Monday numbers: A closer look at Trump’s war on the courts

By: - March 18, 2019 5:07 am

President Donald Trump suffered a stinging policy setback last week when, notwithstanding the remarkable flip-flop of North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, 12 Republican senators joined with their Democratic colleagues to disapprove of Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. The vote was just the latest in series of defeats and policy failures for Trump as he muddles his way through the second half of what is increasingly shaping up to be a notably scandal-plagued and ineffectual presidency.

If, however, there is a single, most important exception to Trump’s losing record over the past 26 months, it has to be in the battle over the federal courts. When it comes to remaking the judiciary by bestowing lifetime appointments on a veritable army of conservative ideologues, Trump has, with the active collaboration of GOP senators, had great success. Just last week, Trump and company succeeded in placing former administration official Neomi Rao on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — the court generally recognized as the nation’s second highest. Rao takes the slot vacated by Brett Kavanaugh when he ascended to the Supreme Court. North Carolina’s Richard Burr and Thom Tillis both voted “yes” on the nomination.

As numerous court watchers have observed, Rao is demonstrably unfit for the job. She has blamed sexual assault survivors for being attacked, shamed women for seeking equality in the workplace, belittled the fight for racial justice, and demeaned LGBTQ people. She has made clear she wants to use the courts to weaken protections for health and safety, workers, and consumers.

Sadly, in addition to including numerous extreme and unqualified individuals,Trump’s growing slate of judicial nominees features a striking lack of diversity. Here are the latest demographic numbers on Trump’s federal court nominees (as well as President Obama’s), courtesy of the nonpartisan analysts at the Alliance for Justice:

91 – number of Trump federal judicial nominees confirmed as of last week

75.82 – percentage of confirmed Trump nominees who are male

24.18 – percentage who are female

91.21 – percentage who are white

8.79 – percentage who are people of color (one African-American, one Hispanic, six Asian-Pacific Americans, zero Native Americans and zero Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders)

0 – percentage who are openly LGBT or people with disabilities

57.7 – percentage of confirmed Obama judicial nominees who were male

42.3 – percentage who were female

64.05 – percentage who were white

18.73 – percentage who were African-American

10.88 – percentage who were Hispanic

6.65 – percentage who were Asian-Pacific Americans

0.3 – percentage who were Native American

0.3 – percentage who were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders

11 – number who were openly LGBT or people with disabilities

138 – number of current federal judicial vacancies (127 at the District Court level and 11 at the Circuit Court (Court of Appeals) level)

62 – number of pending Trump nominees (55 District Court and seven Circuit Court)

53 – number of pending nominees who are men

9 – number who are women

5 – number who are African-American

4 – number who are Hispanic

0 – number who are Native American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders

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Rob Schofield
Rob Schofield

Editor Rob Schofield oversees day-to-day newsroom operations, authors regular commentaries, and hosts a weekly radio show/podcast.