Image 01 Image 03

Liberal nightmare: Takeover of federal judiciary by “larval Scalias is devastatingly close to completion”

Liberal nightmare: Takeover of federal judiciary by “larval Scalias is devastatingly close to completion”

Republican-appointee does not equal conservative, and conservative at the start does not mean conservative forever. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and “larval Scalias” is not a bad place to start.

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s long march towards remaking the federal judiciary is moving along.

Just this week, the Third Circuit “flipped” to majority Republican-appointees, the Second Circuit is on the brink of flipping, and several other evenly split Circuits are likely to go Republican.

Ed Whelan summarizes:

As anticipated last fall when Judge Thomas Vanaskie announced his decision to take senior status, the Senate’s confirmation earlier this week of Peter Phipps to Vanaskie’s vacancy means that the Third Circuit will have a majority of its judges in active service—eight of fourteen—who were appointed by Republican presidents.

At the outset of the Trump administration, the Third Circuit had seven Democratic appointees, five Republican appointees, and two vacancies. Upon Phipps’s taking his seat, it will become the first federal court of appeals that President Trump will have flipped from a majority of Democratic appointees to a majority of Republican appointees.

The Second Circuit will flip to a majority of Republican appointees if and when the White House fills the two existing vacancies. The Eleventh Circuit has moved from a large Democratic-appointee majority (8-3, with one vacancy) to a 6-6 tie. (The Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits had majorities of Republican appointees at the outset of the Trump administration and have expanded the margins.)

By the numbers overall (including Phipps), Trump has nominated and had confirmed:

Supreme Court: 2

Courts of Appeals: 43

District/Specialty Courts: 85

Trump is running out of Court of Appeals vacancies to fill, in part a result of his focus on filling those critical slots:

Current and known future vacancies: 141

Courts of Appeals: 6

District/Specialty Courts*: 135

Pending nominees for current and known future vacancies: 58

Courts of Appeals: 2

District/Specialty Courts*: 56

As pointed out here repeatedly since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats have been so focused on impeaching, attacking and maligning Trump, that they have not really appreciated what is happening:

Trump has the opportunity to reshape the federal judiciary at every level.

This is a theme I’ve writing about since before Trump was inaugurated, Dems’ Nuclear Option will allow Trump to fill over 100 court vacancies quickly (December 26, 2016), and Liberal nightmare: Trump could appoint half federal judiciary (January 18, 2017).

I’ve also focused on how the furious news cycles have distracted just about everyone from Trump’s judicial progress, While you were focused on COMEY, Trump nominated another group of CONSERVATIVE Judges and Republicans continue reshaping federal judiciary, though you probably are focused on Democrat anti-Semitism.

Do you know where things stand now? Of course not, you’ve been focused on Democrat histrionics about Mueller and Barr and just about everything else.

Charles Pierce at Esquire understands what is happening, and he is fuming. Pierce writes about how The Conservative Effort to Salt the Judiciary With Larval Scalias Is Close to Complete:

While everyone was looking elsewhere, and wondering about their immigration status in the lands of their ancestors, the administration* and Mitch McConnell had their white-guys judicial assembly line humming….

The conservative effort to salt the federal judiciary with larval Scalias is devastatingly close to completion. Make no mistake, This would have happened if any of the Republican candidates had been elected in 2016. It may be the only thing keeping a lot of Republicans on the Trump Train. You are going to be hearing from both these guys long after the president* is spinning on a spit in hell. Depend on that.

“Larval Scalias”? Let’s hope so, but as we’ve seen so many times, Republican-appointee does not equal conservative, and conservative at the start does not mean conservative forever.

But you’ve got to start somewhere, and “larval Scalias” is not a bad place to start.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


PrincetonAl | July 22, 2019 at 9:18 pm

Restoring rule of law is a signature legacy item for Trump and Mitch, the fruit of which we will be reaping hopefully long after they have passed.

Let’s hope not only that it persists for a long time, but also that conservatives don’t soon forgot how fragile and narrow this victory was and fight to keep it.

Sounds like pillow talk.

I hope we get another 4 years of judicial appointees.

Republican-appointee does not equal conservative

Indeed. Confining our attentions to SCOTUS, it doesn’t even equal “passably rational”—consider Warren Burger, Earl Warren, John Stevens, David Souter, John Roberts . . . Republican appointees all. Even Scalia himself, Mr Originalist, let us down badly with his fanciful bowdlerization of the Second A. and the English language in Heller.

Let’s take a moment to thank Harry Reid and his short sighted Democrats for removing the filibuster from judicial nominations. Obviously, they thought they wouldn’t loose the presidency before reaching their goal of progressive judicial dominance. Had they been able to achieve that goal it would no longer matter who the president would be.

Given the current fad of considering every district court ruling as being enforceable nationwide, we won’t have much to cheer about until the entire system is 100% conservative.

    artichoke in reply to txvet2. | July 23, 2019 at 12:12 am

    We’ll be much better off where there’s no circuit where those district judge moles will be safe from the appeals court knocking their overreaching injunctions down.

    We’re getting close to where that would likely happen everywhere but the 9th circuit I suppose, and we’re making progress in the 9th too.

Question: can a judge be ‘approved by the Senate’ for a position that has not yet become available? i.e. if the Thirteenth District has 2 vacancies, and Trump nominates 3 with the understanding that there probably will be another soon so we might as well get a spare approved for this and besides one of the other nominees might get rejected etc…

(And of course they would become un-approved at the end of his term, as a matter of sense)

Flying under the radar, and taking advantage of the Democrats’ nuclear option. Dems still distracted by shiny objects.

    venril in reply to Sally MJ. | July 24, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    I’ve suspected for a while, that Trump purposefully trolls the dems to play look at the pretty kitty to distract them, as he gets real work done. And the Newsies refuse to cover it. And they keep falling for it. These guys wouldn’t last 2 seconds in the business work Trump operated in.

Larval is a curiosity. Fetal Scalias… Oh, my, Stork!

    venril in reply to n.n. | July 24, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    Be careful, Dems have a serious lack of respect for anything fetal, usually offering all sorts of excuses for why it’s ok to kill them. Which may well be Maxine’s next rant. The next logical step of amplification. Maybe they’ll put Billy Ayers on the payroll.

Now, all we have to do is to get the socialists out of the Republican party. Term limits. Cull the herd, new life, new generations–it works well on both sides of the aisle.

The Dems weren’t sleeping. They tried all histrionics and all procedural tricks to stop it. They screamed bloody murder.

McConnell just slammed the lid shut on them. Mitch is an essential part of Trump’s success, a special parliamentary talent.

    BerettaTomcat in reply to artichoke. | July 23, 2019 at 5:06 am

    McConnell plays an important part in Trumps judicial appointments success, but is a big obstacle to Trump’s legislative agenda. Good judges can’t do much with bad laws still on the books.

BerettaTomcat | July 23, 2019 at 3:30 am

I’d rather see the federal courts populated with larval Thomases.

GlobalTrvlr | July 23, 2019 at 5:44 am

“Just this week, the Third Circuit “flipped” to majority Republican-appointees, the Second Circuit is on the brink of flipping, and several other evenly split Circuits are likely to go Republican.”

Why I nevah! John Roberts assured me that there are no R or D judges. Once you don the black robes you become titans of objectivity and dispassion.

    Eskyman in reply to GlobalTrvlr. | July 23, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Why- that’s exactly what happens when someone becomes a “journalist,” too!

