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White House moving to fill judicial seats
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Kaplony Offline
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White House moving to fill judicial seats

Quote:With the successful confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a confident White House is now quietly turning its attention to filling the lower federal courts.

There are currently 137 vacancies, giving President Trump a chance to move the judiciary sharply to the right.

It is something past presidents have done, creating a political and ideological legacy that far outlasts their tenure in office. And it gives the White House a ready team of possible candidates for the biggest political and professional prize – a seat on the Supreme Court, in the event of another vacancy.

"The trend is to look to young judges on the lower courts to fill Supreme Court seats when they open up," said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the progressive Constitutional Accountability Center. "That gives you several decades of influence on the high court."

Quote:Many court watchers say with a Republican-led Senate, the president has a unique opportunity to take the offensive when it comes to the third branch of government.

"What he now needs to do is replicate the success of Justice Gorsuch on a massive scale throughout the courts of appeals and district courts," said Thomas Dupree, a former top Justice Department official in the Bush White House.

Government sources say the pending nominations also give key judges -- like state supreme court justices Allison Eid, of Colorado; Joan Larsen, of Michigan; and David Stras, of Minnesota -- valuable experience in the federal nomination process, should they one day be tapped for the Supreme Court.

Quote:There had been a good deal of misplaced anticipation in late June that Justice Anthony Kennedy would step aside after nearly 30 years on the high court. But the court recessed for a three-month break with no signs the senior associate justice and key "swing" vote on that court was ready to leave.

Kennedy's eventual retirement would create a massive political fight, since his replacement could move the court strongly to the right -- or left -- depending on the person occupying the Oval Office. Kennedy turns 81 this month.

Strongly working in Trump's favor is a change in Senate rules first used for the Grouch nomination, ending a longstanding "filibuster" rule that required a 60-vote threshold to approve nominees to the high court.

Now only a simple majority is needed, the same standard that has applied to other federal judicial picks.
07-14-2017 06:11 PM
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