Trump’s Surge of Judicial Nominations Stirs D.C.

President's renomination of 51 federal judges earns praise and petulance — Graham, for his part, called the list 'impressive'

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President Donald Trump has been met with both praise and criticism since announcing his intentions to renominate 51 federal judges on Tuesday.

Trump had already picked the federal judicial nominees, but they failed to be confirmed last year. He now faces an unprecedented 163 federal court vacancies.

His recent round of nominations would make a notable difference in getting those seats filled. The Senate will have to approve the nominations — which it did not do last time.

“I truly appreciate the prompt attention President Trump and his White House team have shown to judicial nominations,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement provided to LifeZette.

“I also appreciate the list of 51 impressive judicial nominations to fulfill the Senate’s constitutional role in advice and consent. The committee will immediately begin working on these important nominations and trying to confirm as many as possible, as soon as possible.”

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Trump pledged during his campaign for the White House that he would nominate strong constitutional conservatives to the federal court. He even released a list of judges he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court in the month leading up to Election Day in 2016.

He has since appointed two justices and a growing list of federal judges.

The Judicial Crisis Network (JCN) urged the confirmation of the judges to address the gap in vacancies. The conservative judicial activist group was already in the midst of a $1.5 million media campaign to encourage judicial confirmations.

The campaign has called on Senate Democrats to stop obstructing and bullying judicial nominees since it was launched on January 17.

“There are now more vacancies than there were on Inauguration Day,” JCN chief counsel and policy director Carrie Severino said in a statement to LifeZette. “Time for Democrats to stop the bullying and obstruction and confirm the judges.”

Trump was also met with resistance from critics who say that some of his nominees have troubling backgrounds. They expressed concern over the experience of some judges and their records on equal rights. People For the American Way (PFAW), a progressive advocacy group, and others also took issue with the president’s renominating individuals who already had failed to be confirmed.

“Donald Trump has spent the last two years nominating some of the most extreme, unqualified judicial nominees in recent memory,” Marge Baker, PFAW’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “At the end of last year, in the face of strong opposition by Democrats, the Senate sent back dozens of those nominees to the White House. The intervening weeks haven’t made those nominees any better.”

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The Alliance for Justice (AFJ), a progressive advocacy group, echoed the concerns that the president has renominated people whom critics view as dangerous judges. Senate Democrats, the group argued, need to stand up to the extremism of the nominees.

AFJ President Nan Aron pointed to a few of those she found to be particularly troubling.

“It is a serious disservice to the American people to renominate scores of individuals who were not confirmed to the federal bench last year,” Aron said in a statement. “This list includes many people whose nominations were divisive and controversial for reasons ranging from their lack of experience, to their lack of judgment, to their hostility to equal rights for their fellow Americans.”

Aron accused nominee and lawyer Wendy Vitter of spreading disinformation about reproductive health. U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division Principal Deputy Chad Readler was cited for his work to rein in the Affordable Care Act. And the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs administrator Neomi Rao was accused of blaming women for date rape.

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