President Trump’s plan to give federal courts a conservative makeover is clearly working.
Breitbart reported that President Donald Trump flipped the first federal appeals court to a Republican majority on Tuesday, when the Senate confirmed Judge Paul Matey to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
America is geographically divided into 13 federal appeals courts. For example, the Third Circuit includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Puerto Rico.
The Senate confirmed Matey by a vote of 54-46. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was the sole Democrat to join all Republicans in supporting Matey’s nomination.
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With the confirmation of a nominee to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, President Trump has for the first time in his presidency flipped an appeals court to have a majority of Republican-appointed judges.
The approval of Paul Matey, who was deputy chief counsel to GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the “Bridgegate” controversy, to the federal appeals court in Philadelphia marked a milestone in the efforts by the president and the Republican-controlled Senate to reshape the federal judiciary.
The Senate approved Matey’s nomination in a 54-45 vote on Tuesday. He is the 35th appeals court nominee confirmed since Trump took office. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was the only Democrat to join with his Republican colleagues in voting for Matey.
Matey, 48, a partner at Lowenstein Sandler and member of the conservative Federalist Society, was first nominated to the federal bench in April. His nomination was opposed by his home state U.S. senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, both Democrats.
With his confirmation, the 3rd Circuit will have a 7-6 majority of judges appointed by Republican presidents. When Trump took office in January 2017, there were five Republican-appointed judges and seven Democratic-appointed judges on the court.
The president still has the opportunity to fill another vacancy on the Philadelphia-based appeals court, and if he is successful in doing so, it would bring the total of GOP-appointed judges to eight.
Since the start of his presidency, Trump has seen significant success with remaking the federal courts. The Senate has not only confirmed a record number of his nominees to the federal appeals courts, many of whom are young and will likely serve for decades, but the president has also successfully nominated two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
At the federal district court level, the Senate approved more than 50 of Trump’s picks.
Also poised for a vote by the Senate this week is the nomination of Neomi Rao, who is Trump’s regulatory czar and was selected to replace Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The Senate advanced Rao’s nomination 53-46 on Tuesday, setting up a final vote for the coming days. Rao has come under scrutiny for college op-eds about sexual assault and date rape, for which she since has apologized.