Judicial Nominations

About those "Trump Judges"

While political attention is focused on impeachment, the Senate continues to confirm judicial nominees

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

While most of the political oxygen in Washington is consumed by impeachment, the Senate continues to consider and confirm President Trump's judicial nominees. Last week, for instance, the Senate confirmed eight district court nominees—all but one with broad, bipartisan majorities—and this week the Senate is expected to confirm two nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (likely on a party line vote).

Continuing to confirm judges while a President is under investigation for a possible impeachment appears to be consistent with historical norms. As I explored in this post last year, the Senate has continued to consider and confirm nominees while President's were subject to impeachment investigations. Indeed, the Senate even confirmed a judge the same day President Nixon announced he would resign.

So what about the caliber and qualifications of Trump's judicial nominees? Contrary to common characterizations in the press and punditocracy, President Trump's nominees have, on the whole, been quite impressive and highly qualified. While there are some notable exceptions, the qualifications of Trump's judicial nominees compare favorably with those of his predecessors.

Through the first two years of his Presidency, a higher percentage of judges nominated by President Trump received "Well Qualified" ratings from the American Bar Association than any recent President save for George W. Bush, according to the Congressional Research Service (see Table 11 on page 26). As of last week, President Trump's 2019 nominees have continued this trend (based on the ABA ratings through December 4 presented here). President Obama nominated a large number of highly qualified jurists, but according to the ABA, a higher percentage of Trump's appointees were "Well Qualified."

President Trump has nominated an unusual number of former academics and appellate litigators to the bench, but this has not come at the expense of their qualifications. As Adam Feldman notes on EmpiricalSCOTUS, "Trump has a higher rate of "well-qualified" confirmed first time judges than any other president on the list aside from George W. Bush."

Overall, a majority of President Trump's judicial nominees have received "Well Qualified" ratings from the ABA—80 percent of Circuit Court nominees and 62 percent of District Court nominees according to CRS. If anything, this understates the relative qualifications of Trump's judicial picks, as there are reasons to doubt the ABA's assessment of conservative nominees. Indeed, multiple peer-reviewed studies have found that the ABA evaluates Republican nominees more critically than Democratic nominees with equivalent experience. (Other research suggests there is little relationship between ABA ratings and judicial performance, as measured by reversal rates.)

Writing in Vox, Ian Millhiser (no fan of President Trump) acknowledges the impressive caliber of Trump's nominees (even as he decries their judicial philosophy). According to Millhiser, Trump has "filled the bench with some of the smartest, and some of the most ideologically reliable, men and women to be found in the conservative movement." As he explains:

It's tempting to assume that Trump's judicial appointees share the goonish incompetence of the man who placed them on the bench, but this assumption could not be more wrong. His picks include leading academics, Supreme Court litigators, and already prominent judges who now enjoy even more power within the judiciary.

Indeed, "based solely on objective legal credentials, the average Trump appointee has a far more impressive résumé than any past president's nominees."

While most of Trump's nominees are indisputably qualified for the federal bench, there are some notable exceptions. Nine of those nominated by President Trump have been rated "Not Qualified" by the ABA and (if I have my numbers right), six of them have been confirmed (and a seventh, Lawrence Van Dyke, is likely to be confirmed this week).

By comparison, none of President Obama's judicial nominees received "Not Qualified" ratings from the ABA. Some of this may be explained by ideological bias. In Van Dyke's case, for instance, there's ample evidence the ABA "botched" its evaluation, and failed to follow its own procedures, perhaps due to distaste for the nominee's embrace of social conservative causes.

Another factor is that under President Obama, the White House submitted names to the ABA prior to announcing nominations, creating the opportunity to withhold a nomination when the ABA disapproved—an opportunity that was taken in multiple instances. Under Obama, most such shelved nominations involved potential nominees pushed by home-state Senators or political insiders. Much the same can be said of those Trump nominees who received poor ABA ratings and were not eventually confirmed.

