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President Trump has transformed the federal courts, but John Roberts still leads them



#People & Blogs
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's biggest achievement in office has been a conservative transformation of the federal judiciary. But the Supreme Court showed in the space of two weeks that it hasn't gone far enough to satisfy the political right.On Trump's side of the ledger: Two hundred new federal judges. Fifty-three appeals court judges, just two short of President Barack Obama's tally over eight years. Three appeals courts "flipped" to having a majority of judges named by Republican presidents. Two impeccably conservative Supreme Court justices.On the other side: The chief justice of the United States, John Roberts.The nation's 17th chief justice has parted with the 45th president in three major cases over a span of 15 days, once with the help of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, one of Trump's nominees. On abortion rights, LGBTQ rights and the DACA program for undocumented immigrants, Roberts cast his lot with the court's liberals.Those rulings – and there are more to come, including on the president's personal battle with House Democrats and New York prosecutors over access to his financial records – represented a temporary setback for Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the conservative legal movement.But the president's judicial nominations and the Republican Senate's confirmations over 3½ years moved the federal courts further to the right than any president since Ronald Reagan and now represent a more permanent bulwark against the progressive agenda."The Trump transformation of the federal judiciary is a huge, grand-slam conservative success," says Mike Davis, a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee who clerked for Gorsuch and helped navigate the confirmation of Trump's second nominee, Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh.The president's nominees to federal circuit and district courts are generally in their 40s and 50s, giving them decades to fulfill their lifetime appointments. They are 85 percent white and 75 percent male.They include conservative legal stars such as Amy Coney Barrett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and Neomi Rao on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. It was Rao who last week ordered the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn dismissed.More:Federal appeals court orders dismissal of Michael Flynn case, likely ending prosecution of ex-Trump adviserAnd they include extremely young up-and-comers such as Justin Walker, the newest member of the D.C. Circuit that has been the stepping-stone to many Supreme Court justices, including four on the high court today. Walker, 38, could serve for a half-century.“Given the age of Trump’s nominees, there will be a lasting impact of those new judges on the courts for decades," says Elliot Mincberg, senior fellow at the liberal organization People for the American Way. “If Trump has four more years, it’s hard to imagine that he would not completely dominate the federal courts of appeals, and the Su

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