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DC – GUN RIGHTS – As Trump Leaves the White House, His Imprint on the Judiciary Deepens

As Democrats look to the incoming Biden administration to reverse much of President Trump’s work, the conservative imprint he has left on the federal courts is only deepening. Much attention in recent months has focused on the Supreme Court and its newly appointed justice, Amy Coney Barrett. But an analysis of decisions by the country’s appellate bench — where nearly all contested federal litigation ends — shows the transformation of the judiciary under Mr. Trump. Early this year, The New York Times reviewed more than 10,000 published decisions and dissents during the first three years of the Trump administration. It found that the president’s picks for the appeals courts were more likely than past Republican appointees to disagree with peers selected by Democrats, and more likely to agree with their Republican colleagues, suggesting they were more consistently conservative. An updated analysis of more than 1,700 opinions published over the first six months of the year shows that the trend has intensified as the judges have established a larger body of work. “It’s more polarized,” said Joshua Fischman, a law professor at the University of Virginia. “We’ve seen a huge conservative shift. A lot of these judges are very young, and they’ll be there for a long time.” Mr. Trump has named 53 of the 165 judges on the nation’s regional appeals courts: lifetime appointments that will have a vast and enduring impact. Most cases on the courts are decided unanimously by three-person panels, and dissent is relatively rare. But as a group, his selections were nearly four times as likely to clash with colleagues appointed by Democratic presidents as those appointed by Republicans. Judges nominated by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush showed the same tendency, but to half the extent.  [full article]

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