    It’s even easier, though: all they have to do is graduate from Journalism School, and that immediately makes them “titans of objectivity and dispassion” even before they start working for the WaPo, CNN, or the NYT!

      venril in reply to Eskyman. | July 24, 2019 at 4:34 pm

      Why, of course they’re objective – everyone they know thinks the same way they do. Clearly moderate and balanced.

caseoftheblues | July 23, 2019 at 6:46 am

As a non lawyer looking in it really bothers me that apparently a majority of lawyers don’t give a damn about the law or Constitution as is evidenced by when they become judges….it’s all about welding that power and performing their social activism and destroying the United States….

    Valerie in reply to caseoftheblues. | July 23, 2019 at 11:28 am

    “apparently a majority of lawyers don’t give a damn about the law or Constitution …”

    This is not at all true, but good legal training leads lawyers to have a very different point of view about some things.

    For example, real lawyers believe that we need defense counsel for criminals, including Harvey Weinstein, and a lot of untrained people wonder how anybody could possibly defend that jerk. It’s not a matter of favoring jerks so much as making very sure that every person has some bulwark against the inevitable excesses of the State.

    Another thing lawyers with good training learn is that “reasonable minds might differ.” This means that, given the same file and same testimony, two different judges will reach different results. It happens.

    Finally, there has been a decades-long advertising campaign, principally by insurance firms, to bring discredit to juries and the judiciary, by lying about decisions. If you read a story about a court case that makes no sense, it’s probably because the story was written by the losing counsel, who left out all the facts that explain the outcome. People naturally want to believe that these “news” stories include all of the pertinent facts, and they try to make sense out of the story by making things up.

    A famous example of this was the McDonald’s Coffee case, that caused outrage over a huge penalty award against McDonald’s, until the Wall Street Journal sent a couple of reporters to dig through the file, and find out why the jury awarded punitive damages. Then people understood.

      tom_swift in reply to Valerie. | July 23, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      real lawyers believe that we need defense counsel for criminals

      That’s not a problem. The accused have rights. For that matter, so do the convicted. Fairly obvious even to the terminally vague.

      What are a problem are the sort of “real lawyers” who think that “emanations of penumbras” are any basis for law. That’s philosophy, not a justification for “anything goes” decisions.

    Close The Fed in reply to caseoftheblues. | July 23, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Really, a lot of the problems with the plaintiff’s bar is that with our judges able to make case law (precedents that can be used by others to win/defend cases), they are CONSTANTLY pushing the envelope to create new theories of recovery on more and more tenuous facts.

    For example, if you’re a dog walker, and the dog escapes from you and gets run over and dies, should the owner of the dog get damages for his return trip from vacation to look for the dog, bury the dog, whatever, when his trip was to Africa for a safari? Does he get the air fare and the safari fees both? Or neither?

    I’ve heard lawyers argue they should at least get air fare. But the poor damn dog walker isn’t making that much. What if the dog walker has kids. Should paying because a DOG died trump someone trying to make a living to support their children?! No. But lawyers will argue it. Their priorities are really out of line.

    Then they suggest liability insurance for dog walkers. Okay, so an average person can no longer afford a dog walker, and dog walkers trying to support their families now have less income because they have fewer customers. Why? Because insurance increases the cost of dog walking. But do the lawyers care. Not the P.I. lawyers, that’s for damn sure.

    The legislature should stop this foolishness, for sure. Sometimes I think we should completely revamp the entire concept of common law and severely restrict it, because of lawyers looking to make a buck by making our legal system toxic.

      tom_swift in reply to Close The Fed. | July 23, 2019 at 5:10 pm

      They should steer clear of dogs, and content themselves with suing Christian bakers into extinction. And women’s salons. Actually, there are loads of potential victims, all much bigger fish than dog walkers. It’s a constant wonder to me that any part of American civilization has survived the onslaught of lawyers. So far, at least.

        venril in reply to tom_swift. | July 24, 2019 at 4:41 pm

        And not a recent ill, either.

        It was in William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”

What does “larval Scalias” mean?

    CaliforniaJimbo in reply to kittymyers. | July 23, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Kitty,
    Larval Scalias refers to judges who will act in the mold of justice Antonin Scalia. SCOTUS justices come from the ranks of the lesser courts and with VSGPDJT appointing many new judges, the chance exists to put genuine conservatives on the bench.

