The number of federal judges President Donald Trump has appointed and seen confirmed during his tenure is certain to be a centerpiece of his legacy, and another milestone in this realm was reached on Wednesday.
In a party-line vote of 52–48, the Senate confirmed Cory Wilson to sit on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals — and with that vote, Wilson became the 200th judge nominated by President Trump to ascend to the federal bench, The Hill reported.
In addition to reaching that impressive milestone, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also noted that Wilson’s confirmation marked a separate noteworthy achievement in that there are currently no longer any vacancies on any of the influential circuit courts across the nation.
“As I’ve said many times, our work with the administration to renew our federal courts is not a partisan or political victory. It is a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor, according to The Hill.
The majority leader also took a shot during his remarks at his Democratic colleagues who have so staunchly obstructed and opposed nearly all of Trump’s nominees, often for unrelated or vaguely stated reasons.
“If judges applying the law and the Constitution as they’re written strikes any of our colleagues as a threat to their political agenda, then the problem, I would argue, is with their agenda,” McConnell said, as The Hill reported.
Lasting legacy for Trump
It has been no secret that confirming conservative and originalist judges to the federal courts has been McConnell’s top priority throughout Trump’s term in office, and he and the White House have worked at a record-setting pace to do just that.
According to Forbes, Trump and McConnell have worked together to appoint and confirm two Supreme Court justices and two U.S. Court of International Trade judges, as well as 143 judges at the district court level and 53 judges at the circuit court level.
The last time a first-term president achieved this many successful judicial confirmations was when Jimmy Carter was in office, according to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). As for the fact that the circuit courts are now completely full of confirmed judges, Forbes noted that President Ronald Reagan was in office the last time there were no vacancies at that level of the federal judiciary.
With regard to the notion that these judicial confirmations will go down as President Trump’s longest-lasting legacy, that comes from the fact that virtually all of his appointees are relatively young and will be serving life tenures, meaning the vast majority will still be handing down rulings long after Trump leaves office, whether in 2021 or 2025.
Going for the record
Still, even if President Trump wins a second term in office, he’ll be hard-pressed to achieve the record for the most successful judicial confirmations overall. That record stands at 402 confirmations and is held by President Reagan, with former President Bill Clinton in second place at 387 total judicial confirmations, according to Forbes.
Perhaps within reach for Trump, however, is the tally achieved by former President Barack Obama, who managed to see confirmed a total of 329 judges at all levels over his two terms. Only time will tell if Trump hits that mark — but he certainly won’t stop trying.