With his U.S. Supreme Court pick now on the bench, the president has turned his sites on filling federal court vacancies. And once again, the Democrats will have Harry Reid to thank for their inability to block Donald Trump’s nominations.
Back in 2013, the Nevada senator was the majority leader of the upper house. In order to ensure that Barack Obama could pack the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — considered the nation’s second most powerful court — with reliably leftist judges, Sen. Reid and his fellow Democrats changed long-standing Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for most presidential nominees.
In the aftermath, Democrats confirmed more than 100 liberal judges. Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker crowed that Sen. Reid had “remade the federal judiciary.”
But what goes around comes around. And just as Sen. Reid’s gambit paved the way for Neil Gorsuch on the high court, it has also opened the door for Mr. Trump to leave his stamp on the lower courts. Thanks to Harry Reid, Senate Republicans now need just a simple majority, rather than 60 votes, to elevate the president’s judicial selections.
On Monday, Mr. Trump unveiled his first 10 nominees, all culled from his list of potential Supreme Court candidates. They include state supreme court judges from Michigan and Minnesota. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the nominees highlight the president’s “commitment to appointing judges who believe laws and the Constitution should be interpreted based on the plain meaning of their words at the time they were written.”
Such a philosophy is today considered radical in some quarters. But our future as a democratic republic depends in part on judges who respect individual liberty, private property and the concepts of limited government that permeate the nation’s founding document. Donald Trump’s first round of nominations to the federal bench appear to fit the bill.