On Wednesday, June 24th, the Senate confirmed the presidential nomination of Judge Cory Wilson. He was officially appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit in New Orleans, Louisiana. Judge Wilson previously served on the Mississippi Court of Appeals until his nomination to the federal court systems. Prior to his time as a judge, Wilson was serving in the House of Representatives as a Mississippi Republican representative as well as having many years of experience as an attorney. His education background includes being qualified by the American Bar Association and being a Yale Law Alumni.
This nomination was completely opposed by the Senate Democrats, however the Republican majority allowed this nomination to be successfully confirmed. The final vote was 52 in favor and 48 opposed. Judge Wilson’s nomination is a continuation of the GOP’s relentless efforts to pack the courts with conservative judges. The goal of packing the Courts with conservative judges must be completed prior to the fall election because of the possibility of the majority party switching to Democratic leadership which would make confirmation of judges much more difficult for the GOP. Packing the court provides the possibility of conservative judges that would strike down liberal laws passed by Congress if the Democrat party gains the upper hand in the fall elections. This is certainly not a tactic only utilized by the GOP. Court packing has historically been used by both Democrats and Republicans because the influence of the judicial branch lasts for decades whereas Congressional terms can be short.
Democratic concerns with the nomination stem from his stance on health care, abortion, and voting rights. An obvious point of contention between the political parties is the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as Judge Wilson has strongly opposed this legislation since its inception. In 2011, while working as an attorney, Judge Wilson publicly addressed criticism directed towards his attitudes of voter identification laws by dismissing claims from critics stating his support for voter identification laws directly disenfranchises minority voters.
The importance of this nomination is that with the confirmation of Judge Wilson, there are no more vacancies in the federal appeal circuit. The implications of achieving this Republican goal is that Trump-appointed judges will shape the interpretation and legality of many controversial laws passed in Congress for decades to come.
A resume and education background, provided by the Senate Judiciary Committee, can be found here.