Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is a little late to the party. She is just now figuring out that one of President Donald Trump's most successful acts has been the number of judges that have been placed on our courts, particularly on the circuit court level. He made a pact with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), whose motto is to "leave no vacancy behind," and it has paid off big time for conservatives.
After months and months of successful appointments in the Senate, Hirono is finally figuring out the goal: for Republicans to nominate and appoint judges with a conservative bent.
"Trump has already appointed 25 percent – I think at least 25 percent of the circuit court judges – and 20 percent of all the judges in the federal judiciary for lifetime positions," Hirono said in a video to her constituents. "And he wants all these people in place because he would like judges who are going to, pretty much, be on his ideological page."
"Now let me tie that, once again, to the D.C. Circuit. Very important because this is a circuit that is going to make decisions based on Trump's tax returns, based on whether or not Congress can issue subpoenas that can be enforced," she explained. "This is the court that is going to deal with so many of the issues and the decisions of the Trump administration that will be challenged."
Sen. Mazie Hirono: "[Trump] would like judges who are going to pretty much be on his ideological page." pic.twitter.com/DAdUKF5XnQ— The Hill (@thehill) May 10, 2020
We're how many years into the Trump administration and Hirono is just now figuring out that Republicans want to appoint – GASP – conservative judges and justices? Was she asleep when President Trump nominated now-Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh? Or when he broke appointment circuit court appointments records?
Back in October of 2018, Trump appointed a record-breaking number of appellate court judges – 29 – in his first two years in office. Last may he reached a milestone: confirming 100 judges to the federal bench. That number has only continued to skyrocket because the White House and Republicans in the Senate, led by McConnell, have made it a priority.
Court appointments are never about immediate case decisions. It's about the long-term. It's about how the courts will be shaped for years to come.
The circuit courts are, arguably, the most important court level. They serve as a middle ground between district courts and the Supreme Court. And, because the number of cases the Supreme Court in a year is limited, many of the most vital decisions are made in the 13 circuit court of appeals.
Hirono is rather late to the judicial confirmation party. McConnell has been very open about wanting to make sure our court system has no vacancies. And if the Democrats were in power, they would be doing the exact same thing.