Whatever one makes of the handful of NQ ratings from the ABA, the overall record remains the same. As of yesterday, the President had nominated and the Senate had confirmed over 170 judges to Article III courts, including 49 to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and 120 to U.S. District Courts. Whatever his other faults (and there are legion), the President has appointed a large number of highly qualified individuals to the federal bench.

 

 

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  1. I presume that the ABA’s definition of qualified doesn’t include the kind of judicial philosophy Trump promised to promote. In fact, such a promise helped get him elected.

    If “qualified” means “will do a good job in office,” then judicial philosophy seems to me part of one’s qualifications. How can a judge do a good job if his or her decisions are wrong? And judicial philosophy (or lack thereof) affects the outcome of cases.

    1. I am not a fan of the ABA’s judicial evaluations- I think they should get out of the business- but if we assume they have value, there’s a good reason for ideology not to be considered.

      There are activist groups on each side who can evaluate ideology perfectly well. Indeed, if you look at the last 40 years of judicial nominations, with only a few exceptions like Souter, the activist groups on both left and right have predicted with quite a lot of accuracy the ideology of judicial nominees of both parties.

      What the ABA is supposed to be doing is something different- attempting to create a benchmark of experience that you are supposed to have to become a federal judge. Things like experience as a lawyer, experience as a judicial clerk, experience as a scholar, experience working for the government, etc. I don’t, as I said, really buy the ABA’s usefulness even with respect to those issues. But those issues are different from the ideological issues that you can go to the ideological groups and find out about.

      1. But the value of the ABA evaluations to an ideological group that can capture it, is that it allows ideological evaluations to be disguised as competence evaluations.

        The ideological group doesn’t care that in doing so, it spoils the original purpose of the evaluation.

      2. I’m not sure the activists groups picking nominations holds true below SCOTUS which is where most of these judges are being confirmed. The role of a lower court judge is inherently moderating, in that the job description is do what you’re told and do your best to apply it to the case at hand. There are outliers, but most of the judges take their job and this role seriously, even if they are often wrong.

        1. Agreed, though at the District Court level the right/left paradigm isn’t useful, but a totalitarian/libertarian model is.

          A totalitarian Democrat or Republican will approve questionable warrants while a libertarian one will not, so what we should care about at that level is ones totalitarian tendencies.

  2. So I guess we can put you down as a yes for Trump in 2020?

    Our national debate boils down to:

    Orange Man Bad.

    But Goresuch.

    Obviously the But Goresuch argument is a winner.

    1. I think you are leaving out a large proportion of the population from your national debate. Including those who think :

      (a) Orange Man Good
      (b) Orange Man really annoys the people I loathe, and that’s good enough
      (c) Orange Man has his good points and his bad points, and the former outweigh the latter
      (d) Orange Man an uncouth jerk, but not too bad as a President
      (e) Orange Man ghastly, but a bit less ghastly than the alternatives

      What interests me is Trump’s relationship with the GOP Senate. Trump couldn’t care less about the future of the federal judiciary, though he might occasionally care about particular current cases involving him and his policies. What he cares about is immigration, walls, squishing the China trade and draining swamps.

      Meanwhile the Senate GOP cares about the federal judiciary, and opposes all of Trump’s actual policies.

      So you’d think Trump would trade what the GOP Senate wants – judges – for what Trump wants – walls, and Executive Branch appointments to pursue Trumpism and drain swamps.

      But in reality, Trump has given McConnell his judges and McConnell has given Trump precisely squat. Executive Branch appointments trickle in at a pitiful rate, leaving the federal bureaucracy in the hands of Trump’s enemies.

      McConnell 41 – Trump 3, at the end of the 3rd Quarter.

      1. Put me down for (e).

        1. Which is what will lead to his victory, as a strong (e) myself.

          All the Democrats had to do to win in 2020 was not be crazy and they’re botching even that. Though I am amused that Hillary is now polling above all others, and will be even more amused if the Democratic Establishment Swamp decides to nominate her, though slightly less amused if she ends up as VP.

          1. Hillary always looks better when nobody is looking at her; That’s why she avoided holding much in the way of big campaign events, and avoided the swing states. Campaigning tended to bring her numbers down, not up.

      2. Lee….Can we do a “check all that apply” for choices b through e? 🙂

      3. F. Good, bad, or other, Orange Man has done a very good job overall. People say they are better off in recent polls. Why wouldn’t we want that to continue? Especially when the other guys have nothing to offer regular Americans except scorn.

        You realize the likely answer on judges is that Trump cares about judges. He has been temporarily thwarted by judges enough times to see Dem-appointed judges as a force to be defeated.

        Or Trump cares about judges because he needs to appeal to religious and other voters who care about judges. And Trump can’t personally appeal to those voters based on his history. He needs those voters.

      4. I disagree with your assessment about Trump not caring about the judiciary.

        He is not an ideologue on it, but he knows it matters a LOT to the voters. (Some 1/6th to 1/5th of the voters in swing states said that the Supreme Court was their most important issue, and those people broke for Trump by 20 points. It was far more than his margin of victory in PA, MI, and WI.) For the most part, Trump has been dancing with the people who brought him, and if his voters want a federal judiciary full of Federalist Society members, they will get it.

    2. Nope.

      1. Didn’t think so but I had to ask.

        But I guess it’s not a fair question, you could answer honestly if it’s no, but if the answer was yes then you’d have to go back to being Juan Non.

    3. But Kavanaugh is a let down.

    4. Don’t project your lack of principles on everyone else.

      1. Vanity isn’t a principle. Social signaling isn’t a principle. Obsession isn’t a principle. Scorn isn’t a principle. Greed for money other people earned isn’t a principle.

        Choosing foreigners’ interests over American interests — I guess you guys could call that one a principle. Maybe he lacks that one.

        1. Do you ever bother to read the comment threads, or do you just post whatever is inspired by individual words in a given comment?

  3. If the professor believes the ABA needs to be involved in the process at all, then he needs his paradigm changed.

  4. Curious. Does the ABA have different qualifications for a district court judge than a Circuit or SCOTUS judge? The former seems to me requires trial experience, but the latter two do not necessarily.

  5. You should not cite Josh’s piece attacking the ABA’s “Not Qualified” rating for Van Dyke, which was itself intellectually dishonest, cherry-picked, and misleading, as though it supports the claim that the ABA unfairly evaluates conservative appointees.

    1. I cited multiple peer reviewed studies to that effect, and it is undisputed that the ABA failed to follow its own published guidelines in the Van Dyke case.

      1. Nonetheless, he has a substantial record of anti-gay activitism.

        1. But that is not, according to the ABA, something that would impact his rating. It may be an external and sufficiently persuasive reason to vote No, but outside the purpose of the ABA ratings, at least as they explain it.

          1. I thought they said there was doubt as to his ability to be fair to gay litigants.

            There is a basis for such doubts.

            1. Following your logic, a pro-gay advocate should be expected to be anti-straight? Or cis for you confused types.

    2. Beyond the rather anodyne statement from the ABA itself, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone even try to defend the legitimacy of the van Dyke assessment. Do you have any links?

  6. Re:

    Whatever his other faults (and there are legion), the President has appointed a large number of highly qualified individuals to the federal bench.

    Here’s another way to write this sentence without attempting to score moral preening points:


    The President has appointed a large number of highly qualified individuals to the federal bench.

    1. Maybe don’t be so open and proud about ignoring our guy’s faults.

    2. But that might get him kicked out of the cool kids club. Showing that particular flag is the US left’s version of China’s Social Credit Score.

      Alder doesn’t want to be blacklisted or have antifa enforcers show up at his house. He doesn’t want that to happen to his family either. He chooses his words carefully.

      1. And he doesn’t want to get his pussy hat confiscated and the C&B decoder ring ripped right off his finger.

  7. “It’s tempting to assume that Trump’s judicial appointees share the goonish incompetence of the man who placed them on the bench”

    Most people could only dream of being as goonishly incompetent as a billionaire married to a supermodel who gets elected President on his first attempt.

    I mean, geeze, I can understand not liking the guy, but the level of willing blindness necessary to describe him as “incompetent” is mind boggling.

