Donald Trump achievements: The courts

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Official presidential photo of President Donald Trump
Main article: Donald Trump achievements

This article is a non-exhaustive list of U.S. President Donald Trump's achievements related to appointing conservative judges and thus influencing court decisions.

President Trump faced a great opportunity – though not one easily realized[1] – to appoint conservative judges for the over 100 vacancies that existed at the beginning of his term.[2] In addition, changes in the Senate confirmation process in the 2013 and 2017 made it significantly easier to confirm conservative judges to the federal courts.[3] As of 2017, Trump did nominate conservative judges to court positions, and was more consistent than any modern president in nominating conservatives and originalists to the judiciary.[4] He had a very successful year in 2017 in nominating and confirming conservative federal judges.[5]

Supreme Court

Neil Gorsuch nomination

President Trump announcing his nomination of Gorsuch, January 31, 2017.
President Trump looks on as Gorsuch is sworn-in.

On January 31, 2017, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.[6][7] The nomination was well received by many conservatives.[8][9] Others, however, such as Andrew Schlafly, disagreed with the nomination due to concerns about Gorsuch's position on abortion.[10][11] The Senate ultimately confirmed Gorsuch on a vote of 54–45, even though the GOP was forced to initiate the nuclear option and lowering the vote threshold to overturn a filibuster for Supreme Court nominees due to Democrat obstructionism.[12] Gorsuch assumed office on April 10, 2017.[13] The appointment and confirmation of Gorsuch within Trump's first 100 days in office was considered a major achievement for Trump.[14] Immediately into his tenure on the Court, Gorsuch positioned himself as one of the most conservative justices.[15]

Notable Supreme Court cases


Several Supreme Court cases in 2017 advanced conservative and originalist ideals. These cases included a ruling that a government ban on offensive trademarks was unconstitutional,[16] that states could not exclude churches from public aid for secular purposes[17] and affirmed that naturalized citizens could lose their citizenship if they gained it through lying.[18] The Court also denied cert (meaning it refused to hear the case) in Binderup v. Holder regarding gun rights for persons convicted of non-serious misdemeanors, meaning that the court's ruling that people convicted of non-serious misdemeanors would not lose their rights to bear weapons.[19]

The Court partially reinstated President Trump's travel ban pending hearings to be held in October.[20] Additionally, on July 19, 2017, the Supreme Court temporarily allowed the Trump Administration to strictly enforce its refugee admissions under the ban until an appeals court ruled on the matter.[21] On October 24, 2017, the Supreme Court dropped the case, due to it having expired and being moot.[22] In December 2017, the Supreme Court allowed the Trump Administration to fully enforce its third travel ban despite left-wing opposition.[23]

However, the Court made several decisions going against conservative ideals. The Court continued its expansion of the homosexual agenda by striking down an Arkansas law requiring biological parents to be named on birth certificates.[24] Additionally, the Court denied cert on a case on whether the Second Amendment applies to carrying guns outside the home, thus keeping in place a California law requiring a "good reason" to obtain a concealed carry permit.[25] Later in 2017, the Supreme Court refused to hear two cases involving assault weapons bans and open carry, keeping intact the lower courts' decisions favoring strict gun regulations.[26]


Among 2018 Supreme Court decisions advancing conservative ideals, it ruled that immigrants to the U.S. can be detained indefinitely.[27]

Number of judicial appointments

  • President Trump made major progress on nominating and confirming originalist and textualist judicial nominees in his first year in office.[28] It was reported in July 2017 that President Trump had nominated more judicial nominees by that point in his presidency than Obama and Bush II had done.[29][30] Additionally, while only five total Trump-nominated judges were confirmed by August 1, 2017, President Trump was still ahead of both former presidents.[31] By November 2017, Congress had appointed more judicial nominees than any other president since Richard Nixon at the same period of time into their presidencies.[32] In Trump's first year in office, the U.S. Senate confirmed the most appeals court judges ever in the first year of any president in American history.[33]

Other achievements

  • On March 17, 2017, the Trump Administration notified the American Bar Association – which takes numerous left-wing positions and displays bias against conservatives – that it would end the ABA's role in evaluating judicial nominees before formally nominating them.[34]


  1. Horowitz, Daniel; Madden, Nate (February 22, 2017). Trump's plan to remake the courts is tougher than numbers suggest. Conservative Review. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  2. Multiple references:
  3. Novak, Jake (November 24, 2017). Congress has handed Trump a historic presidential victory. CNBC. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
  4. Multiple references:
  5. Klukowski, Ken (December 30, 2017). Trump’s Historic Success Appointing Federal Judges in 2017. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  6. Klukowski, Ken (January 31, 2017). Trump Nominates Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court. Breitbart. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  7. Hurley, Lawrence; Holland, Steve (January 31, 2017). Trump picks conservative judge Gorsuch for U.S. Supreme Court. Reuters. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  8. Chamberlain, Steve (January 31, 2017). Conservatives hail Trump's Supreme Court pick. Fox News. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  9. Ertelt, Steven (January 31, 2017). President Donald Trump Nominates Pro-Life-Friendly Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  10. Dannenfelser, Marjorie (January 31, 2017). The Truth about Trump’s Pro-life SCOTUS List. Townhall. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  12. Berger, Judson (April 7, 2017). Gorsuch confirmed to Supreme Court. Fox News. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  13. Gorsuch sworn in as Supreme Court justice ahead of key cases. Fox News. April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  14. Klukowski, Ken (May 4, 2017). Trump Appointment of Gorsuch an Epic 100-Day Success. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  15. Multiple references:
  16. Multiple references:
  17. Multiple references: The ruling emboldened pro-school choice supporters:
  18. Multiple references:
  19. Hawkins, Awr (June 26, 2017). SCOTUS Lets Ruling Stand Protecting Second Amendment Rights Following Non-Serious Misdemeanors. Breitbart News. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  20. Multiple references: Conservatives criticized the fact that it was a partial reinstatement rather than a full reinstatement: The Trump Administration moved to establish a narrow interpretation of the Court's "bona-fide relationship" it mandated when implementing the ban's partial reinstatement: It went into effect on June 29: The Trump Administration made some exceptions to the ban:
  21. Multiple references:
  22. Multiple references:
  23. Multiple references:
  24. Multiple references:
  25. Multiple references:
  26. Multiple references:
  27. Multiple references:
  28. Multiple references:
  29. Swoyer, Alex (July 13, 2017). Trump makes fifth round of judicial nominations. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  30. Smith, Allan (July 27, 2017). Trump is quietly moving at a furious pace to secure 'the single most important legacy' of his administration. Business Insider. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  31. Multiple references: See also:
  32. Multiple references:
  33. Multiple references:
  34. Multiple references: See also: