How Trump is Reshaping the Federal Judiciary


The Trump administration is reshaping our judicial landscape. During his time in office, Trump has sent 157 judicial nominees to the Senate. Of those, about a quarter of them have documented anti-choice records, which is bad news for reproductive and sexual health and rights. To help explain the sometimes daunting task of understanding the judiciary system under Trump, Kate Ryan from NARAL Pro-Choice America sits down with us!

The federal court system is made up of the district court, the circuit court, and the Supreme Court. These courts handle cases that are related to federal statute or the U.S. constitution. There are 94 district courts and over 670 district court judges, as well as 13 circuit courts of appeals and 180 circuit court judges.

The Supreme Court has changed drastically since Trump took office. Prior to the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, often seen as a “swing-vote,” there were four liberal-leaning justices and four conservative-leaning justices. Now that Justice Brett Kavanaugh has taken the seat left by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court is considered conservative. This is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade.

76 lower court judges have been confirmed so far, with 76 more pending in the Senate. There are still 60 vacancies that haven’t been filled.

In regards to the circuit court, 1 in 6 circuit court judges are Trump appointees. More than 50% of these circuit court judges are confirmed anti-choice. Most of these appointees are young, white men with hostile records toward reproductive rights, civil rights, science, and immigration rights.

On the bright side, five Trump judicial nominees have been defeated thus far, including known vote suppressors and those who have previously cited racist ideology.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Links from this episode
NARAL Pro-Choice America
NARAL Pro-Choice America on Facebook
NARAL Pro-Choice America on Twitter
NARAL Pro-Choice America’s list of anti-choice nominees

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