Download Report (PDF, 1 MB)
For nearly 40 years, Alliance for Justice has worked to ensure that our nation’s justice system advances core constitutional values, preserves critical rights and unfettered access to the courts, and adheres to the even-handed administration of justice for all Americans. We have never witnessed an assault on our justice system like the one we have seen since Donald Trump became President.
President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for the rule of law. His likely criminality is referenced in court filings. He has verbally attacked judges who have ruled against him. He has stated that he expects personal loyalty from those in law enforcement. He has demanded investigations into the media and political opponents. He has repeatedly tried to undermine independent investigations. He has mocked constitutional rights. He has abused his pardon authority. He has repeatedly acted in ways struck down by courts. His attempts to subvert the independence of the Department of Justice are especially egregious, and a detailed examination of those actions could easily consume an entire report.
Indeed, a point-by-point recitation of President Trump’s shameful conduct in office could consume several reports. This retrospective report, however, issued after the 115th Congress, will focus on one specific aspect of Trump’s impact on our justice system: the judicial nominations, put forward by the White House, that have emanated from organizations funded by the wealthy and powerful and have been expedited by the Senate’s disregard for norms and rules. The President has placed numerous ultraconservative individuals on the bench who will erode rights and legal protections for generations, long after he leaves the White House.
This report contains appendices documenting many of Trump’s ideological nominees from the 115th Congress. Appendices A-U are replete with nominees who have histories of bigoted and offensive comments, troubling records, and bias. Yet, with very few exceptions, every single Republican in the Senate voted for these individuals. In many cases, evidence of offensive writings, prejudicial policy positions, and/or a glaring absence of experience still did not dissuade Republicans en masse from supporting a judicial nominee.
This retrospective report reviews the first two years of judicial nominations and confirmations during the Trump presidency. Except where otherwise noted, all data and analyses pertain to the period ending on January 3, 2019, which marked the end of the 115th Congress. Part I provides data as to persons nominated and confirmed. Part II describes what many of the nominees have in common – records of working to eviscerate critical rights and legal protections. Part III describes the erosion of rules and norms to confirm many of President Trump’s nominees. Part IV offers hope, because we believe that all those who care deeply about fair-minded judges and courts can still find reasons to remain optimistic about the future despite the current President’s assaults on the rule of law and our rights. Finally, the appendices provide information on select nominees’ records, broken down by subject matter.