In the United States, we expect our judicial system to treat all Americans equally. After all, it is our judicial system which we rely on to assure due process of law.
The federal courts play a critical role in our constitutional system. Because of this, it is important that federal judges faithfully apply the law as written. This year, the Senate has been able to put a number of highly-qualified judges on the federal bench who are committed to fulfilling that role.
The process for filling vacant federal judgeships begins with a nomination by the president. The nominee then must be confirmed by the Senate following a thorough vetting process. Confirming highly-qualified judges is one of the most important roles of the United States Senate. Because the federal judges hold lifetime appointments, it is vital to make certain that they base their decisions on the rule of law rather than their personal policy preferences or feelings.
Under the previous administration and a Democrat-controlled Senate, court vacancies were filled with liberal, activist judges seeking to rule based on what they want the law to be, not on what Congress actually legislated. With President Trump in office, we have been able to change course and begin to balance out the courts with judges who interpret the law as it was written. In 2017, we have appointed 12 highly-qualified circuit court judges who are committed to this view of the law.
Last year, while he was a circuit court judge, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch explained that a good judge should strive to “apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be — not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.”
I agree with Justice Gorsuch that the role of a judge is to apply the law faithfully and impartially, not to legislate from the bench. It’s important that we continue confirming the dozens of pending nominations to keep the judicial system fully functioning.
There are still more than 100 federal court vacancies across the country. I look forward to continuing to do my part in putting fair-minded judges on the bench who understand the role of the judiciary is to interpret the law as written, not to make the law.