The presidential race is all over but the shouting (and long may the shouting continue). President Trump is now a lame duck.
But this doesn’t mean Trump is without power. He has the power, for example, to nominate federal judges. And with the GOP in control of the Senate, he ought to be able to have them confirmed.
As I understand it, there are three vacant court of appeals positions — two on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and one on the First Circuit. Trump has already nominated Thomas Kirsch for one of the Seventh Circuit vacancies — the seat Justice Barrett filled until recently. In all likelihood, Kirsch will be confirmed before the new administration takes over.
However, there is no nominee for either of the other two vacancies. Is there enough time left for Trump to fill these spots?
My understanding is that there is enough time, but only if (a) the White House announces the nominations this week and (b) Chairman Graham agrees to move them.
I can think of no good reason why events (a) and (b) shouldn’t happen. But do I trust that both will? No. I didn’t dub Lindsey Graham “the Arlen Specter of the South” for nothing.
It will be a pity if Republicans leave court of appeals judgeships on the table. But I believe there’s at least a 50 percent chance of that happening.