Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Biden's 200th Judicial Nominee is Confirmed by the Senate

Yesterday, Joe Biden got his 200th pick to the federal courts, Angela Martinez, confirmed as a U.S. district judge in Arizona. During his term as president, Donald Trump had 234 nominees confirmed. Biden still has over a half a year to go and the Democrats control the Senate, so Biden might well catch up to Trump.

Biden's nominees have been far more diverse and far less conservative than Trump's. Biden's nominees have been 36% white, 27% Black, 16% Latino, 14% Asian and 5% multiracial. Trump's nominees were 84% white, 4% each Black, Latino, and Asian, and 3% multiracial. Additionally, 63% of Biden's nominees have been female vs. 24% of Trump's. The majority of appointees from both presidents were under 50. That used to be different. Only 25% of Dwight D. Eisenhower's and 33% of John F. Kennedy's nominees were under 50. The courts weren't as political and partisan back then, so it wasn't important to pick judges who could serve 30 or 40 years.

While all judges are equal, some judges are more equal. In particular, Biden has gotten only 42 appellate judges approved whereas Trump had 51 at this point. And Biden has only one Supreme Court nominee to his credit vs. three for Trump.

The winner of the election could get to pick more Supreme Court justices. As of Jan. 20, 2025, Clarence Thomas will be 76 and Samuel Alito will be 74. Sonia Sotomayor will turn 70 next month. John Roberts will hit 70 on Jan. 27, 2025.

It is a given that no Republican appointee will toss in the towel when there is a Democratic president, except maybe in the last year of his term if the Republicans control the Senate and the justice is deathly ill. If Trump is elected and Republicans control the Senate, Thomas and Alito are likely to call it quits before Jan. 3, 2027; otherwise, no. But not all vacancies are voluntary. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said: "Father Time marches on. There could be some vacancies for whoever wins. And we could all get hit by a car tomorrow." You never know.

In addition to picking new justices, the two parties differ on some issues that relate to the Court. For example, Democrats want a binding code of ethics and recusal standards. They also want Congress to take a more active role in dealing with the Court. The second paragraph of Art. III, Sec. 2 of the Constitution, reads:

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

In other words, Congress has the explicit power to make whatever Exceptions it wants to relating to the Court's jurisdiction. A federal law stating that the Court has no authority to rule on cases relating to reproductive rights or even all health matters would be perfectly constitutional. (V)

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