Over his three years in office, President Donald Trump has managed to appoint a whopping 10 conservative judges to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a historically liberal federal bench.
That makes President Trump second only to President Bill Clinton in the number of federal judge appointments to the San Francisco-based appeals court, the largest federal circuit in the country.
Before Trump took office, Democrat-appointed judges has a plus-11 advantage over GOP-appointed judges on the circuit. But over three years, the president, with the help of a Republican-controlled Senate, has managed to cut that lead by more than half.
“That is a dramatic, dramatic shift,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network.
The 9th Circuit’s jurisdiction includes the West Coast from Alaska to California, as well as Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Nevada.
At president, the circuit has 16 Democrat-appointed and 13 Republican-appointed active judges.
Including senior judges who don’t get as many cases, there are 25 Democrat-appointed and 24 GOP-appointed jurists.
That said, the 9th Circuit’s majority still consists of Democrat-appointed judges who tend to view cases through a liberal political lens, while Republican-appointed jurists follow a constitutional originalist interpretation.
The 9th Circuit was, for years, the go-to court for Democrat-leaning groups to secure favorable rulings. But with the shift to GOP appointees, that will change, experts note.
In recent months, however, the 9th Circuit has been delivering more rulings favorable to President Trump, outcomes that would have been unheard of in prior years, Severino told the Washington Times.
“The 9th Circuit was known where any liberal organization for cause could go for an easy win,” she said.