U.S. President Donald Trump, who already has won confirmation of a conservative jurist to the Supreme Court, is set to name more conservative judges to lower courts.
Aides say 10 of the people on Trump’s list include five nominees for U.S. appellate courts, the next level down from the nation’s highest court, where judges often play a significant role in interpreting U.S. laws. The nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.
The nine-member Supreme Court only hears appeals in about 70 cases annually, leaving stand 60,000 or more rulings each year made by appellate judges that affect the specific regions throughout the country where they preside.
Trump counts the confirmation of appellate court judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court as one of the biggest victories of his early presidency. Gorsuch took his seat on the Supreme Court last month after a contentious confirmation process in which Senate Republicans uniformly supported his nomination, while most Senate Democrats opposed him on grounds that his views were too conservative and out of the mainstream of American legal thinking.
Two of Trump’s new appointees to appellate courts are expected to be judges who were on his short list of possible Supreme Court nominees: Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras.