A new report from The New York Times reveals how the death of a liberal judge gives President Donald Trump the rare opportunity to add a conservative judge to the left-leaning U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 2014, Erwin Chemerinsky encouraged his friend, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, to step down as the liberal lion of the court so then President Barack Obama could nominate a politically aligned replacement.
Chemerinsky worried about Reinhardt’s age and ailing health, so he suggested his friend step down so his successor could be appointed.
Reinhardt listened to his ego and refused to step down, and his death last week at 87-years-old has paved the way for Trump to replace him with a conservative judge.
Had he stepped down in 2014, Obama could have filled his important seat with a liberal judge.
But he didn’t, and now Trump has a major opportunity to seat a judge on the far-left court who has a much different judicial and political outlook, giving conservatives a stronger voice on the court.
More importantly, and quite historically, the vacancy is one of eight on the nationwide appeals court, which has a total of 29 active judges.
Trump has the chance to put a decade-long stamp on the federal judiciary by nominating a slew of conservatives that can dramatically reshape lasting policy.
With left-wing activists and groups endlessly challenging Trump’s agenda through the courts, the president can reshape the federal judiciary with a strong conservative lean to uphold his agenda.
Reshaping the federal judiciary is arguably one of the most important steps that the president has taken since assuming office, and he has many more vacancies to fill.
With the conservatives controlling the Supreme Court with a 5-4 majority, many argue Trump is well on his way to having a historic effect on the judiciary that will last decades.
While time will tell how many judges Trump appoints and gets nominated by Congress, one thing is certain — any Ninth Circuit nominee chosen by Trump will be the most conservative judge on the bench.