    1. Brett, is it your opinion that Trump is functionally literate, and actually reads? If so, on what evidence? Close aides have reported that the only way to brief Trump is with pictures. They say that presenting Trump with written documents enrages him.

      1. Attributed quotes, or I don’t believe it. There’s a lot of trash talk about Trump, and the gullible believe every word of it.

        1. His tweets are illiterate.

          As are many of his supporters.

          Trump and his supporters also have birtherism in common.

          And getting crushed in the culture war.

          Trump inherited his money.

          Melania never was a supermodel; she was someone willing to marry a paunchy old trust-funder for immigration purposes.

          Other than that, great comment.

          1. She looks super to me in those pics.

          2. “His tweets are illiterate.

            As are many of his supporters.”

            Back in the day, exit polling was sufficiently granular to distinguish those who had “some college” from, e.g., those who had never graduated from high school. Despite all the noise about Republicans being the party of the illiterate and stupid, the Democrats cleaned up among the crowd of people who couldn’t manage to obtain a high school diploma.

            Let’s argue data, not bigotry, Rev.

            1. You’re wasting electrons Don Quixote.

      2. He graduated from college and grad school and ran a real estate company for decades. Its just stupid to think he can’t read.

        1. His bio says B of A so I don’t think he went to grad school.
          I’m sure he can read, but spelling often seems a challenge.

          1. Spelling on Twitter is your metric? Siri “autocorrects” far too many of my correctly spelled words just because she thinks everyone’s lexicon is small enough not to include that word, so I don’t hold that against anyone.

            1. Autocorrect doesn’t explain the random capitalization. The guy is barely literate.

              That is part of what endears him to his downscale base.

              1. It’s probably the German in him, they capitalize every noun.

              2. Thank goodness, a man/woman hiding behind a fake honorific and named after a Costco house brand has declared the only truth.

          2. I’m sure he can read, but spelling often seems a challenge.

            I’m sure he literally can read, but the evidence is overwhelming that he doesn’t read, which might even be worwse.

            1. I’m sure you realize , roughly 80% of the populace do not read for pleasure. Reminds me of Pauline Kael; “Nobody I know voted for him”, she sniffed arrogantly…

        2. He graduated from college and grad school and ran a real estate company for decades. Its just stupid to think he can’t read.

          He didn’t graduate from grad school. He just says that he has a Wharton degree to make people think he has an MBA. But it was Wharton undergrad.

      3. LOL. You must get your news from Vox and Buzzfeed. Maybe Mother Jones on days when you feel particularly literate.

      4. Lathrop….Have you ever actually stopped to think through what you are saying, and the implications here? One suspects not. Let me see if I have this right.

        A goonish, illiterate Team R candidate managed to win the presidency on his first try from an incredibly experienced Team D candidate with 1.4 BILLION dollars to spend. Wow! What does that say? Who is the dummy now? 🙂

        But yeah, keep going on the POTUS Trump is an illiterate schtick. You’re going to be really pissed on Wednesday November 4, 2020.

        1. I am intrigued by the Trumpkin notion — adopted for the first time only on November 9, 2016 — that the winner of an election is the smarter candidate.

          1. I’m intrigued by the Democratic notion that winning an election isn’t a reasonable demonstration that you are, at least, not an utterly incompetent moron.

            1. I would attribute his election win more to the James Comey letter, Russian bots, and nonstop negative anti-Hillary press coverage than to his own talents. Yeah, winning an election is worth something, but on those facts I don’t think it’s worth as much as you do.

        2. Don’t leave out the fact, the entire Republican Party was opposed to his candidacy as well.

      5. “Close aides have reported…”

        Anyone who gossips about his boss and continues to enjoy employment from him is a scumbag and can’t be trusted to tell the truth about anything.

    2. Willful blindness?

      Maybe those who crow about his business genius ought to consider whether what they see is a mirage.

      Pretty much anyone who starts out with $400 million can become a billionaire in 30-40 years without having to be particularly clever, especially if those 30-40 years feature a boom in real estate in the city you operate in.

      So he might or might not be competent. When I see some real evidence of his business skills – like financial records and tax returns – I’ll consider the issue. Meanwhile what I know is that his casinos went broke, as did the Plaza, a landmark hotel, just a few years after he bought it. These were not minor missteps.

