President Donald Trump has named a Mississippi judge to a federal appeals court. By itself, the news is not remarkable. But this approval marks the President’s 200th federal judge appointment—the most by a president in one term for the past 40 years.
The U.S. federal court system has three levels: district courts (94), circuit courts (13), and the Supreme Court (1). There are also various state courts, including (but not limited to) probate, family, juvenile, criminal, and small claims courts. The court system is a complex but important part of government.
Even the wilderness-wandering children of Israel had a judicial system. As supreme Lawgiver and Judge, God helped Moses set up the system. Judges learned God’s law. They ruled on minor issues and saved the major ones for Moses. (Exodus 18:13-27)
As the 200th confirmed appointment, Judge Cory Wilson now has a seat on the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal. That highly conservative court hears cases from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
Wilson, a former Republican legislator, sat on a Mississippi state court before being nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. A 52-48 vote revealed that all Democrats voted against Wilson, and all Republicans—save one—voted for him.
Democrats allege Wilson’s record shows he works to undermine the voting rights of African Americans and other minorities. They point out that Wilson supported requiring IDs for voters at the polls and say he makes false claims about voter fraud. Democrats also blast Wilson’s longtime opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the health law passed under President Barack Obama.
“The Senate should not confirm a nominee who would work to further restrict the right to vote,” said California Senator Dianne Feinstein before the confirmation.
Senator Kamala Harris calls Wilson’s record “extremely problematic at this moment in time.” She is referring to national feelings in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and other African Americans. About 55% of those who live in the Wilson’s region are minorities.
On the other side of the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls Wilson “an outstanding nominee.” He notes Wilson’s vast experience. Wilson served as a lawyer in private practice, a state lawmaker, an advisor to top state officials, and a Mississippi judge. The American Bar Association rates him as “well-qualified.”
“I am confident that Wilson will bring . . . courage to the bench,” says Carrie Severino, president of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, “and not be afraid to stand up for the rule of law.”