President Trump has gone on a record-breaking transformation of America’s court system, appointing 51 appellate court judges in just three years. In the LA Times, Maura Dolan reports that there’s nowhere Trump’s impact has been felt more than in the traditionally liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. She writes:
In few places has the effect been felt more powerfully than in the sprawling 9th Circuit, which covers California and eight other states. Because of Trump’s success in filling vacancies, the San Francisco-based circuit, long dominated by Democratic appointees, has suddenly shifted to the right, with an even more pronounced tilt expected in the years ahead.
Trump has now named 10 judges to the 9th Circuit — more than one-third of its active judges — compared with seven appointed by President Obama over eight years.
“Trump has effectively flipped the circuit,” said 9th Circuit Judge Milan D. Smith Jr., an appointee of President George W. Bush.
To assess the early impact of these appointments, the Los Angeles Times interviewed several judges on the 9th Circuit. Some either declined to discuss their colleagues or inner deliberations or refused to be quoted by name, saying they were not authorized to speak about what went on behind the scenes.
To be sure, some of the new appointees to the 9th Circuit have quickly won the respect of their colleagues. But the rapid influx of so many judges — most without judicial experience — has put strains upon the court and stirred criticism among judges appointed by both Democratic and Republican presidents.
“Ten new people at once sends a shock wave through the system,” a 9th Circuit judge said.
Meanwhile, the President has been calling out bias from the liberal wing of the Supreme Court. Amanda Holpuch writes in The Guardian:
Even as the US justice system faces a crisis of credibility because of the Trump administration’s handling of federal cases, Donald Trump has taken the unusual step of attacking two supreme court justices on Twitter and in remarks to the press.
On Twitter, responding to a segment on Fox News’s The Ingraham Angle, Trump unleashed a tirade against Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has criticized the president in the past.
“This is a terrible thing to say,” Trump tweeted. “Trying to ‘shame’ some into voting her way? She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a ‘faker’. Both should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related, matters!
“While ‘elections have consequences’” – a reference to his two supreme court appointments since winning the White House, both reliable conservatives – “I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States supreme court!”
At a press conference in India on Tuesday, Trump repeated his complaint.
“I just don’t know how they can not recuse themselves from anything having to do with Trump or Trump-related,” he said. “The right thing to do is that.
“What Justice Sotomayor said … was really highly inappropriate and everybody agrees to that. Virtually everybody. I’ve seen papers on it, people cannot believe that she said it.”
He said: “She’s trying to shame people with perhaps a different view into voting her way.”
In his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump promised conservatives he would protect their interests in the judiciary. He has done that and more.