      Oh, and I doubt that marrying a supermodel and being a billionaire are completely orthogonal.

      1. Look, Bernard. First, the only reason he started out with $400M was that he ran his father’s company for him for a decade before inheriting.

        Second, while it’s true that a reasonably competent person, blessed with oodles of restraint, could have taken that money, invested it in an index fund, and then lived like a monk for 30-40 years, and wound up with about Trump’s current net worth, you know damned well that’s not what Trump did. He lived high off the hog while actively managing multiple businesses, he didn’t leave the money to passively grow managed by some other competent person.

        Finally, it wasn’t just Trump’s casinos going bankrupt at the time, which I suspect you also know.

        Seriously, you don’t have to think he’s a “stable genius” or whatever. But incompetent? All you’re doing by endorsing that idea is signaling your derangement.

        1. Not to mention he made himself into a significant cultural figure. Better known than Bloomberg or Buffett.

          He was picked to star in the Apprentice because he was “The Donald”.

          There are 600 billionaires in the US. If it was so easy, you’d think there would be more.

          “actively managing multiple businesses”

          Yes, he engaged in high risk investments, won some, lost some.

          1. A lot of people are well-known. That doesn’t make them “significant cultural figures.”

            Yeah, he’s a celebrity. BFD.

          2. Not to mention he made himself into a significant cultural figure. Better known than Bloomberg or Buffett.

            I’m not sure about the latter, but he certainly did the former. Which makes him as skilled as a Kardashian, I guess.

            1. Well he’s got a lot less to work with than Kardashian.

        2. Well, he did help his father evade taxes.

          His casino bankruptcies were earlier than the big bust in Atlantic City, despite your myths. See here.

          But when it comes to running operating businesses, he has been something less than a resounding success. The Plaza Hotel in Manhattan went bankrupt under his tutelage, and his casino empire has been under bankruptcy protection twice, in the early 1990s and again this decade.
          …..
          Losses for shareholders are nothing new in the Trump empire. Trump Entertainment’s predecessor company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, went public, owning just two of Mr. Trump’s casinos, in June 1995. The shares did well for a time, but plunged after deals in which Mr. Trump sold his two other casinos to the company, at prices some deemed excessive.

          Over all, an index of casino stocks is up 268 percent since June 1995. Trump investors lost 93 percent.

          1. It’s not quite fair to compare casino stocks in general with Atlantic City casinos.

            1. Well, his choice was to open casinos in Atlantic City. Maybe a shrewder operator would have gone elsewhere. Or financed things more intelligently.

              Even before the Taj opened, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission was concerned about the casino’s viability given its rapidly escalating costs and considered revoking its operating license. Regulators closely monitored the financial performance of the Trump casinos and the developer’s empire.

              Mr. Trump told the commission in 1988 that he could rein in expenses, because conventional lenders were lining up to give him money at low interest rates. He said he abhorred junk bonds, which were then popular, because they carried a bigger risk of default and thus came with higher interest rates.

              Within months, he reversed course, issuing $675 million worth of junk bonds, with a 14 percent interest rate, to finish construction and get the Taj open. In recent interviews, Mr. Trump has said that with each financing he routinely took money out of the casinos to invest in Manhattan real estate. Total debt on the Taj exceeded $820 million.

              Less than two weeks before the casino opened, Marvin B. Roffman, a casino analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, an investment firm based in Philadelphia, told The Wall Street Journal that the Taj would need to reap $1.3 million a day just to make its interest payments, a sum no casino had ever achieved.

              “The market just isn’t there,” Mr. Roffman told The Journal.

              Mr. Trump retaliated, demanding that Janney Montgomery Scott fire Mr. Roffman. It did.

              “It was doomed way before the start,” said W. Bucky Howard, who was promoted by Mr. Trump to president of the Taj five days after it opened, in a recent interview. “I told him it was going to fail. The Taj was underfunded.”

