President Donald Trump has infuriated California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris by re-nominating a pair of conservative judges to occupy vacancies on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals over their objections, according to Fox News.
It’s part of the president’s efforts to reshape and balance the courts with conservative jurists. The 9th Circuit has a history as the most liberal, and often overturned, circuit court in the nation. Feinstein and Harris had objected to the nominations of Judges Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee last fall. They had hoped to “work together” with the White House on filling the two open spots.
But both Golden State senators became what the Wall Street Journal “two of the worst mudslingers on the Judiciary Committee that smeared Brett Kavanaugh,” Fox News reported.
Trump’s ability as president to change the complexion of the federal courts was a major factor in his 2016 election. Gun owners especially wanted to keep Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the Oval Office, where she would have nominated judges and Supreme Court justices who might disagree with the 2008 Heller ruling that affirmed the Second Amendment protects an individual fundamental right to keep and bear arms.
Trump has placed both Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the high court, and earlier this week the court signaled that it was prepared to start taking Second Amendment cases again when it accepted a challenge to New York City’s restrictive handgun law.
In all, the White House submitted 51 nominations to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Balancing the federal courts may be Trump’s greatest legacy, because the appointments are for life and federal judges do not have to run for re-election. That removes, at least theoretically, any potential of political pressure on judges to reach certain decisions.
While Feinstein and Harris are reportedly furious, Judiciary Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seemed happy with the Trump selections. He promised the committee would begin working on the nominations quickly.
Gun prohibitionists are alarmed that the Supreme Court accepted the New York case, according to USA Today. They would rather have the city change its gun ordinance to moot the case, but that might only be a stop-gap effort because there are a couple of other gun rights cases waiting in the wings for the high court to accept.
Associate Justice Clarence Thomas has complained in at least one dissent that the high court, by not accepting other gun rights cases since it handed down the McDonald ruling in 2010, has been treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right.
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