(Washington) US President Joe Biden will soon have the opportunity to leave a first imprint on the US judicial system given that about 10% of federal positions are vacant or will soon be vacant.
Mr. Biden enjoys two seats to the influential Court of Appeals positions in the nation’s capital, often a waiting hall that leads to the Supreme Court.
However, unless the number of judges is increased, which seems unlikely, he will not be able to overturn the conservative majority on the Supreme Court any time soon. The oldest conservative judge, Clarence Thomas, is 72 years old. As for the three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, all relatively young, they can hope to serve for many years.
The justice system has not traditionally been a priority for Democrats, but the unrest wrought by Donald Trump may have changed their outlook. These appointments are also the only concrete steps Biden could take now.
Mr. Biden can hold approximately 90 seats. These judges are appointed for life once the Senate confirms their appointment.
There are 10 vacant seats in the federal courts of appeals. Merrick Garland is currently one of them and is expected to be appointed as Attorney General in the coming days. Another longtime court judge, David Tatel, has said he wants to reduce his workload, which would allow the president to appoint his successor.
Chief Justice John Roberts as well as Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Thomas worked on a federal appeals court before being appointed to the highest court in the United States.
During his tenure, Mr. Trump has not only appointed three judges to the Supreme Court. It also chose 54 for the Court of Appeal and 174 for the First Instance Court. The determination of the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, helped him powerfully in these positions.
Democrats and their progressive allies say they have learned the lesson and plan to pay more attention to judicial appointments.
We are in an exceptional position. The President and his advisers see this as a top priority. President Biden knows that part of his legacy is to undo the damage done by Trump as much as possible.
Ross Fingold, former Democratic senator
Liberal groups say they are encouraged by the White House signals. Attorney Dana Remus warned senators in December that new judges ’recommendations should be presented within 45 days of the vacancy.
Biden has already pledged to appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court if a seat opens. Judge Stephen Breyer, 82, is the oldest court member and can retire, but has not announced any plans.
Democrats are looking for a more diverse justice system. More than three of the four judges appointed by Mr. Trump were men. The percentage of white judges was 85%.
Liberal groups also want the experience of public defenders to be taken into account when the time comes to evaluate the candidacy.
“Our view is that we would like to see them prioritize diversity of work experiences, unlike the two previous Democratic administrations,” said Nan Aaron, group president, Alliance for Justice.
Democrats are also planning to create new positions in the justice system, for the first time in 30 years. The idea would manage the increase in cases in parts of the country and could garner bipartisan support.
Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crabbo recently wrote about the need to appoint another federal judge in his state. A representative of the Republican Party from California, Daryl Issa, supports the addition of judges in California and other states.
“There is broad agreement here on both sides,” Issa said last month at a session of the House Judicial Subcommittee.
But some Republicans and conservative groups are concerned about what the Democrats might try now because they control Congress and the White House. ” [Si les démocrates prétextent] “The justice system is kind of out of reach for the creation and filling of judgeships for the sake of court bias, and I disagree with that,” says John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation.