What's on Our Mind 2-17-2023

Amid the horrific shooting this week, President Joe Biden appointed his 100th judge to be confirmed by the Senate. This surpasses Donald Trump’s appointees at this point in Trump’s term. Hopefully we can now begin to move the judicial system back toward the center where it belongs.
Trump appointed, and the Senate confirmed, 234 judges. Each of those judges mirrored Trump’s ideology and that of his base. Clearly Biden has much ground to cover to fill the 100 remaining vacancies. But finally with a Democratic-controlled Senate, Biden’s nominees can now finally receive confirmation.
These judges will play a significant role in our country’s effort to stop gun violence. Long before cases reach the Supreme Court, lower court judges will make rulings. These rulings will include gun issues, as well as issues dealing with women’s access to reproductive health care and other issues that impact all of our lives.
The Supreme Court only rules on 100-150 cases a year of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year. Those cases are heard by the lower courts. That is why who sits on those courts can be just as important as the highest court. 
There are many challenges right now to common sense gun laws that the lower courts will hear. For instance in California there is a challenge to a state law that prohibits any advertisement promoting firearms that appears to target minors. A Connecticut law that bans semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines is being legally challenged. Illinois recently passed assault weapons ban that faces a similar challenge.
The evenly split Senate of the last two years meant that Senate committees were also evenly split. The Judiciary Committee, which is charged with the consideration of all judicial nominations, was at a stalemate. Most nominees never received enough votes from the Committee to move on to a full Senate vote.
The election of so many JAC candidates to the Senate in 2022, giving the Democrats the majority in the Senate, including the critically important Judiciary committee, led to this watershed moment for our judiciary.
Elections have consequences — on many levels.