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Forget the Impeachment Drama, Trump Has Flipped Another Circuit Court of Appeals

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Right now, we’re in a 30-minute recess. U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is testifying in yet another impeachment hearing. And guess what—we still have yet to find any direct evidence of quid pro quo concerning Ukrainian military aid. It’s a total circus in the House. In the Senate, they’re keeping the foot on the gas regarding confirming the president’s judicial nominations. They recently confirmed another judge and flipped the 11thCircuit Court of Appeals in the process. That’s the third appeals court that this administration has flipped towards sanity (via Washington Examiner):

The Tuesday confirmation of Judge Robert J. Luck created a majority for Republican-appointed judges on the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the third such party flip in a federal court of appeals during the Trump presidency.

President Trump has also created GOP majority courts in the Third Circuit, which flipped in March, and the Second Circuit, which flipped last week with the confirmation of Steven Menashi. Since Trump assumed office in 2017, 163 title III judges have been confirmed to the bench, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The confirmation of Barbara Lagoa to the 11th Circuit is also expected in the coming days after Luck was easily confirmed by the Senate with a 64 to 31 vote. The change to a GOP-fortified 11th Circuit could mean a significant shift in the outcome of several election law disputes, primarily from Georgia and Florida, which the court is currently involved in.

"Lagoa's parents fled Castro's Cuba, and their experience gave her a deep and abiding respect for the rule of law," said Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino on Twitter. "The first Cuban-American woman to sit on the Eleventh Circuit, Judge Lagoa will solidify the follow-the-law jurisprudence exemplified by the court's new majority."

Bloomberg Law had a nice preview of how this White House was poised to flip the courts, with the Second, Third, and Eleventh Circuits being only the first:

The Second, Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits, whose territory ranges from Vermont to Florida, could all soon have a majority of Republican appointees.

Even the Ninth Circuit, which has stymied Trump’s orders on immigration and environmental policies, is within striking distance of flipping its seats to a majority of Republican appointees.

 The 13 federal appellate circuits are the highest courts that most federal legal arguments reach. Few cases proceed to the next level, the Supreme Court, so flipping the ratio of Republicans to Democrats at the appellate level could have a significant and long-lasting effect on the interpretation of federal law.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit could see significant changes in 2019, with six open seats and five pending nominees on the 29-member bench. If the vacancies are filled, flipping the Ninth Circuit would no longer be a fanciful goal for Republicans, who have frequently been at odds with the court.

Keep things going, Mitch. 

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