Trump, with the help of a determined McConnell and Senate GOP majority, has significantly reshaped the judiciary during his first term, and the 200th milestone appointment illustrates how lasting his legacy will be, as federal judges serve life appointments and many of Trump’s picks have been. young judges who can serve for many years.
“Judicial 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 the Trump leaves office.”
The 200 confirmations will also be a permanent part of McConnell’s legacy. The Kentucky Republican, who is up for re-election this year, played a key role in changing Senate rules to both speed up the process of confirming judicial nominees eliminating the 60-vote threshold for minority filibusters.
In a 52-48 vote Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Wilson and filled the last available court appeals post. Democrats complained about Wilson’s views on voting rights and other issues, but couldn’t stop his confirmation since a simple majority vote was all that’s required for approval.
McConnell gloated about the accomplishment before the vote, saying: “Once we confirm Judge Wilson today, this Senate will have confirmed 200 of President Trump’s nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench.”
“And following number 200, when we depart this chamber today, there won’t be a single circuit-court vacancy anywhere in the nation for the first time in at least 40 years,” McConnell said.