Record Judge Vacancies Could See Trump Recast Courts

With President Trump preparing to nominate a ninth justice for the Supreme Court this week, tumult over the crucial vacancy is overshadowing his unprecedented potential to fill the benches of lower federal courts.

A broad refusal by Senate Republicans to approve judicial nominees during the last two years of Obama’s second term means Trump could move quickly to fill 114 vacant federal judge positions. U.S. Courts data shows that to be the most vacancies in at least 20 years.

Trump is a foe of environmental regulations who is working quickly to undo rules, programs and agreements backed by President Obama to slow global warming. By appointing federal judges with similar views, Trump could make it harder for future administrations to secure courtroom approvals for new climate rules for decades to come.

“It’s a very serious problem,” said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney for the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife who tracks federal judge vacancies and nominations. “It does create more opportunities for bad judges to get confirmed, for bad decisions to be issued, and for courts to tilt.”

Read more (Climate Central)