              Almost immediately, Mr. Trump had trouble making the debt payments on the Taj and his other casinos. It was also clear that the Taj was cannibalizing the Castle and the Plaza, whose combined gambling revenues dropped by $58 million the year it opened.

              After more than tripling as new casinos opened through the 1980s, gambling revenues in Atlantic City flattened in 1990, rising by just 1.35 percent, as gamblers grew more cautious in light of a national recession. All were hurt, recalled Mr. Perskie, the casino regulator, but none were in the catastrophic financial shape of Mr. Trump’s.

              The entire article is well worth reading, especially for Trump admirers.

        3. while it’s true that a reasonably competent person, blessed with oodles of restraint, could have taken that money, invested it in an index fund, and then lived like a monk for 30-40 years, and wound up with about Trump’s current net worth, you know damned well that’s not what Trump did.

          Given that the S&P returned about 7.5% annually since 1971, and also generated about 3% annually in dividends, one would hardly have to live a monklike existence.

          Note also that Trump received substantial loans from his father and siblings at times when he would have gone broke without them. Nice.

          Look, I’ll say it again. I’ll buy the Trump business genius story when I see the numbers.That he chooses to conceal them doesn’t improve the credibility of his claims. If you haven’t figured out yet that he’s a con-man and nonstop liar it’s because you don’t want to.

          1. When the Clinton Foundation and the Clintons are investigated with the zeal of Russian Collusion, along with Barry O’s funneling campaign cash from overseas through intentional steps, get back to us. I figure a dozen hard-core Conservative Lawyers investigating for 3 years and costing $40 Million for each investigation, should do it. You can’t claim bias either unless, you want to be charged with ‘Obstruction of ‘Justice’ ‘.

        4. Dems make up stories and decide to believe them.

          It’s clear to any objective observer that Trump is no worse than average intelligence and competence. (Same for every other President, btw.)

          But that’s not emotionally satisfying enough for them, so they make up a story. It has various parts to fill the obvious holes, like any story. They decide to believe it instead of emotionally unsatisfying facts.

          Over and over, every issue, same sorts of stories.

          1. Ben_ Dems make up stories and decide to believe them.

            Also Ben_ Alder doesn’t want to be blacklisted or have antifa enforcers show up at his house. He doesn’t want that to happen to his family either. He chooses his words carefully.

            Not emotionally satisfied, Ben?

            1. Actually, the Code is simple to break. If Democrats accuse you of something, they have/are, done/doing it themselves. Now projecting on the wide-screen, Dem morals and values.

      2. “a boom in real estate in the city you operate in”

        NYC did not have a “boom” for the entire 40 years. Plenty of bust periods too. That is what real estate development is, a series of boom and bust cycles.

      3. He didn’t inherit $400 million. The stories started at $100M, then over time grew to $200M and now we have $400M. By the middle of Trump’s second term it will undoubtedly be 1B or more.

        1. He also didn’t inherit one million either as he has claimed. But that’s neither here nor there.

      4. Pointing out the obvious here: Obama has no record of business failures because he never ran any sort of business.

        It’s not irrational for voters to want someone who has been out there in the business world, succeeding sometimes and failing sometimes, rather than someone who marinated in a political machine and has no real clue of how anything works.

        1. It’s not irrational for voters to want someone who has been out there in the business world, succeeding sometimes and failing sometimes,

          It’s not irrational to consider business experience as an asset, but political experience can be an asset also. After all, the Presidency is a political job. If you don’t understand the nuts and bolts it’s going to hinder your performance.

          And for that very reason the value of business experience can be overstated. Being President and being CEO are different jobs.

          And of course, when you do take a business career into account, it would be useful to have some verifiable details about that career, rather than accepting the word of a boastful, dishonest con-man.

          1. “After all, the Presidency is a political job. If you don’t understand the nuts and bolts it’s going to hinder your performance.”

            You know, that is a fair point, and it is quite obvious that Trump’s lack of political experience has come back to bite him more than once.

        2. Let me add that one thing we do know from Trump’s business career is that he is a seriously dishonest individual. Unpaid vendors, Trump University, misrepresentations to banks, etc.

