Of all President Donald Trump’s achievements, appointing originalist judges throughout the federal judiciary system may have the most long-lasting impact.
In fact, Trump has seen 218 judges confirmed during his four years in office — a modern-day record that easily surpasses the number of judges appointed by any of the prior five presidents, as Breitbart reported.
Trump goes big
Former President Jimmy Carter is the most recent president to appoint more federal judges than Trump, with 248 judges confirmed. However, 152 of those judges were the result of a massive expansion of the federal judiciary by Congress and not vacancies caused by death or retirements, Breitbart noted.
Trump’s record will likely rise by at least one more before Election Day, presuming the Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a vote that could come as soon as Monday.
Trump’s many appointments of Article III judges, tallied in the Judicial Appointment Tracker created by the Heritage Foundation, includes the Supreme Court, the courts of appeal, district courts, and the U.S. Court of International Trade.
The Judicial Appointment Tracker shows that as of Oct. 21, in his first term Trump surpassed all presidents going back to former President Ronald Reagan, many by a wide margin. Former President Barack Obama only achieved 160 total appointments, President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton are tied with 203 appointments, President George H.W. Bush managed 193 appointments, and Reagan saw 166 of his nominees confirmed.
Faced staunch opposition
Beyond total confirmations, the Heritage tracker also broke down a number of other metrics related to judicial appointments, including the number of appointments that faced greater than 25% opposition.
Unfortunately, Trump has also set records on that front. Of all of Trump’s 218 confirmations, 95 of them, or 44.4%, faced oppositional “No” votes from more than 25% of the Senate. The next closest was Obama, who only saw 13 of his nominees, or 7.9%, be confirmed in spite of opposition greater than 25%.
The tracker also showed that, despite the record number of Article III judges confirmed thus far, those confirmations were only 77.2% of the total number of judges nominated, which for Trump stands at 260 overall thus far.
Still more vacancies to fill
It’s impossible to talk about Trump’s success in confirming federal judges without mentioning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who has been laser-focused on the federal courts and has often stated that his intention is to “leave no vacancy behind.”
He still has some work ahead of him on that front, as the Heritage tracker showed that 8.6% of the federal judiciary is currently vacant.
That said, it should only compel every Republican to vote for a second term for Trump and to keep the GOP in charge of the Senate, so that the rest of those vacancies — and any others that arise over the next four years — will be filled by the same sort of originalist judges we’ve seen over the prior four years.