President Trump, who already has had a mammoth impact on America’s judicial system by appointing over 100 judges and flipping the Pennsylvania-based Third Circuit Court of Appeals to majority Republican appointees, is posed to flip another Circuit Court of Appeals: The Second Circuit. There are 13 Circuit Courts of Appeals in the U.S.
As Bloomberg Law reports, on Wednesday the Senate confirmed Joseph Bianco to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Another judge, Michael Park, is expected to be confirmed later this week. Bloomberg noted, “When Trump makes additional appointments for vacancies that will be left by two judges who recently announced their retirements, Dennis Jacobs and Christopher Droney, the 13-member court will be majority Republican-appointed.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer supported Bianco’s confirmation to the district court in 2005, asserting, “I am proud to support someone as outstandingly qualified and well respected as Mr. Bianco,” but he opposes Bianco’s promotion now that he could change the balance on the Second Circuit. In March, Schumer issued a statement that said of Bianco and Park:
Another day, another partisan push by Senate Republicans for hard-right nominees to get lifetime appointments on the federal bench. One day after Senate Republicans elevated to the Sixth Circuit an attorney who proclaimed pre-existing condition protections are unconstitutional, Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans voted to advance the nominations of Michael Park and Joseph Bianco for the Second Circuit, despite objections from Senator Gillibrand and me.
Mr. Park has spent much of his career working in opposition to civil rights and seeking to advance the far-right agenda. He has been on the front lines of efforts to dismantle affirmative action policies in education, strike down our health care law, and is currently defending the Trump administration's effort to insert a citizenship question into the 2020 census. I will be strongly opposing these nominations when they come to the Senate floor.
On Wednesday, Schumer ripped Park, saying, “Frankly, his principal qualification seems to be that he’s a card-carrying member of the Federalist Society … He’s an ideologue. He doesn’t have the kind of balance and integrity and compassion and understanding of both sides that any judge needs. It will be obvious to anyone who reviews his record that he lacks the breadth and objectivity that we prize in our judges.”
According to Countable, Bianco 52, has judged murder trials of MS-gang members on Long Island, among numerous others; he got his law degree from Columbia Law School, later serving from 1994 to 2003 as an assistant federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. In that position, he led the team prosecuting crimes related to the September 11 terror attacks. Park, 43, attended Princeton and Yale Law School, led the fight against Harvard University’s affirmative action admissions policies that allegedly discriminated against Asian Americans, and defended Kansas’ state government’s move to defund Planned Parenthood.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.