WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump celebrated his administration’s track record of confirmed judicial nominations Wednesday, saying that the judges he has picked “uphold [the] Constitution as written” and fulfill his campaign promise of pushing a conservative agenda in the court system.
The Senate has confirmed 158 federal judges nominated by Trump in what the president called a “historic transformation of the judiciary.” He said he hopes to have 182 judges confirmed by the end of the year. He announced 10 more nominees on Wednesday to fill vacancies in New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri and Washington, D.C.
The Senate confirmed the 44th Trump circuit court nominee Wednesday—Danielle Hunsaker, who will be a judge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. About one quarter of all federal appeals court judges are now Trump nominees.
“Together, we are restoring American freedom, defending American justice, and preserving the extraordinary vision of our Founding Fathers,” Trump said at a White House event to commemorate the milestone.
The judicial victories have turned the tide on the makeup of 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, which switched from a Democrat-appointed majority to a Republican-appointed one. Both the 2nd and 11th Circuits are expected to flip by the end of this year, according to the White House.
Trump called out the “warriors” within the Republican Party to thank them for ushering his judicial picks through the Senate confirmation process, such as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz and Charles Grassley.
“Generations from now, Americans will know that Mitch McConnell helped save the constitutional rule of law in America,” Trump said.
McConnell said filling vacant federal judgeships, including two Supreme Court justices, was the most important element in pushing “the ball in the right direction” after Republicans won control of the White House and both chambers of Congress in 2016. McConnell led the battle to block former President Barack Obama from appointing Merrick Garland to the high court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in early 2016.
“The circuit courts, where 99% of litigation stops, are full of bright, young men and women who believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to follow the law,” McConnell said.
Trump criticized “activist judges” appointed by Democratic presidents and the recent use of court injunctions to halt executive action. Federal judges in New York, California and Washington issued injunctions in October to block Trump’s “public charge” rule. In 2018, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction to keep Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in place as Trump attempted to end the program.
“This very destructive practice enables any one of 673 district judges to single-handedly invalidate critical executive actions and stop the enforcement of duly enacted law,” Trump said. “The activist Left only needs to find one partisan ‘resistance’ judge anywhere in the country to agree with them.”
The average age of Trump-nominated judges is less than 50, which guarantees generational influence in the courts.
“They’re young, smart,” he said. “That’s 10 years younger than President Obama’s nominees.”