Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday urged federal judges who are in their mid-to-late 60s to step aside so that Republicans, increasingly nervous about holding the Senate majority in the November election as they eye President Trump’s poll numbers, can fill the vacancies now.
Graham made the comments in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
“This is an historic opportunity,” Graham said. “We’ve put over 200 federal judges on the bench. . . . If you can get four more years, I mean, it would change the judiciary for several generations. So if you’re a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that, if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center.”
Depending on the number of years they have served on the bench, judges who are age 65 and older are eligible to take a reduced workload known as “senior status.”
According to a recent analysis by judicial expert Russell Wheeler of the Brookings Institution, a total of 66 court of appeals judges are now or will soon be eligible for senior status. Thirty-eight of those judges are Democratic appointees, while 28 are Republican appointees. There are also more than 70 district court vacancies, Wheeler said, although a breakdown of appointees by party was not immediately available.
During his more than three years in office, Trump has remade the federal judiciary, ensuring a conservative tilt for decades. Trump nominees made up 1 in 4 U.S. Circuit Court judges as of the end of 2019, and two of the president’s picks sit on the Supreme Court. [Continue reading…]