With his selection from Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill a Supreme Court position on Saturday, Trump has made his third High Court nomination in just under four years. If Barrett is confirmed, Trump will have appointed the most judges in court in a tenure since President Richard Nixon. She would join Trump’s other appointments, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, to create a 6-3 Conservative majority.
It’s a fact that Trump is likely to love. He is known to be obsessed with legacies – both undermining that of his predecessor, President Barack Obama, and starting his own. With the Supreme Court, he has just achieved both. At a rose garden ceremony at the White House where Barrett was unveiled on Saturday, Trump appeared to be enjoying this piece of his heritage as he stood next to Barrett and looked at hundreds of invited guests. American flags were positioned along the colonnade.
“This is my third such nomination,” he said, “and it is a very proud moment indeed.”
Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said that with the Barrett nomination, the Supreme Court reshuffle links two more events that have already defined his first term: his impeachment and his sluggish response to the coronavirus. And since Trump – unlike many other presidents – has not faced a major foreign policy crisis, these issues are even more important.
“There is no question that three Supreme Court justices are Donald Trump’s most tangible accomplishment,” Brinkley said. “These are dates that will change the future of America for decades to come. It will be undeniable. “
Barrett, who has served on the 7th Court of Appeals since late 2017, would replace a liberal icon, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away last week.
Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, a conservative advocacy group that has worked closely with the administration in appointing judicial officers, said Trump “probably did more than any other president to remember to restore constitutionalism in court.”
The Democrats recognized the seismic shift that is on trial. When Trump took office, the court in the middle was ideologically divided after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked Obama’s candidate – who would have established a progressive majority – during his final year in office.
“Everything is in balance with this nomination,” House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. She ticked a laundry list on topics central to progressives: “A woman’s constitutional right to make her own medical decisions about her own body, LGBTQ Americans’ right to marry who they love, the right workers to organize and negotiate fairly together wages, the future of our planet and environmental protection, voting rights and the right of every American to have a voice in our democracy. “
Trump is urging the Republican-controlled Senate to swiftly approve Barrett ahead of election day in hopes of doing so energize a presidential re-election campaign that was ravaged by a recession and pandemic in a year. He lags far behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the nation and battlefield states, and hopes the Supreme Court will help bring skeptical social conservatives into his camp.
In a phone call on Saturday evening after the announcement, Trump campaign officials stressed the importance of the nomination for the race and cited polls on the exit from 2016, in which three out of four Conservatives named the Supreme Court as one of their staff top priorities. Campaign officials said they wanted to use the nomination in mailers and scripts to convince voters on doors and phones.
“This is big,” said Chris Carr, Trump campaign political director, on a tapping of the POLITICO call. “This is great for our constituents and our base, and we will benefit from it.”
This plan was visible just hours later. Trump flew to a rally in Pennsylvania where the campaign had posted a giant digital banner that read “FILL THAT SEAT”. The sentence has even become a chant at the last Trump rallies.
Trump often boasts of the hundreds of federal judges, including Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, who have been sustained during his tenure, though he frequently inflates the totals.
He has appointed About a quarter of all active federal judges in the country and more federal appeals judges than any newer president at the same point in time in a first term.
The Senate has upheld 218 of Trump’s nominations, including 53 judges for the appeals court, 161 judges for the district courts and two judges for the Court of International Trade. Another 34 nominations are waiting for their action.
The Senate Judiciary Committee expects Barrett to hold a confirmation hearing the week of October 12th. Both Trump and some Republican senators have stated that the Supreme Court must have all nine judges in court before the election in case they have to step in to rule the outcome.
In 2016, the Republican-led Senate refused to vote on Obama’s candidate for a vacancy, Merrick Garland, claiming it was an election year. This time, McConnell has vowed to vote on Trump’s candidate, and this time argues that it is different because the White House and Senate are controlled by the same party.
“With the appointment of Judge Barrett in his third Supreme Court election, President Trump will transform the 5-4 John Roberts Court into the 6-3 Clarence Thomas Court,” said Mike Davis, who is responsible for the endorsements of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh A Republican Senate employee and now president of the Article III Project, a group committed to validating Trump’s judicial nominations.