Trump, with the help of a determined McConnell and Senate GOP majority, has significantly reshaped the judiciary during his first term, and the 200th appointment milestone illustrates how lasting his legacy will be, as federal judges serve lifetime appointments and many of Trump’s picks have been young judges who can serve for many years.
“Judicial confirmations may be President Trump’s most important legacy,” said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “They will shape the nation’s laws on abortion, LGBT rights, voting rights and many other issues long after Trump leaves office.”
The 200 confirmations will also be a permanent part of McConnell’s legacy. The Kentucky Republican, who is up for re-election this year, played a key role in changing Senate rules to both speed up the process of confirming judicial nominees eliminating the 60-vote threshold for minority filibusters.
In a 52-48 vote on Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Wilson and filled the last currently available appeals court post. Democrats complained about Wilson’s views on voting rights and other issues, but could not stop his confirmation since a simple majority vote is all that’s required for approval.
McConnell gloated about the accomplishment before the vote, saying: “Once we confirm Judge Wilson today, this Senate will have confirmed 200 of President Trump’s nominees to lifetime appointments on the federal bench.”
“And following number 200, when we depart this chamber today, there will not be a single circuit-court vacancy anywhere in the nation for the first time in at least 40 years,” McConnell said.