Mississippians can take pride in an important moment in the Senate this past week. Judge Cory Wilson of Madison was confirmed to serve a lifetime appointment on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes Mississippi. The Senate’s vote made him the 200th judge to be confirmed since President Donald Trump took office. I encouraged President Trump to nominate Wilson earlier this year and welcome his confirmation.
Judge Wilson, a Moss Point native and Ole Miss graduate, will join the growing number of conservative-minded judges serving on federal appeals courts. These are the highest courts in our nation under the Supreme Court, and they decide major cases on matters affecting all Americans, including life, health care, and religious liberty. Judge Wilson’s voice will be an important addition. He has earned a reputation in Mississippi as a fair and impartial judge committed to the Constitution and the rule of law. I believe he will make his mark on the judiciary in the years to come.
No Vacancy Left Behind
A major factor in President Trump’s election victory was his promise of appointing solid, conservative judges to the federal judiciary. Since he took office, the Senate has made historic progress in confirming his nominees, vowing to leave no vacancy behind. We have approved the most federal judges at this point in a presidency since Jimmy Carter was in office. We have shifted three federal appeals courts to being majority conservative and have boosted conservative majorities on five others. And we are close to turning the Ninth Circuit, long considered the most liberal court.
All told, we have confirmed 53 court of appeals judges, 143 district judges, two international trade judges, and two Supreme Court justices. This does not mean every court decision is perfect, but there is no getting around the fact that the courts have been transformed in the last three years.
Judge Wilson filled the last remaining appeals court vacancy, but there are other federal district court openings – including two in the Southern District of Mississippi. To fill these posts, President Trump has nominated Kristi Johnson of Brandon, our state’s Solicitor General, and Taylor McNeel, a prominent attorney from the Coast. I am working to see these excellent nominees confirmed swiftly.
Guarding Our Liberties
Republicans have placed a high priority on judges because of the critical role they play in preserving our freedoms. In Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton called the judiciary the “bulwark of a limited Constitution” and a “servant” of the people. Hamilton recognized that a judge’s role is to make sure the federal government does not go beyond its limited powers. The Founders also understood that judges should be independent of both Congress and the President. For this reason, federal judges have lifetime tenure and can be removed only by impeachment.
Hamilton noted that judges exercise “neither force nor will, but merely judgment.” Unfortunately, many judges have misused their authority by making policy from the bench, rather than applying the law. This practice has undercut the democratic process and led to rulings that endanger our rights under the Constitution. I am dedicated to supporting judicial nominees who will protect our Constitution and apply the law in an evenhanded manner.
In a few months, President Trump will release his updated list of potential picks for the Supreme Court, just as he did four years ago. I applaud the President’s transparency and look forward to reviewing these candidates. In the meantime, I will continue working to put conservatives on the federal bench who will protect our Constitution for generations to come.
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Release from Senator Roger Wicker.