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] Trump nominated 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] After assuming office, Gorsuch positioned himself as one of the most conservative justices.[15]

Notable Supreme Court cases

2017

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]

2018

Among 2018 Supreme Court decisions advancing conservative ideals, it ruled that immigrants to the U.S. can be detained indefinitely.[27] In April 2018, the Court overturned an Obama Administration effort to expand overtime pay laws to include certain car dealership employees.[28] In May 2018, the Court strengthened Tenth Amendment protections by striking down a law that prohibited states from enacting laws allowing sports gambling.[29] It also weakened the power of the administrative state by ruling that the Securities and Exchange Commission's hiring of administrative law judges violated the Appointments Clause.[30] Among labor rulings, the conservative majority of the Court narrowly ruled in favor of allowing businesses prevent class action lawsuits against them through their contracts, based on federal law.[31] It also ruled in a 5–4 decision that allowed states to remove inactive voters from its voter rolls in order to help prevent voter fraud.[32]

Regarding abortion, while the Supreme Court did not end the legal battle, it allowed an Arkansas law restricting abortions go into effect by refusing to hear the case.[33] The Court also threw out a lower court opinion that established a "right" to abortion for illegal immigrant minors since the case was moot, though it rejected the Trump Administration's request to punish the pro-abortion attorneys for misleading the court.[34]

The Supreme Court made some mixed rulings. For example, on religious liberty, the Court ruled in favor of a Christian baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple due to his religious convictions, though it did not rule on the general question of whether people of religious faith can be forced to take part in homosexual weddings against their conscience.[35] Also, while the Court protected Fourth Amendment rights by ruling that the police need a warrant in order to search a vehicle on private property,[36] and ruled that the police need a warrant to search one's cellphone location records, the latter decision's reasoning was not consistent with the Constitution.[37] While the Court expanded states' rights and weakened the Negative Commerce Clause by ruling that states have the power to collect a sales tax on online retailers, some conservatives criticized the decision for allowing for more taxation power and the nagative effects that come with it.[38]

The Supreme Court, on a 5–4 vote with Justice Gorsuch casting the deciding vote, struck down a federal law making it easier for the government to deport criminal legal immigrants due to the law's vagueness, something that impeded the government's efforts even if the Court's reasoning abided by the Constitution.[39]

Number of judicial appointments

  • President Trump made major progress on nominating and confirming originalist and textualist judicial nominees in his first year in office.[40] 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.[41][42] Additionally, while only five total Trump-nominated judges were confirmed by August 1, 2017, President Trump was still ahead of both former presidents.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45]
  • The U.S. Senate continued confirming a record number of judges in 2018.[46]

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.[47]

References

  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.
    See also:
  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. LifeNews.com. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  10. Dannenfelser, Marjorie (January 31, 2017). The Truth about Trump’s Pro-life SCOTUS List. Townhall. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  11. http://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Template:Mainpageright&diff=1302133&oldid=1301962
  12. Multiple references: See also:
  13. Multiple references:
  14. Klukowski, Ken (May 4, 2017). Trump Appointment of Gorsuch an Epic 100-Day Success. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  15. Multiple references: This perception remained one year in:
  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. Multiple references: See also:
  30. Multiple references:
  31. Multiple references: See also:
  32. Multiple references: See also:
  33. Multiple references: See also:
  34. Multiple references:
  35. Multiple references: More information on how the case was a "narrow" ruling: See also:
  36. Multiple references:
  37. Multiple references: See also:
  38. Multiple references: For a negative conservative viewpoint on the decision:
  39. Multiple references: Some conservatives and libertarians, however, viewed the ruling as consistent with originalist and textualist principles: See also:
  40. Multiple references:
  41. Swoyer, Alex (July 13, 2017). Trump makes fifth round of judicial nominations. The Washington Times. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  42. 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.
  43. Multiple references: See also:
  44. Multiple references:
  45. Multiple references:
  46. Multiple references: See also:
  47. Multiple references: See also: