Who knew how President Trump was going to govern when he was elected? Amongst his appeal to voters was his global business experience and the fact that he was not Hillary Clinton. Beyond him running as a Republican, he had not yet held public office and there was no ideological track record to document any policy decisions.
Who knew he would evolve into what some are calling the most pro-life president in history? It is hard to question that description when you consider some of his accomplishments supporting life: working to defund Planned Parenthood, requiring health insurers to disclose whether the plan covers abortion, clarifying that abortion is not a civil right and exempting private employers and educational institutions with sincerely held religious beliefs or morals against providing contraceptives or abortifacient drugs.
Who knew he possessed the statesmanship and foreign policy expertise to successfully negotiate historic Middle East peace pacts between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Israel and Bahrain, with the promise of more to come? Would you have used the words “Nobel Peace Prize nominee” and “Donald Trump” in the same sentence when he announced his candidacy for President in 2015? Be honest.
Perhaps the most significant impact President Trump has made domestically is his incredible remake of the American federal judiciary. While the Supreme Court is much higher profile than federal circuit courts, it only hears less than 2 percent of the several thousand cases it reviews each year. The U.S. Court of Appeals heard nearly 50,000 appeals across its 11 regions in 2019 (not counting the DC and Federal Circuits). In terms of maintaining the rule of law and upholding the Constitution, the U.S. Court of Appeals’ influence is immense.
President Trump’s remake of the court has been stunning. Over 200 federal judges have been nominated and confirmed. These judges, mostly under the age of 50, have the potential to reshape the courts for generations. This effort includes his two successful Supreme Court nominees, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.
Now, a full one-quarter of all active federal circuit judges have been appointed by President Trump and he did this in just four years. We are already seeing movement at the U.S. Court of Appeals Second, Third, and Eleventh Circuits with the majority shifting from Democrat to Republican. The influential, and notoriously liberal, Ninth Circuit has been flipped with confirmed Trump judicial nominees.
President Trump believes that the judges he nominates for these courts put the Constitution above “political prejudices” and ideological biases and will do what “the law demands.” He also believes that this effort will stop activist judges from using nationwide injunctions “to block the policies of a democratically-elected President.”
Elections do indeed have consequences and President Trump’s important work with the judiciary only continues with his reelection. The Republicans face a challenge to retake the House, but if they are successful in holding both their Senate majority and the White House in November, the legacy-making rebuild of these critical courts will persist. And that is good news for Americans for generations to come.
Andrew Mangione is Senior Vice President for AMAC’s advocacy affiliate, AMAC Action. He leads AMAC’s grassroots efforts, represents AMAC’s membership in Washington, D.C., and helps chart the association’s policy course. He also serves as a national spokesperson.