The Atlantic: A MAGA Judiciary

In the News

Adam Serwer


This excerpt is from a piece that originally ran on December 5, 2023.

The federal judiciary has become a battleground in a right-wing culture war that aims to turn back the clock to a time when conservative mores—around gender, sexuality, race—were unchallenged and, in some respects, unchallengeable. Many of the federal judges appointed during Trump’s presidency seem to see themselves as foot soldiers in that war, which they view as a crusade to restore the original meaning of the Constitution. Yet in practice, their rulings have proved to be little more than Trump-era right-wing punditry with cherry-picked historical citations.

The 2016 Trump administration was focused on quickly filling the judiciary with judges who are not just ideologically conservative but dedicated right-wing zealots. But that administration “didn’t have all of the chess pieces completely lined up” to get right-wing ideologues into every open seat, Jake Faleschini, of the liberal legal-advocacy group Alliance for Justice, told me. More restrained conservative jurists filled some of those seats. Trump and his allies will be better prepared next time, he said. “Those chess pieces are very well lined up now.”

Read the complete piece.