President Trump, determined to use his power while in office to strengthen the conservative tenor in the judiciary around the nation, is wasting no time finding a replacement for the seat likely to be vacated by the ascension of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Trump has nominated a replacement for the soon-to-be empty seat on the Seventh Circuit Court Appeals: Thomas Kirsch, 46, presently the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana. Kirsch graduated from Harvard Law School and served as counsel to the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy, Powerline notes. “The Senate approved Kirsch’s nomination for U.S. Attorney by a voice vote,” the site adds. “This time around, he will face fierce opposition from Democrats. However, Republicans have the votes to confirm Kirsch and enough time (approximately two months) in which to get it done.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that Kirsch has “built a reputation for aggressively pursuing public corruption and gang crimes. Earlier this year, Kirsch announced wire fraud charges against longtime Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura alleging he misused campaign funds for personal gain. In 2019, his office brought sweeping racketeering charges against 17 members of the Latin Dragons street gang alleging they were responsible for 11 murders and dozens of other shootings, stabbings and assaults.”
Trump has been joined in his mammoth effort to change the judiciary by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In February, after the Senate acquitted President Trump in his impeachment trail, McConnell immediately filed cloture on a number of judges as he continued his relentless march toward remaking America’s judiciary. The judges included Andrew Lynn Brasher to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit, Joshua M. Kindred to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Alaska, Matthew Thomas Schelp to be U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, John Fitzgerald Kness to be U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, and Philip M. Halpern to be U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York.
In March 2019, Politico reported that McConnell was intent on moving as quickly as he could to get conservative judges confirmed:
The Senate is on track to confirm the 34th Circuit Court judge of Trump’s presidency in the next week and the GOP has three more ready for floor action; that would give Trump roughly 20 percent of the Circuit Court seats in the country after just two years in office. At this rate, McConnell and Trump could leave few, if any, vacancies there for a potential Democratic president in 2021.
Even more alarming for Democrats, the GOP is also preparing to pull the trigger on the “nuclear option” and change Senate rules once again with a simple majority to allow much quicker confirmation of lower court judges in the coming months. …
Trump currently has 128 District Court vacancies to fill, and each one can take multiple days under current rules if any senator demands a delay; if Republicans change the rules, Trump could conceivably fill most of those over the next 20 months.