    Hope this helps.

What is missed by so many is how reshaping the judiciary is an essential first step in draining the swamp. Only by ensuring the courts won’t ignore the law to push their leftist agenda can people like Hilary Clinton, James Comey, etc., be brought to justice.

Still not totally sure about Kavanaugh. He seems to have been a squish lately. And Roberts is simply awful.

Yeah great, but “show me the money”. Many of these appointments are “Bushies”. They are like blood-sucking mites that feed off of the lifeblood of their host, the Republican Party, and Conservatives. I fear Kavanaugh is one of them and he will “grow in office” to our detriment. Case in point John Paul Stevens who single-handedly gave us the “deep state” with the Chevron decision and went to his grave vilifying the Second Amendment.Thank you, Gerald Ford.

    tom_swift in reply to Bill2. | July 23, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Stevens is a one-man argument for term limits for judges. Perhaps mandatory retirement is more accurate. He seemed to get monotonically wackier with age, though he didn’t actually go off the deep end until shortly after retirement. We all dodged a bullet there; if he hadn’t retired, SCOTUS would have been even weirder for the last few years.

Mark Finkelstein | July 23, 2019 at 8:58 am

Charles Pierce intended “larval” as an insult. But remember: larvae can turn into beautiful butterflies!

    Massinsanity in reply to Mark Finkelstein. | July 23, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Charles Pierce used to be know as Charlie Pierce when he was a mediocre sports reporter for the Boston Herald. He was then and remains an insufferable jerk as so many Boston area media people seem to be.

Albigensian | July 23, 2019 at 9:29 am

“larval Scalias”? Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people!

(Pres. Trump does seem to be able to whistle and tie his shoes at the same time. When one of his agendas is blocked, instead of pounding on it he just transfers his attention to one that’s not.)

“You are going to be hearing from both these guys long after the president* is spinning on a spit in hell. Depend on that.”

Memo for Charles Pierce: Gee, Chuck, you’re talking as if this was a BAD thing. Why you mad bro? (*Smirks and chuckles*)

BTW, as for “Larval Scalias”, I recall them opening up some Motorhead shows back in the early 90’s. 😉

“As pointed out here repeatedly since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats have been so focused on impeaching, attacking and maligning Trump, that they have not really appreciated what is happening: ”

I don’t believe this.

I think somebody’s co-operating, possibly with McConnell instead of Trump, and possibly within the parameters set by Trump.

I have observed that, when the cameras are off, our legislature is fully capable of acting like adults. There has not been much focus on the judiciary before and after the Great Kavanaugh Circus, and the way the other hysterical trends have worked, there might well have been a followup.

I suspect McConnell has a long list of people that could be appointed, together with the votes to get them through, and he is choosing people who are competent, as distinct from capital “C” Conservatives.

I would dearly love for this to be true, because I am not interested in having ideologues on the bench, of either stripe. The succession of faulty opinions from district court judges issuing nationwide injunctions while lacking the basics expected of such earth-shaking papers, suggests to me that some Democrats may be as appalled by these blatantly political opinions as I am.

Larval Scalias are just so much better than a bunch of larval Borks.

The Friendly Grizzly | July 23, 2019 at 4:37 pm

“Larval Scalia are so much better than larval Borks.”


I never understood the appeal of Bork. Then again, I read some of his opinions rather than joining the crowd.

Trump has prioritized
– lifetime appointments over administrative positions
– Supreme Court Justices over Circuit Court judges
– Circuit Court judges over District Court judges

How else could our President respond to the Ginsburg Larvae of Kagan and Sotomayor (except they will never mature into an adult Ginsburg in legal acumen, honesty, or independence).

141 vacancies and 58 nominees. Trump and McConnell better get busy. I would like all of them filled with future Scalias, ASAP.