Protecting and Defending the Constitution

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The Verdict Is in on Trump’s Judges

November 13, 2017

    If Republicans don’t appreciate Donald Trump now, they will later. That’s when his biggest accomplishment — the courts — will reap the most rewards. For the last 10 months, the White House has been working at a frantic pace to confirm originalist judges, a quest that’s not only making history — but securing it.

Not since Richard Nixon has any president moved faster or more strategically on judicial nominees than Donald Trump. And while the Supreme Court is what captures most people’s attention, the real work is being done a step below — on the appellate level. That’s where, experts say, the real genius comes in.

In a fascinating article, even the New York Times can’t help but notice (with reluctant admiration) how the Trump team has intentionally gone about balancing the courts from the Obama years. “There has never been anything like what we’ve been able to do together with judges,” the president said recently. He’s right. By filling the appellate courts with constitutionalists, Trump’s team is making sure that Americans get a fair shake from the judges who hand down the majority of the country’s rulings. As the Times points out, “The 12 regional appeals courts wield profound influence over Americans’ lives, getting the final word on about 60,000 cases a year that are not among the roughly 80 the Supreme Court hears.”

While most of the country only tunes in to the SCOTUS fights, the reality is that most of these hot-button issues are being decided in the circuit courts below. That makes the president’s focus all the more important. In its interesting article, “Trump is rapidly reshaping the judiciary. Here’s how,” the Times explains that this plan dates back to last year, when legal experts huddled to talk about a “secret battle plan to fill the federal appeals courts with young and deeply conservative judges.” With the help of Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Republicans have delivered plenty of victories on that front, confirming eight — with more on the horizon. Thanks to Grassley, the Senate has kept up with the White House’s frantic pace, despite the Democrats’ stalling tactics.

And while the GOP is used to obstruction from Democrats, it was surprised to see some from its own party. For reasons few understand, Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) is standing in the way of Trump’s ninth federal court win — Kyle Duncan, the White House’s pick for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In a rare move, the senator from my home state refuses to endorse Duncan, a man many call a “conservative superstar.” As a solicitor general and law firm partner, he expertly tackled some of the most difficult issues, including marriage, the HHS mandate, bathroom bills, and gender identity. The Judicial Crisis Network calls him “one of the best lawyers of his generation.” I would hope that Senator Kennedy would join his fellow Republicans in moving on Duncan’s confirmation — and send another stellar judge to the bench.

In the meantime, conservatives who said the courts were the deciding factor in the 2016 elections have to be happy with the results. Even the New York Times can’t help but notice: “Mr. Trump is poised to bring the conservative legal movement… to a new peak of influence over American law and society.”

For more on the president’s judicial accomplishments (and otherwise), cut through the fake news with this Daily Wire’s column, “Trump’s First Year in Office Has Been Wildly Successful.”

Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

 

Trump’s First Year In Office Has Been Wildly Successful

 Branden Camp / Stringer

Michael J. Knowles

November 10, 2017

    A full 365 days of covfefe have passed since Hillary Clinton grudgingly conceded the 2016 presidential election. According to Democrat press releases and the mainstream media — but I repeat myself — the nation lies in ruins. Reality tells a different story.

    On the economic front, consumer confidence has hit its highest level in 17 years. Over one million jobs have been created. The post-election stock market rally is the second largest since the Kennedy administration. The destructive tariffs and trade wars conservatives feared have not materialized. Tax reform awaits congressional Republicans’ whipping the votes.

On the so-called social issues, Trump repealed the Obama mandate that forced states to fund Planned Parenthood, and he reinstated the Mexico City Policy that protects U.S. taxpayers from having to fund abortions overseas. Unlike his predecessor, Trump has refrained from refashioning the White House into a giant glowing rainbow to celebrate activist judges’ abuse of the Constitution. Quite to the contrary, Trump appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, an originalist justice in the tradition Antonin Scalia. He’s also appointed 12 other textualist judges to the lower courts, and many others who await confirmation.

On immigration, President Trump has added more agents to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He’s expanded deportation priorities, moved to end Barack Obama’s executive amnesty program DACA, and signed an executive order directing the Justice Department to defund sanctuary cities. As a result, illegal immigration rates across our southern border have dropped to a 45-year low, according to the acting chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. On corruption, Trump has imposed a five-year ban on lobbying the government by former White House officials and a lifetime ban on lobbying for foreign governments by former White House officials.

On foreign policy, while we were promised President Trump would recklessly plunge us into nuclear war, instead he’s wrangled trade concessions and collaboration on North Korea out of China. Trump ably handled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s chemical test of American resolve five years after Barack Obama failed to follow American threats with action. Trump oversaw the return of American high school student Otto Warmbier from North Korea, dropped the “Mother Of All Bombs” on ISIS, over which Syria just yesterday declared victory. He approved the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines after years of Obama-era red tape and pulled the United States out of the environmentally ineffectual Paris Climate Accord. Obama’s strategies of “strategic patience” in North Korea and “leading from behind” in the Middle East are finished.

On the environment, at the EPA Scott Pruitt has overturned 52 burdensome regulations. While a net 13,000 new federal restrictions have been added annually for the past 20 years, under Trump, the number of net new regulations sits around zero. The New York Times, a “former newspaper”, summed it up in May: “Trump Discards Obama Legacy, One Rule at a Time,” including Barack Obama’s disastrous so-called Clean Power Plan, which as the Heritage Foundation explains, would have resulted in higher energy prices, fewer jobs, less growth; disproportionately hurt poor families; and offered virtually no environmental benefit.

Most important of all, Trump has cracked the patina of credibility that Democrat operatives masquerading as journalists once enjoyed and “sophisticated” Republicans once indulged. As a result, nearly two-thirds of Americans now recognize that mainstream outlets shill for Democrats rather than present unbiased reporting. And Hollywood lies in rubble as the preening moralizers who hold their countrymen in contempt are caught, literally, with their pants down.

All in all, an unexpectedly covfefe year. And if you’ve enjoyed all of these improvements — the protection of our First and Second Amendment from the claws of Hillary’s Supreme Court pick, less government, more freedom, and credibility abroad — thank a Trump voter.