Empower Wisconsin | Sept 9, 2020
By Mike Davis, The Federalist
Our nation’s courts are nearing a tipping point. During President Trump’s first term, he has achieved a slim conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court (5 of 9) and has evened the score in the critically important federal courts of appeals, which are the final stop for more than 99 percent of all federal appeals.
Now, data compiled by the Article III Project (A3P) shows that the next president will likely solidify a lasting majority on the courts of appeals, either cementing President Trump’s judicial legacy or largely undoing it.
On the Supreme Court, four justices could conceivably be replaced before 2024. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87 and in poor health, would likely retire on day one of a Biden administration, and would likely be replaced in a second Trump term. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 81, is also likely to retire soon. Conservative stalwarts Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are in their 70s.
This means President Trump could potentially shift the Supreme Court to a 7–2 Republican-appointed majority, and a President Biden could achieve a 6–3 Democrat-appointed majority. Six Democrat-appointed justices would result in Supreme Court opinions that radically undermine our Constitution.
Worse, Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, has even threatened to “pack” the Supreme Court, expanding it to 11 or more seats and appointing new liberal activist justices. The number of justices has not changed in more than 150 years, since right after the Civil War. Court-packing is a radical assault on judicial independence. Indeed, even Justice Ginsburg, the lioness of the left, took the unusual step of publicly denouncing this radical scheme.
The situation on the federal courts of appeals is similar. Before Trump’s presidency, Republican-appointed judges were a majority on four of the 13 appellate “circuits”: the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, together covering Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and most of the Midwest and Great Plains states. Judges appointed by President Trump have “flipped” the balance of three more circuits: the 2nd, 3rd, and 11th, together covering New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and much of the South.
New data compiled by A3P shows that if President Trump and a Senate Republican majority are reelected, they could flip each of the remaining six circuits (D.C., Federal, 1st, 4th, 9th, and 10th) to conservative majorities simply by replacing Democrat-appointed judges who will be eligible to take “senior status,” a form of partial retirement. The fact that President Trump could even flip the infamously liberal, San Francisco-based 9th Circuit is monumental.
Read more at The Federalist.