Trump, with the help of a determined majority of the McConnell Republican Party and the Senate, has significantly reshaped the judiciary during his first term, and the 200th appointment milestone illustrates just how long his legacy will last as federal judges meet appointments for life and many of Trump’s elections have been young judges who can serve for many years.
“Court confirmations may be President Trump’s most important legacy,” said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “They will shape the nation’s laws on abortion, LGBT rights, voting rights and many other issues long after Trump leaves office.”
The 200 confirmations will also be a permanent part of McConnell’s legacy. The Kentucky Republican, who is set for reelection this year, played a key role in changing the Senate rules to speed up the confirmation process for judicial candidates who remove the 60-vote threshold for minority filibusters.
In a 52-48 vote on Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Wilson and was the last position currently available in the appeals court. Democrats complained about Wilson’s views on voting rights and other issues, but were unable to stop his confirmation, as a simple majority vote is all that is required for his approval.
McConnell gloated over the achievement before the vote and said: “Once we confirm Judge Wilson today, this Senate will have confirmed 200 of President Trump’s nominees for lifetime appointments at the federal bank.”
“And after the 200th number, when we get out of this chamber today, there won’t be a single seat in a circuit court anywhere in the nation for the first time in at least 40 years,” McConnell said.