The Myth of Trump’s Judicial Success

The subheading says it all:

During his administration, President Trump appointed many conservative judges–but on balance, he set back conservative legal values more than he advanced them.

Billy Easley writing at

On the surface, the Trump administration was a boon for the conservative legal establishment for all these reasons. But scratch under the surface: look past the appointments and the legal victories and you can see the rot in the foundation. Consistently throughout his administration, President Trump undermined the universal values conservatives advocate, and it has set our movement back. At the same time the President worked to don black robes on a fleet of principled, conservative lawyers, he undermined the values conservatives have worked so hard to defend against a resurgent left and an emboldened populist base. (emphasis added)

Thank you! I’ve been making this very point to any so-called conservative who would listen for almost four years!

I want the conservative legal movement to succeed. My career reflects that. But the way it succeeds is not merely by gaining power or putting the right people in place. We have to support politicians who reflect our values and demonstrate that the political process is not a never‐​ending war of all against all without any guardrails. At a minimum, we have to support the democratic institutions that bind our country together and leaders who don’t undermine them. If you believe our society is too polarized for persuasion to work or that the left can only be defeated through accumulating judicial and political power, then there may be nothing I can say to dissuade you.

And far too many so-called conservatives have, sadly, reached this point.

But I will try: Look where the conservative movement is now. We have lost the Senate, the House, and the Presidency. When gaining power and “owning the libs” is the only thing you care about, this is what happens: you lose. You lose because you shred your credibility, undermine the system that helped you secure your victories, and you convince observers that they’re suckers if they care about the rules. Conservatism is not about winning. Nor is it about the number of judges you appoint. It is about supporting our democratic institutions, the rule of law, and empowering people. If we focus on sowing those principles, the country and our movement will be much better off. (emphasis added)

Hear, hear.

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