The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed Cory Wilson as a new judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New Orleans. The vote split along party lines, 52-48, with Maine Republican Susan Collins the only Republican voting no. Wilson is the 200th federal judge appointed to a lifetime term by President Trump, and his record of circuit court confirmations, even as of May 4, stands as the most ever confirmed by that time in a president’s first term, going as far back as President John F. Kennedy.
Wilson, 49, is a Yale Law School graduate and former Mississippi state legislator who has recently served as a state appellate judge. The American Bar Association rated him as “well qualified” for the federal appeals court.
Democrats opposed to Wilson pointed to statements he made as a state legislator in favor of voter ID laws, which they claim discriminate against minorities. Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called Wilson’s record, “extremely problematic at this moment in time,” referring to the recent protests nationwide over the death of George Floyd.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke approvingly of Wilson’s confirmation: “As I’ve said many times, our work with the administration to renew our federal courts is not a partisan or political victory. It is a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself.”
At this point, Trump has appointed approximately one-fifth of the almost 900-member federal judiciary, including 53 circuit court judges, 143 district court judges, 2 international trade court justices, and two Supreme Court justices.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Republicans of “packing the courts” as he commented on the Wilson nomination:
“Over the last three years, instead of focusing on legislation to help the American people, Leader McConnell and President Trump have dedicated almost every ounce of their energy and focus to packing the courts with right-wing ideologues who they know will do their bidding from the bench,” the senator said.
President Trump recently tweeted that by September he intends to reveal a new list of potential Supreme Court nominees he would select from should a vacancy arise. His 2016 Supreme Court list is credited in some quarters with delivering his election win that year.
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