President Joe Biden is moving to undo the legacy of ex-President Donald Trump that got left behind in the nation’s judicial system. Towards the end of last month, Biden announced 11 nominees for the federal judiciary, and as outlined in a new report from Washington Monthly, Biden is well-poised to flip overall majorities in the federal judiciary back to Democrats after the quick pace of Trump’s judicial nominees and confirmations.
Biden's first set of judicial nominations is the beginning of something big:
"Almost certainly by the end of this Congress, the majority of lower court seats will be filled by Democratic appointees." https://t.co/KFLmTGRGkP
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 6, 2021
At present, seven of the nation’s 13 appeals courts have GOP-appointed majorities, and across the judiciary as a whole, Republicans could count 17 more appellate and district-level judges as nominees of GOP presidents at the end of Trump’s term — but these majorities are thin, and there are enough vacancies across the federal judiciary to flip the overall majority right back to Democrats. As of April 4, the federal judiciary had a total of 97 current and imminent vacancies for judgeships that come with lifetime appointments, and 52 of those seats have been most recently filled by a Republican. Fifty-two vacancies seems well above the GOP’s current judicial majority!
‘Joe Biden’s first set of judicial nominations this week is the beginning of something big: almost certainly by the end of this Congress, the majority of lower court seats will be filled by Democratic appointees.’
Across his presidency, Trump’s judicial nominations filled a lower portion of the overall federal judiciary than nominations from the eras of his two most recent predecessors. Trump got 231 judges confirmed, equating to 27 percent of the available federal judgeship spots — Barack Obama and George W. Bush, though, got 327 and 326 judicial nominees confirmed, respectively. As of this January, Obama-appointed judges made up the largest share of the federal judiciary appointed by a single president, although past Republican holdovers combined with Trump’s appointees gave the GOP a slim majority overall.
As for Biden’s nominees, the Biden administration seems intent on moving quickly to fill judicial vacancies. In their formal announcement of the president’s recent picks, the Biden team stated that none of the preceding four presidential administrations had unveiled so many Circuit and District Court nominees by corresponding points of their tenures. Biden said that his nominees are “deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people — and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong.”