In eight years, a President can appoint more than a third of all federal judges. That’s approximately 300 judges.
A look at the judicial nominations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama support that number.
According to a federal website, the following numbers represent the two-term totals of the judicial appointments for Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama to the Supreme Court, the 12 U.S. courts of appeals and the federal district courts.
President Clinton – 369 judges
President George W. Bush – 324 judges
President Obama – 319 judges
President Trump – 185 as of 3/11/20 (last year of first term)
Most Americans will never get directly involved in the federal court system, so why should voters care about presidential appointments to the federal courts? Where do the actions of federal judges intersect with our lives?
Here are a few of the touch points where the federal courts have significantly impacted our rights and the moral climate of the nation:
- The definition of marriage
- Abortion, including taxpayer funding of abortion
- The loss of religious freedom and freedom of conscience
- Parental rights
- Privacy issues
A president’s view of the role of the courts influences the kind of judges that are nominated, which generally fall into one of two categories: Originalists (judges who strictly interpret the Constitution according to its text and original understanding) or “Living Constitutionalists” (judges who believe the Constitution ought to “evolve” through judges creating new “rights” from the bench). These two widely divergent judicial philosophies represent the tension surrounding many U.S. Supreme Court decisions and underscore why voters should consider a presidential candidate’s view of the role of the courts.
The U.S. Senate also plays a major role in confirming federal judges to their lifetime appointments. According to the Constitution, the Senate is charged with giving “advice and consent” to the judges the president nominates. Senators are the “check and balance” against a president’s radical choices for judges. For more information explaining how the process of federal judicial appointments works, please go here.
The states have their own judicial court system that handle local issues. The governor typically nominates state judges, but usually one house of the legislature must confirm appointments.
The bottom line: Judges matter so elections matter. Elections impact the selection of judges. Increasingly, living constitutionalist judges are guilty of taking social issues out of the hands of the people and their elected representatives by redefining commonly understood words like “sex” and “marriage” and twisting constitutional provisions to fit the progressive agenda. Christians need to take the courts into consideration when contemplating how to vote in elections.
Make your vote count.