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Congressman Jason Smith

Congressman Jason Smith

 Constitutional Courts

“Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.”

 This is the warning that Senate Democratic Leaders, and one of their nominees for President, delivered to the Supreme Court earlier this week. It is part of Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and liberal elites continued disdain for our Constitution and the laws of this country. Leftists and their progressive representatives had no problem with the federal bench when its make-up reflected them and their desire to pull our nation left. However, when President Trump was elected and began nominating justices that actually respect our Constitution and believe that their job is to interpret the laws and not rewrite them, there was suddenly an issue with the courts.

Progressives have for too long relied on advancing their liberal ideology and the policy victories they desired through an overzealous and activist Supreme Court. For decades, the size of American government has been growing larger and more intrusive. As bureaucrats have become more empowered, it has become easier for them to write rules and regulations that carry the weight of law. This shuts average Americans out of the political process. Over time, left-leaning judicial activism has put the courts on the side of big government’s regulatory state over the inherent rights and liberties guaranteed to American citizens. But today, with President Trump, the landscape of our judiciary has been completely changed.

During his first two years in office, President Trump nominated two justices—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh—to the Supreme Court, which will have a generational impact on the high court. Now, simply because it was Donald Trump who made these nominations, liberal elites are concerned about future decisions from the Supreme Court. They are suggesting we add an additional four Supreme Court justices to solve this problem. This is insanity, undermines the separation of powers, and it cannot be tolerated. And if the recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the bench proved anything, it is that the left will not stop short of pulling out any lie they can to try and discredit well-credentialed nominees from a president they disagree with.

I stand with President Trump and his efforts to restore the rule of law to not only the Supreme Court, but the entire federal judiciary. In fact, the most lasting changes that President Trump has made are to the U.S. appeals courts. Of the 179 full-time positions on the federal appeals court, almost a quarter of them are judges which have been nominated by President Trump. These lower courts actually hear most of the cases which impact the interpretations of our laws. Typically, the Supreme Court hears less than 70 cases a year. Comparatively, in the last year the federal appellate courts have provided a decision on almost 50,000 cases.

This type of restorative change has already shifted the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, where President Trump’s three nominees have changed the ideological make-up of the court. Now there are eight judges appointed by Republicans to the six appointed by Democrats. This type of shift is also likely to happen in the 2nd Circuit, the 4th Circuit, and the 11th Circuit; based in New York, Virginia, and Georgia respectively. Even the 9th Circuit Court, long the bastion of liberal activism, is in Trump’s sights.

Not only has the president nominated and had confirmed so many judges to the federal courts, but they are also relatively young. In fact, the average age of the judges is 47.5 years old. Given their lifetime appointment to the bench, it is likely that these judges could continue to impact decisions for decades to come. In total this year, the Republican-led Senate has confirmed 59 judges. As of today, there have been 144 federal judges confirmed during the Trump Administration. When the Senate reconvenes at the start of September, there are another half-dozen nominees that are expected to get a confirmation vote.

While Democratic Leaders now are lamenting a sudden shift in the court, the reality is that they are simply concerned their vision and desire for an activist Supreme Court is not a reality today. Instead of being comprised of justices that seek to contrive the laws they wish to see, the majority of today’s court is made up of people who respect the rule of law in this nation. Lower federal courts have also received massive transformations under President Trump that will include a lasting legacy of restoring the Constitution to the center of the rule of law. This is not a sudden sickness that has struck the Supreme Court, but an antibiotic to alleviate the threat of an activist judiciary.