I have practiced law for 8 years, focusing on constitutional law and government policy, so I am absolutely convinced of the importance of the judiciary. The work President Trump has done to reshape the federal judiciary with pro-Constitution judges for years to come is nothing short of a miracle. But this miracle would not be possible without a Republican majority in the Senate and our own Senator Cory Gardner.
Since President Trump took office, the Republican majority in the Senate has confirmed: 2 Supreme Court Justices (including Colorado’s Justice Neil Gorsuch); 43 circuit judges (including Colorado’s Allison Eid); 99 district judges (including Colorado’s Daniel Domenico). That’s more than 140 judges with life tenure whose conservative jurisprudence will shape the American judiciary for decades, well into the lives of my children and grandchildren.
For perspective, in 8 years, President Obama confirmed 2 Supreme Court Justices, 49 circuit judges, and 268 district court judges. President Bush confirmed 2 Supreme Court Justices, 61 circuit judges, and 261 district court judges. President Clinton confirmed 2 Supreme Court Justices, 62 circuit judges, and 305 district court judges.
Not even 2.5 years in, President Trump has confirmed the same number of Supreme Court Justices, nearly 90% of the circuit court judges, and more than 1/3 of the district court judges that President Obama confirmed in his full 8 years. A president’s ability to influence our nation’s jurisprudence through selecting the right judges is powerful.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Republican majority in the Senate and our own Senator Cory Gardner for fighting for these pro-Constitution judges. We elected Senator Gardner in 2014 because we knew he would stand up for our constitutional principles. That is exactly what he has done. Without Senator Gardner and a Republican majority in the Senate, the Democrats would do the only thing they are good at doing: obstruct and delay. A Democrat majority would ensure none of President Trump’s nominees would be confirmed, and our Supreme Court would hang in limbo.
Prior to the 2016 election, the passing of Justice Scalia left the Court with 2 strong conservative voices (Justices Thomas and Alito), 2 moderate voices (Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy), and 4 liberal voices (Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan). Had Hillary Clinton gotten “her turn,” the Court would have tipped in favor of extreme liberal voices. These voices would have translated into rulings that would have damaged – likely irreparably – the fabric of our nation. Instead, we have replaced Justices Scalia and Kennedy with two strong conservative voices. The balance is now 4-4 with a moderate, conservative-leaning Justice in the middle. Justice Ginsburg will likely be replaced by whoever is elected president in 2020. That cannot be Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.
At the start of this administration, the notoriously progressive outlier Ninth Circuit (who is overturned by the Supreme Court 79% of the time) consisted of 17 Democratic-appointed and 8 Republican-appointed judges. The Ninth Circuit now stands at 16 Democratic-appointed judges and 10 Republican-appointed judges with 3 vacancies to be filled soon. Once the vacancies are filled, the Ninth Circuit will have gone from being about 30% Republican-appointed to nearly 45% Republican-appointed.
And the work of President Trump, the Republican Senate majority, and Senator Cory Gardner continues. In the last week of July alone, the Senate confirmed 15 more federal judges.
There are still 112 vacancies to be filled, with 4 on the circuit courts and 97 in the district courts, including a district court judgeship here in Colorado. It cannot be said strongly enough that we must make sure the Republicans keep the Senate majority. That starts with us re-electing Senator Gardner. Liberal Chuck Schumer knows his path to Majority Leader goes through Colorado, and it is incumbent upon conservative Coloradans to make sure this does not happen. Let’s band together now and take personal responsibility for re-electing Senator Cory Gardner. Let’s actively help him and President Trump continue to reshape our country for the better.
Kristi Burton Brown is vice-chair of the Colorado State Republican Party.