Senate confirmation of Barrett replacement adds to Trump's record on judges

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President Trump continued to add to his tally of successful judicial appointments Tuesday with the confirmation of Thomas Kirsch II as a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kirsch, who had served as the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, is filling the position that was left vacant when Justice Amy Coney Barrett left the Seventh Circuit to join the Supreme Court.

"Congratulations to this Great Hoosier, Judge Thomas Kirsch!" tweeted Vice President Mike Pence, who is a former Indiana governor.

Democrats have opposed Republicans' efforts to confirm more judges following Trump's loss in November's election, but Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., still recognized Kirsch's capabilities.

"I know the man. He is a qualified person," Durbin said when the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Kirsch's nomination last week. Durbin still said he was against the "extraordinary process" Republicans have employed to confirm him.

The American Bar Association also rated Kirsch as "Well Qualified," its highest mark.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana Thomas Kirsch II is sworn in during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Nov. 18, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Kirsch is the 54th judge Trump has appointed who was confirmed to a federal court of appeals and 230th federal judge overall, with more likely to follow. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Raul M. Arias-Marxuach, who Trump picked for the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Additionally, Trump's nominee for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Katherine A. Crytzer, will have her confirmation up for a vote before the Senate Wednesday morning.

With just over a month left in his term, Trump has confirmed more than 200 judicial nominees, including three Supreme Court justices. There are currently 56 federal court vacancies with 33 nominations pending, making it likely that when Trump's term comes to an end he will leave less than half the number of vacancies as President Barack Obama left in January 2017.


The confirmation of conservative judges has been a priority for Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Filling as many seats as possible before Jan. 20, 2021, will leave fewer positions for President-elect Joe Biden to fill.

Additionally, control of the Senate hangs in the balance with two Georgia runoff elections coming up in January. Democratic victories could allow Biden to confirm liberal judges as easily as Trump did with conservatives.

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