Would Trump Consider a Court-Packing Scheme?

Would Trump Consider a Court-Packing Scheme?
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Journalists have developed an elaborate taxonomy to describe Donald Trump's subversions of truth, distinguishing “exaggerations” from “misleading claims,” and “false statements” from bald-faced, flat-out “lies.” There is not yet, however, a term for Presidential boasts that sound like lies but happen to be true. Such statements are rare, but Trump uttered a notable one on October 16th, during a joint press conference with Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, in the Rose Garden of the White House. “There has never been anything like what we've been able to do together with judges,” Trump said. This assessment had all the trappings of a typical Trump whopper: vagueness and smugness. And yet he is right. McConnell's strategy of shutting down the judicial-appointments process during Barack Obama's last two years in office gave Trump, at the time of his Inauguration, a hundred and three vacancies to fill—more than twice as many as Obama had in 2009. The number of openings has continued to grow, and Trump has been filling them at an unprecedented rate. His nominees, as a group, are the youngest, whitest, male-est, and most conservative in modern memory. Newt Gingrich observed in a recent op-ed that “the importance of this dramatic reshaping of the entire federal court system cannot be overstated”—another hyperbole that is, very possibly, accurate.

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