Republicans not only succeeded in getting their candidate to the White House, they also succeeded in securing a majority in Congress, which will have a great impact on the type of justices appointed not only to the Supreme Court, but to many of the U.S.’s lower courts.
The Hill reports that it is these lower courts where Trump’s election will actually have a more immediate impact.
Only a few years ago, Republicans were worried over President Obama’s leadership, combined with a Democratic majority in Congress. Now, the situation is quite the opposite--and very much in Republicans’ favor.
Not only is a Republican candidate in the White House, but he will likely need only 51 votes in the Senate to confirm the nominees he chooses for the courts. Additionally, he may have as many as 117 judicial vacancies to fill.
Ironically, when they had control of Congress under Obama’s administration, Democrats actually paved the way for the ease of judicial appointment from which Republicans will now benefit.
In 2013, Democrats, led by then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid abolished legislation permitting filibusters for most federally-appointed judicial nominees. Additionaly, instead of needing 60 votes to confirm a nominee, a simple majority vote is now all that is required.
“What goes around comes around,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) told The Hill.
“When you’re short-sighted and you think your majority is going to continue forever then you’re bound to be surprised when voters put you in the minority, so it counsels prudence and a longer view rather than short-term gratification,” he continued.
Many conservatives supported Trump primarily for this reason--the belief that he will appoint conservative judges to the nation’s courts.
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Publication date: December 5, 2016