When tallying Biden's accomplishments in 2021, this one should rank up there with things like passing the CARES Act and the infrastructure bill:
Overnight, the Senate confirmed Biden’s 40th judge — the most since Reagan, who also got 40 judges confirmed in his first year. Biden’s confirmed judges also far surpass the number of judges Trump got confirmed in his first year (18)— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) December 18, 2021
The significance of this accomplishment goes beyond just the numbers.
40 Article III federal judges confirmed in 2021.— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) December 18, 2021
More than half are women of color/Native women, 80% are women & more than 2/3 are people of color or Native. Many have public defender or civil rights experience.
THIS is what making our courts fairer & more inclusive looks like. pic.twitter.com/TBxBsVsuHk
To date, President Biden has nominated a total of 73 federal judges. Here's what those numbers look like:
The President's selections have included 53 women, making up 73% of all judicial nominees, as well as 20 African Americans, 15 Hispanics and 13 Asian American Pacific Islander picks.
They also include 21 public defenders, 16 civil rights lawyers and five labor lawyers, as the administration has sought to elevate nominees with more diverse professional backgrounds.
That last part is significant in that most federal judges have professional backgrounds in prosecution and/or corporate law.
For some perspective, there are currently 870 authorized Article III judgeships: nine on the Supreme Court, 179 on the courts of appeals, 673 for the district courts and nine on the Court of International Trade. Here is how Pew Research summarized the impact of recent presidents on the courts.
Judicial engagement turns the whole concept of judicial restraint (something we used to hear a lot about from conservatives) on its head. It suggests that, rather than giving the benefit of the doubt to the elected branches of government, judges should strike down laws that they think violate the Constitution. We saw that most notably with their attempts to eliminate Obamacare.
As Republican obstruction brings legislating to a halt, presidents have been turning to executive orders to get things done. Those are immediately challenged in court. Of course, as we're seeing with reproductive rights, an extremist Supreme Court also has the power to overturn judicial precedents.
There has been a lot of attention paid to the way that Republicans are seeking to undermine democracy with things like voter suppression and gerrymandering. But it is important to keep in mind that "judicial engagement" is part of that process as well. Judges are appointed for a lifetime and cannot be held accountable by voters.
All of that is to explain why Biden's record on federal judges is one of his most significant accomplishments. There's still a long way to go to turn things around, but he's off to a great start.
It's impressive, all the more so sense every right-thinking person knows that Biden has sat on everything and done nothing.ReplyDelete
He's also now called out Manchin now for negotiating in bad faith, just of course as the usual moderate press pundits keep calling Biden for refusing to bite the bullet and negotiate with Manchin (apart from the critics who blame him for not waving his magic wand and making Manchin go away).
All this still leaves American in dire straits, but still gotta acknowledge what's really happened.
BTW regarding Manchin, Jonathan Chait at NY Mag serves up the official wisdom, all the more egregious because it's so blatantly illogical and he knows better. He uses most of his post to say that Manchin almost surely had an agreement with Biden after long outreach from the president and then broke it, hasn't offered a hint of what he'd require instead, and hasn't proposed an alternative. And then Chait concludes anyway by asking why Biden can't just suck it up like, presumably, all those radical lefty Dems and just give him what he wants?ReplyDelete