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Saturday, August 05, 2017

"The biggest political story most journalists are missing"

It is Pigmeat Markham time at the White House. Here comes the judge.

(That's Sammy Davis Jr., but it is Mister Markham's bit.)

With a tip of the "definitely not pink knitted" hat to Legal Insurrection, I offer this tidbit from Poynter:
The biggest political story most journalists are missing
By James Warren 
Donald Trump's mercurial, chaotic ways are the overriding narrative of his early White House days. But most of the press misses his discipline in one crucial area: filling vacancies on federal courts.
He may be lax in filling many administrative posts, but it's just not true with the courts.
The reality underscores a gaping hole in journalism, as a federal judge noted to me Thursday. How often do major media outlets pay serious attention to the appointment of district court and appeals judges, beyond the occasional overtly controversial selection?
He might have added this question: How many newspaper editors or reporters can even name, much less speak cogently about, district or appeals judges in their backyards? Or this: How many reporters who actually cover federal buildings write regularly about the overall performance of judges in the building beyond an individual newsy case or particular decision in which those judges are involved?
Mercurial? Mercury is the wrong planet. This is Mars. This is war. President Trump is winning.

The reason he is not filling lower level administrative positions is the Senate is slow in approving higher-level appointees.

But President Trump wants new judges. Having been involved in 3,500 lawsuits in his lifetime, Donald Trump knows the power of the judge. This is among his top priorities.

As Cornell law professor William A. Jacobson pointed out, Harry Reid made it easy for President Trump to fill judicial vacancies.

Reid nuked the traditional safeguards about making a bad lifetime judicial appointment -- not that the safeguards actually worked.

Now President Trump is raking the benefits of Reid's rogue rule reform.

Indeed, President Trump is ignoring Democratic senatorial recommendations. In the past, senators gave a president three nominees for the lower court to choose from.

No more.

And Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin complained that Trump did not wait for a "bipartisan Wisconsin commission" to recommend anyone. Instead, President Trump nominated Michael Brennan to post that has been vacant since 2010. That story is here.

President Trump nominated Thomas Farr to fill a post in North Carolina that has been vacant since 2005. Bush 43 nominated him. The Senate did not act on in. Obama nominated Jennifer May-Parker and then Patricia Timmons-Goodson because they are black. Seriously. The story is here.

One more appointment.

Jeffrey Toobin of New Yorker wrote:
In the early evening, the Senate voted to close debate on Kevin Newsom, the nominee for the Eleventh Circuit. His actual confirmation, which is now a foregone conclusion, will take place in the next few days. Newsom resembles many Trump nominees to the federal bench. He has excellent formal qualifications, including a degree from Harvard Law School, a Supreme Court clerkship, and a stint as the solicitor general of Alabama, where he excelled at defending the state’s imposition of capital punishment against legal challenges. Most notably, Newsom is also young for a federal judge—just forty-five—and a political conservative, as evidenced by his membership in the Federalist Society. (Earlier this year, I wrote about the role of the Federalist Society, and one of its leaders, Leonard Leo, in stage-managing Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch.) In light of his age, Newsom will likely serve for decades after the Trump Presidency has concluded.
So while the public watches Trump churn through White House staff members, his Administration is humming along nicely in filling federal judgeships, with the enthusiastic assistance of the Republican majority in the Senate. The first and most important victory for the President came with the confirmation of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, in a seat that Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, kept vacant for nearly the full final year of Barack Obama’s Presidency. But McConnell didn’t just protect a Supreme Court seat for the next President; he basically shut down the entire confirmation process for all of Obama’s federal-judgeship nominees for more than a year. It’s the vacancies that accumulated during this time — more than a hundred of them — that Trump’s team is now working efficiently to fill.
The magazines of New York are anti-Trump but they usually do a better job covering him than do the cables and the dailies.

I do not want to hear about McConnell. Chin or no chin, he is herding cats in the Senate. ADHD cats. Let's see you introduce Murkowsky to reason.

McConnell got us both President Trump and Justice Gorsuch by holding that seat.

No Never Trumper has the credibility to complain about the Supreme Court's liberalism after this. They were willing to surrender that body to the whims of Hillary.

The Republic can survive a bad president, but not a bad Supreme Court. Dred Scott v. Sanford led to a civil war four years later.

But the importance of lower court judges came to full view when a Hawaiian judge appointed by Obama ignored the Constitution and imperiled the nation by banning President Trump from temporarily stopping visitors from six war-torn countries and Iran.

The press is missing this story because the press is obsessed with impeaching the president with that Fake News about Russian collusion. It was manufactured by Fusion GPS, a group that did opposition work for the Democratic Party in 2012, and (wait for it) the Russian government.

Readers may have noticed I am ignoring such "big stories" such as Mueller impaneling a grand jury. That is because I focus on Real News, which is reported on the back pages.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's election.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's nomination.

It is available on Kindle, and in paperback.

Autographed copies of both books are available by writing me at

Please follow me on Twitter.

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  1. I've been pointing this out since early July.

    Another thing to consider: Trump's cabinet level appointments have been rock solid. His policies have been sound. His foreign policy much more rational than that if his predecessor

    In fact, the only part of this administration that appears to be burning is White House staff.

    I suggest it's deliberate. He's been playing the fiddle for nigh on two years, and the media have been dancing to his tune. Bread and circuses

  2. Shhhhh.

    btw, McConnell can't be expected to herd cats, but he doesn't have to endorse Strange-ly appointed senators from Alabama, either.

  3. McConnell played a UniParty role prior the election, but now he appears to be helping Trump. Maybe it's just on stuff he prefers, but, still, it helps.

  4. I keep saying, Trump's a walking flash-bang grenade, attracting the attention of the enemedia while he does the good stuff where they're not looking.

    1. " he does the good stuff where they're not looking". And you might add when and while they're not looking. This is the standby technique of magicians.

  5. If all you do is watch "Days of Our West Wing" you tend to miss out on a lot of other stuff.

    -Mikey NTH

  6. Trump lets the media hang on the soap opera.

    He had about 100 vacancies to fill when he came in and 65 are filled.

    There was an article in January that noted, if he goes 2 full terms, half the Federal bench would be Trump appointees.

  7. As I have said for years the most important thing ANY POTUS does is appoint federal judges. I was not a Trump supporter prior to his nomination, but knowing what kind of judges Hillary would appoint made my vote in the general a no-brainer.