The news got lost in a lot of the end of the year taxapalooza, but the administration, which even the most Trump-skeptical conservative would have to acknowledge has done an excellent job on judges (a record 12 appellate judges were confirmed this year) scored another major victory in mid-December when Don Willett and Jim Ho were confirmed for the powerful 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Both have great life stories (Willett was born to an unwed teenage mother, survived childhood hardships and was the first in his family to even finish high school. Ho immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan as a child and learned English from watching Sesame Street)
Both have sterling reputations in legal circles (Willett is also famous for his prolific use of Twitter). Ho was handpicked by Ted Cruz to be his successor as Texas Solicitor General and is a strong originalist and longtime leader in the Federalist society. It is a measure of how good these judges should be expected to be that both drew fierce Democratic opposition despite sterling personal and professional reputations.
Ho, a former cleark for Justice Thomas, is also a potential future Supreme Court pick who is just 44 years old. If so elevated, he would become the first Asian-American Supreme Court justice. A full-spectrum conservative who has strong ties to religious liberty and 2nd amendment advocates. He’s also been a fierce opponent of affirmative action and other racial preferences and could become a leader on the bench for conservatives interested in those issues.
When Constitutional conservatives look back on 2017, the Ho and Willett confirmations should be near the top of the list of our major victories.