Published in Truthout
Every president wants a lasting legacy, and in the realm of government, nothing is more effective than installing lifetime appointees to the federal bench, says Michael Avery, professor emeritus at Suffolk Law School and co-author of The Federalist Society: How Conservatives Took the Law Back from Liberals.
Ronald Reagan’s attorney general, Edwin Meese, was the first to articulate the importance of this strategy, Avery told Truthout. And in the nearly four decades since Meese began pushing this tactic, conservative organizations like the Federalist Society, aided by deep-pocketed conservative and libertarian funders, have made filling the federal judiciary a top priority. There’s a lot at stake: 870 seats on tribunals including the Supreme Court, District Courts, Courts of Appeal and specialty bodies such as the Court of International Trade.
Not surprisingly, the right has found a willing and eager ally in Donald J. Trump. He’s not only seated two Supreme Court justices, but in the last two-and-a-half years, 43 Trump appointees — nearly 25 percent of the 179 total — have been confirmed to sit on Appeals Courts; at least four more are currently in the approval pipeline.