          Not to mention his repeated thefts from the Trump Foundation. (And please don’t try “What about Clinton?!!” Nothing she did or didn’t do excuses Trump.)

    3. Most people could only dream of being as goonishly incompetent as a billionaire married to a supermodel who gets elected President on his first attempt.

      Boy, I wish I were competent enough to have inherited hundreds of millions of dollars. Guess I just didn’t pick my parents thoughtfully enough.

      Of course, the evidence that Trump is a billionaire is nothing more than “Trump says so.” Also, Melania was not a supermodel.

    4. Brett, one of the problems with our political system, and it is not limited to just one party, is that the skill set necessary to sell yourself to the voters and the skill set necessary to actually do a good job while in office are two very different skill sets.

      Yes, it is conceded he’s a great salesman and self promoter. In the meantime, he’s also making a complete hash of constitutional governance, demolishing our influence in the rest of the world, leaving a crushing debt in his wake, empowering white supremacists and setting awful precedents (such as the precedent that a president can simply refuse to cooperate with congressional investigations). I give him some points for the economy though I think it’s on a sugar high that won’t last forever. As far as personal corruption goes, Nixon was run out of office on far less provocation.

      If you want to take the position that all of that is worth it so Hillary couldn’t give poor children health care, be my guest. But do so with your eyes open.

      1. “Brett, one of the problems with our political system, and it is not limited to just one party, is that the skill set necessary to sell yourself to the voters and the skill set necessary to actually do a good job while in office are two very different skill sets.”

        I’ve made this point myself from time to time.

        Look, if his foes wanted to say, “His manner is boorish, his taste stinks, his constant braggadocio grates on my nerves, he has the morals of a NYC real estate developer, and given that I don’t like his policies, I’m not holding my nose for all that.” I’d find myself at a loss to disagree with them.

        But, no, they have to claim he’s a bad businessman despite being a billionaire. They have to claim he’s illiterate despite having a college degree. They have to claim he’s incompetent despite his winning a Presidential election while being out-spent 2-1. He has to be Literally Hitler despite the fact that his foes have no fear of him doing anything if they publicly attack him.

        He has to be a shambling collection of faults with no virtues, not just a flawed man whose policies they don’t like. THAT is what I find deranged.

        1. Brett, OK, he’s not technically illiterate but a lot of his tweets could have been written by a sixth grader. I don’t know that he’s a billionaire because he won’t release his financials and, since much of what comes out of his mouth is a lie, I’m not inclined to take his word for it. Yah, he did win an election, thanks to the Jim Comey letter, the Russian bots and a hostile-to-Hillary press that gave her nonstop negative coverage.

    5. To paraphrase Lincoln, “Find out what brand of goonish incompetence he drinks and send a few barrels to the other politicians.” Booming economy, great judicial appointments, revealing the corruption in the FBI, incipient [as of this writing] trade deal with China and a revamped USMCA for the benefit of American workers, strengthening the military… Indeed, if I knew where to get it, I would down a few bottles of that brand of goonish incompetence myself.

      1. This…is a tellingly weak list.

        1. It’s telling that you think it a weak list.

        2. True that, he is not obsessed with allowing men in women’s rest rooms, or other leftist gibberish. He speaks to those who have been, oh so casually, dismissed with a wave of the regal hand of the elitists. We are fly-over country. How dismissive a statement is that?

  8. That the ABA approves of a judge is a strike against them.

  9. The article confuses circuit & district court nominations. The big fights have been over circuit court nominees. District nominees are largely uncontested & subject to blue slip horse trading.

    And so, if you’re going to track meaningful ABA ratings, just look at those for circuit court nominees. In the first 3 years of Obama’s presidency, there were 3 nominees (out of 25 confirmed) with Q-NQ ratings: Thompson, Lohier and Carney. In the first 3 years of Trump’s presidency, there were 4 similarly rated nominees (out of 50 confirmed): Grasz (NQ), Kobes (NQ-Q), Matey (Q-NQ), VanDyke (NQ-Q).

    And so, it’s just not true that Trump has managed to confirm an unusually high number of NQ jurists. At least not for the circuit courts.

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