The Senate confirmed President Trump’s 200th federal judge Wednesday, helping to fulfill one of his top campaign promises of remaking the federal bench with a conservative bent.
Judge Cory T. Wilson of Mississippi cleared the chamber with a 52-48 vote and will now sit on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
He has served as a judge on the Mississippi Court of Appeals for more than a year, and on Wednesday he became the president’s 53 circuit judge confirmed since Mr. Trump took office and the 200th judge overall.
Mr. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, have made the federal courts a primary focus for congressional Republicans, which has rallied their conservative base who praise the lifetime appointments.
Mr. Trump has appointed two Supreme Court justices, 53 circuit court picks and 143 district court judges. He also has appointed two nominees to the U.S. Court of International Trade.
Mr. McConnell celebrated the milestone on the chamber floor.
“When we depart this chamber today, there will not be a single circuit court vacancy anywhere in the nation for the first time in at least 40 years,” he said.
“As I’ve said many times, our work with the administration to renew our federal courts is not a partisan or political victory. It is a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself,” he added.
But liberals have charged the president and Senate Republicans with confirming federal judges who are hostile to workers’ rights, women’s rights and health care access.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, said Judge Wilson is hostile to voting rights.
“He has been a longtime proponent of voter ID laws — which disproportionately harm communities of color, students, voters with disabilities and the elderly — and has made false claims about the prevalence of voter fraud,” Ms. Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a press release this week. “He has likewise expressed opposition to enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and has made unsubstantiated claims that voter suppression is nonexistent.”
The president and the majority leader have far outpaced the Obama administration in the pace of confirming federal appeals court judges. By comparison, President Obama confirmed 30 circuit court judges during the same amount of time.
Mike Davis, president of the Article III Project, which backs Mr. Trump’s judicial nominees, said Mr. Trump has turned the 2nd, 3rd and 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals from a majority of Democrat-appointed judges to a majority GOP-appointed judges.
“In 2016, President Trump campaigned on the promise to transform the federal judiciary with conservative jurists,” Mr. Davis said. “And he didn’t just talk, Trump actually delivered. Promises made, promises kept.”
Mr. Trump made the Supreme Court a primary focus following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016.
He released a list of potential Supreme Court picks composed by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation and consisting of constitutional and conservative jurists, vowing to select nominees only from there.
The action helped bring Republican voters to the polls, and Mr. Trump is vowing to put out an updated list, hoping the move helps energize voters again ahead of November’s election.