They call the Senate the "deliberative body" -- and it's been deliberate all right. This week, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had the honor of presiding over President Trump's 150th (and 151st and 152nd) judicial confirmation hitting the milestone at record speed -- and cementing this administration's place as one of the most influential court-shapers in history.
It's not a story the media will want to tell, but the impact that Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell have had on the courts is one of the greatest stories of the 45th presidency. The mark, which puts this administration ahead of Obama's by more than 50 at this point, is astounding. It means, experts say, that by the end of his term, President Trump may have shaped as much as 30 percent of the bench -- a historic legacy that will reverberate through America for generations to come.
McConnell, who has quietly plowed through the nominations at break-neck speed, is most proud of the kind of people Republicans have played a part in elevating. "[The judges] we've been nominating believe in the simple, quaint notion that maybe the judges ought to follow the law. I'm amazed that that's controversial..." he said on Fox News. "We are making an important difference for the country that will last for a very long time and my motto for this Congress is: 'leave no vacancy behind.'"
Thursday, on "Washington Watch," Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) had nothing but praise for the president -- not just for keeping his promise on the courts, but well surpassing it.
"It's an amazing number. One hundred and fifty judges in just three years -- less than three years. It's really, really extraordinary. It's a testament to this administration. President Trump took a pledge. He said, 'I'm going to nominate conservative, pro-Constitution, pro-life judges to the bench. And he's done exactly that... And given the history of what the courts have been used for by the Left... this is so significant. And it has generational impact."
Still, Hawley said, there's no reason to stop now. "There's still a lot of work to do. There are still almost 100 open seats on the federal courts at all levels. That's a bunch of seats. That's a bunch of judges. We need to fill those with pro-Constitution men and women." He believes, and we agree, that this is something that will matter for America and for our country -- not just for the next two or three years, "but for the next 30 and 40 and 50." President Trump is going to have the chance to appoint something like a quarter or a third of the entire federal judiciary.
"And... look, [the] judges in our country are extremely powerful. I mean, if you look around the world, we're kind of an anomaly. Judges in the country have more power for better or for worse than in a lot of other places. So who sits on the bench for those lifetime appointments? Who makes decisions about what our Constitution means and how to interpret it?"
Someday, very soon, Americans will find out for themselves just how significant the president's investment in the courts has been. Until then, we agree with Senator Hawley: keep it up!
[Begin listening at the 10:53 mark.]