Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Rejuvenating the Conservative Judicial Corps

According to a trustworthy staffer for the Senate Judiciary Committee:

At the beginning of the Trump Administration the total average age for Democrat-appointed circuit judges was 61.2 while the total average for Republican-appointed judges was 70.9. Assuming the Senate confirms all the pending circuit judges, the total average age for Democrat-appointed circuit judges will be 63.3 and that for Republican-appointed judges will be 57. In other words, once the first three years of the Trump Administration are completed, the average age for Democrat-appointed circuit judges will have increased by 2.1 years while that for Republican-appointed circuit judges will have decreased by 13.9 years.

“Republican-appointed” is, of course, an imperfect proxy for conservative judicial philosophy, but it’s a safe bet that the federal appellate judges appointed by President Trump are on the whole at least as conservative as the Republican-appointed judges they’ve replaced, and they’re obviously much more conservative than the Democratic-appointed judges they’ve replaced. (By my quick count, of the 43 federal appellate judges whom President Trump has appointed so far, 18 filled seats previously held by Democratic-appointed judges.) So the overall effect of Trump’s federal appellate appointments has been both to expand and rejuvenate the conservative judicial corps on the federal appellate courts.

One particularly stark example of the rejuvenation is provided by Eleventh Circuit nominee Robert Luck, who (along with fellow Eleventh Circuit nominee Barbara Lagoa) had his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Luck, who is 40, will be filling the seat of Judge Gerald Tjoflat, who is 89.


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