administration went on to assert that such “work is especially important due to the left-wing’s push to throw away legal precedent and to abandon the Constitution in order to impose its own radical agenda.”
As The Washington Post reported in December, approximately 25% of all federal circuit court judges have been appointed by Trump.
The nation’s highest court, however, appears to be a different story. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made it clear that he would push for confirmation of a third U.S. Supreme Court nominee, there is no indication that such a vacancy will open before Election Day.
Still, pundits on both sides of the aisle have long recognized the transformative power of the judicial branch. As Trump’s supporters have seen since he was inaugurated in 2017, this administration is dedicated to capitalizing on that potential.