Regardless of what happens in Donald Trump’s administration over the next two years, he will have a proven record of success as president, especially among conservative Americans.
One of the most important accomplishments of any president is the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court justice. Folks, Trump has appointed and had confirmed two members of the Supreme Court in two years, a remarkable achievement. Justices Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh will have an immense impact on American laws and values for more than likely over two decades, long after Trump is dead and gone. Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are young, in their early 50s and will be part of many landmark rulings that will profoundly affect American public policy.
Trump’s selection of these two extremely well-qualified jurists were wise. They are considered mainstream, moderate conservatives with the perfect educational and judicial background and experience.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation was more controversial because his choice is a pivotal swing vote that tilts the Supreme Court to a conservative majority. Gorsuch was an even swap, a conservative for a conservative, replacing the late Justice Anton Scalia.
Kavanaugh’s appointment was critical. The liberal Democrats had to go to the wall and declare all-out war by whatever means to derail and delay the Kavanaugh confirmation because the Supreme Court swung to becoming a conservative tribunal with Kavanaugh; it previously had four liberals and four conservatives, with Kavanaugh replacing the swing vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Make no mistake, the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is very political.
The liberals had to resort to extreme measures to preserve the possibility the Republicans could lose their control of the U.S. Senate which gives consent to a president’s SCOTUS appointments.
In today’s extremely partisan politics, lines are drawn and both sides go for the jugular vein. Therefore, the only way for Trump to be successful in placing two conservative justices is because he has a Republican majority in the Senate, which has some very adroit veteran GOP leaders such as Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley and Alabama’s Richard Shelby paving the way.
Speaking of Shelby, he has masterminded and orchestrated a legendary coup of his own when it comes to our U.S. federal judges in Alabama. In conjunction with the Trump administration, Shelby has placed six new federal judges in Alabama, all young and conservative. This Shelby/Trump triumph has secured 20 to 30 years of dominance of conservative federal judges in the Heart of Dixie.
During the Obama years, at least six federal judgeships became vacant in Alabama. President Obama appointed replacements but Sen. Shelby and former Sen. Jeff Sessions sat on them and refused to allow them to be confirmed, keeping them vacant due to partisan gamesmanship. Shelby and Sessions hoped a day would come when a Republican president could place these lifetime appointments into conservative hands.
Sen. Shelby and his former chief of staff, current BCA president Katie Britt, spent the entire year of 2018 interviewing, vetting and selecting these judges to assure they were young, conservative, qualified and confirmable. They have indeed accomplished this lifetime feat for Alabama. Liles Burke and Anne Marie Axon are the two new judges for the Northern District; Emily Marks and Andrew Brasher will join conservative Chief Judge William Keith Watkins in the Middle District; and the Southern District will have two new Trump-Shelby appointees in Terry Moorer and Jeffrey Beaverstock.
Shelby has further enhanced his legacy for decades to come and has placed an indelible stamp on the federal judiciary in Alabama with these judicial appointees.
Steve Flowers’ weekly column appears in more than 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the Alabama Legislature. Flowers may be reached at www.steveflowers.us