How Is Trump Reshaping the American Judiciary?

Jake Neher/WDET

Robert Sedler

You may have seen a viral video (see below) recently that shows one of President Trump’s federal judicial nominees struggling to answer questions about how America’s judicial system works.

Matthew S. Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission, faced a litany of questions from Sen. John N. Kennedy (R-LA). Petersen was one of five of Trump’s judicial nominees being questioned, but Kennedy singled him out for his tough line of questioning.

Petersen has since withdrawn his nomination.

Also last week, two other judicial nominees withdrew from the process.

Despite these recent embarrassments, one could argue that one of Trump’s brightest spots so far as President has been the speed and efficiency at which he’s appointed people to the bench. He already has a successful Supreme Court appointment and he has already appointed eight appellate judges. That’s the most one year into a presidency since President Richard Nixon.

The president has nominated a total of 59 federal judges with 14 successfully confirmed so far.

Trump is reshaping America’s courts. But how are they being reshaped? What will this mean for Trump’s legacy and the future of the country’s judicial system?

Robert Sedler, distinguished professor at Wayne State University Law School, joins Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about those questions.

There are a lot of vacancies,” says Sedler. “Should the Democrats flip the Senate in 2018, then the pace of confirmation would slow very much.”

It is a political thing. But… our 18th Century Constitution wasn’t supposed to work with political parties,” he says. ”So what you have is the constant interaction between our 18th Century Constitution and the two-party political system.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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