Packing the Courts With Right Wing-Ideologues. Trump Is Winning "Bigly." Why Aren't We in the Streets?

Chamba SanchezBy Chamba SanchezDecember 29, 2019

Progressive voters should endeavor to focus on substantive endeavors.  People should not waste time following Trump’s tweets and posting memes ridiculing him.  As some of us celebrate Trump’s impeachment, the courts are being packed with pro-life,  pro-guns, anti-workers, and xenophobic judges. They are also very young and lack legal experience; many of these new judges have never litigated a case.

Why aren’t progressives in the streets denouncing these judicial appointments?

Trump and U.S. Senate Republican-Leader Mitch McConnel have cemented a conservative legacy on this country’s judicial branch for decades to come.  All this radical change took place in Trump’s first term; one can only extrapolate what will happen if Trump wins re-election in November 2020.  The progressive social change that has been made might be jeopardized as judges have the power to strike down laws passed by Congress.  It is true that “approving legislation, a legislator/president plays for the next election, putting a judge on the courts a legislator/president plays for the next generation.”

Case in point, The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for gay and transgender rights, immigration, abortion, guns, and religion this past fall. Justices will rule on these cases during the summer of 2020.  These cases are in jeopardy if we take into account the newly appointed justices, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, both appointed by Trump.   It is difficult to see these justices not sticking to their biases rather than using the Constitution for guidance to rule.

So far on his first term, President Trump has 158 judicial nominees and they all were confirmed by the Republican-led U.S. Senate. Here is the breakdown of these judges, two of them are Supreme Court Justices, 44 Circuit Court Judges, and 112 District Court Judges.  There are currently “870 authorized Article III judgeships: nine on the Supreme Court, 179 on the courts of appeals, 673 for the district courts and nine on the Court of International Trade.”  President Trump has appointed more circuit judges than any other president. According to the White House’s website, “1 out of 4 active judges on the court of appeals are Trump’s appointees.”  The Judiciary is being transformed by the day by this administration. Where is the outrage?

The saying goes that the Supreme Court has the last word and that whatever is decided by these justices becomes the law of the land.  Although the number of cases the U.S. Supreme Court hears is approximately 125 a year out of the 8,000 that are usually sent for consideration.  Since not all cases are heard by the Supreme Court, whatever these circuit courts decide stands.

The fact that the Republican-controlled Senate refused to hold a hearing for Obama’s lower court nominees in the last two years of his presidency made Trump’s presidency more meaningful for conservatives in this country. There were so many vacancies to fill.  President Trump has been just a rubber stamp for conservatives in this country who want conservatives judges for decades to come.  Many conservatives do not care about silly tweets and his lack of civility.  They reason that they will always be better off with Trump in the Oval Office than any democrat currently battling it out in the Democratic primaries.

I still vividly remember how progressives and those on the left used to make fun of then-president George W.  Bush.  Every gaffe this man would make was magnified a thousand times.  We all laughed hysterically about Bush’s lack of coherence and intellect.  While we were rolling on the floor in laughter, Bush was giving a tax break to the very rich. He also tried to privatize social security and he sent our kids to Afghanistan and Iraq while re-structuring the federal government.

Fast forward to 2019; It is evident that we have not learned.  Most progressives and people on the left are obsessed with Trump’s tweets.  We seem to be oblivious to the political reality; the man is turning the clock on many progressive policies, from environmental reversal to tax breaks to the rich to the inhuman enforcement of immigration laws.

“Conservative culture warriors” appear to have found a way to keep progressives and liberals distracted.  It is all about “owning the libs” conservatives sarcastically claim.  “Conservatives love it earnestly, liberals love it ironically,” the saying goes.  The meaning of “owning” someone essentially means humiliating manipulating a person online.  Moreover, “lib” are those so-called lefties or liberals who have enough time on their hands and spend endless hours reading political stuff online.

People on the right post-non-sense comments online so they can agitate these “libs,” e.g., Trump tweeting or saying that he will change the constitution so he can run for a third term.  Conservatives know that this will never happen, but some “libs” still react ferociously. Reacting to stupidity, you read on the internet is a self-defeating act.

For example,  last week, The U.S Senate approved not one but two Trump nominees to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Yes, the one that is headquartered in San Francisco, an essential court of appeal known to rule in favor of those without a voice in this country. This is the court that rules for “nine western states and its decisions affect 60 million people.” Trump dislikes this court with a passion and he has the last laugh.  Here is what progressives need to focus on. I have yet to hear noises about these appointments.

No Democratic presidential candidate has said anything or acknowledged how these courts are being packed with young right-wing individuals and its consequences. The “Corporate” and “Socialist” Democrats are mired in fruitless infights.  Judges are critical in the political arrangement that we have in place.  Remember, that Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore, in which the court gave us President Bush or Brown versus the Board of Education or Roe Versus Wade, these cases changed American society.

The Framers of the Constitution must be spinning in their graves.  They foresaw a Supreme Court with the sole responsibility of interpreting the Constitution when needed in the event of new societal changes.  They robustly debated about what that “interpretation” meant. They did not want judges to engage in the creation of public policy because that would usurp the democratic process.  The policy-making power resides in Congress, Hamilton asserted.

In Federalist Papers No. 78, he envisioned that having unelected and appointed individuals in the judiciary branch of government would insulate these judges from the politics of the day. He further argued that this branch of government would be “the weakest of the branches and it would have no influence over either the sword or the purse,…..it may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor Will, but merely judgment.” He argued in this essay.

Thank you for reading.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Photo Credit: Photo used in this essay came from Stock Photstock.

Sources consulted.
Graham, David A. “Trump Has Successfully Gamed the Courts.”  The Atlantic 13, Dec.2019.

Hamilton, Alexander. Federalist No. 78. The Federalist, Ed. Clinton Rossiter. New York, 2003. 463-464

Liptak, Adam.  “As the Supreme Court Gets Back to Work, Five Big Cases to Watch.” The New York Times 11 Nov. 2019.

Peyser, Eve. “The Summer’s Hottest Trend Is Owning the Libs.” Rolling Stone 26 July 2018.

United States, White House. FACT SHEETS, “President Donald J. Trump Is Appointing a Historic Number of Federal Judges to Uphold Our Constitution as Written.” 6 Nov. 2019.

Wick, Julia. “Column: Trump having his revenge on California as he remakes once-liberal 9th Circuit court.” Los Angeles Times 22 Dec. 2019.

Please share:

Follow Chamba

Privacy Preference Center