President Donald Trump has appointed 29 judges to the federal bench since his inauguration, including 14 appeals court judges and a Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch. While Trump has moved quickly to put his stamp on the federal judiciary, his judges have also faced a record amount of opposition, at least based on the average number of Senate votes cast against them.
The 23 men and six women Trump has successfully appointed so far have faced a total of 654 “no” votes on the floor of the Senate, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Federal Judicial Center and the U.S. Senate. That works out to an average of nearly 23 votes against each confirmed judge – by far the highest average for any president’s judges since the Senate expanded to its current 100 members in 1959.
The 330 judges Barack Obama appointed during his eight years in office faced an average of six votes against them. George W. Bush’s 328 confirmed judges faced an average of two, and Bill Clinton’s 382 judges faced an average of just over one. (This analysis counts judges for each Senate confirmation vote they faced. Some judges held multiple judicial positions and are counted more than once. Clarence Thomas, for instance, is counted twice under George H.W. Bush’s total because Thomas was confirmed to two separate positions that each required a confirmation vote: first to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1990, then to the Supreme Court in 1991.)
All but one of the votes against Trump’s nominees have come from Senate Democrats or from independents who caucus with Democrats. The lone Republican to vote against one of Trump’s judicial nominees on the Senate floor was Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, who opposed the nomination of Gregory Katsas to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.