Trump has crossed a major mark as he tries to quietly cement a lasting legacy
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Following a wave of judicial nominations on Thursday, Trump has now submitted 105 individuals to vacancies on appeals courts, district courts, and US attorney positions.
President Barack Obama, at the same point of his first term in 2009, had nominated a fraction of the individuals.
Trump crossed the mark right as the Senate is battling over what to do with the "blue slip" practice, which has come under fire from some Republicans recently.
The blue slip is a tradition in which US senators can give or withhold their blessing for a judicial nominee from their state. The process gives the party that does not control the White House leverage over the president's nominations, and some Democrats have used that power to deny a pair of Trump's nominees from moving forward in the Senate Judiciary Committee. That, in turn, makes it easier for Trump to advance nominees in states that do not have any Democratic Senate representation.
With Democrats now having the ability to - in many states - prevent Trump's judicial nominees from advancing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The New York Times recently that he thought the blue-slip practice should be scrapped for circuit-court nominations. That sparked backlash from Democrats, who said the move would be hypocritical, as Republicans staunchly defended the blue slip process while Obama was in office.
While only a small portion of Trump's nominations have been confirmed so far, the confirmation rate has begun to pick up as the nominees have started to receive committee hearings. And with a massive number of vacancies on the federal bench, Trump has a real opportunity to cement a decades-long legacy on the courts.
Here are Trump's nominations by the numbers:
- Roughly 82% of his 105 nominations to lower courts and US attorney slots are from states Trump carried last fall.
- Fifteen of Trump's 18 picks for circuit courts - the second highest in the country - are from states he won in 2016.
- Half of his circuit court picks are from states without a Democratic senator.
- Only about 14% of Trump's nominees are women.
- Trump has made 22 nominations to appeals courts, 38 to district courts, 40 to US attorney slots, two to the US Tax Court, and three to the US Court of Federal Claims.
- There are currently more than 140 judicial vacancies on the federal courts.
- Thirty-five of the 40 US attorney slots Trump has nominated for are in states he won last fall, as are 33 of the 38 district court judges he has nominated.
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