Addressing a convention of labor commissioners in 1889, prominent government statistician Carroll D. Wright reminded his audience that “figures will not lie,” but warned that “liars will figure.” He urged them to “prevent the liar from figuring”—that is, from “perverting the truth, in the interest of some theory he is trying to establish.”
To that end, The Heritage Foundation has launched its Judicial Appointment Tracker, a tool to track judicial nominations and confirmations, not only currently but also compared to previous administrations.
The judges a president appoints may be his most important legacy. Judges serve long after the appointing president leaves office. They have the power to determine what our laws mean and to decide cases involving the most important issues of our time.
It was not supposed to be that way, because judges were never meant to be so powerful. America’s Founders assigned a modest role for judges within our system, leading Alexander Hamilton to call the judiciary the “weakest” and “least dangerous” branch.
The conflict over judicial appointments today is really a conflict over judicial power—whether to maintain, or abandon, the judicial role as defined by the Founders.
Evaluating and participating in the judicial appointment process requires good information. Not just random, carefully spun data points, but fair, accurate, and reliable statistics in proper context.
The Judicial Appointment Tracker provides this data for six elements of the judicial appointment process: vacancies, nominees, hearings, confirmations, cloture votes, and roll call votes. It provides the current data since President Donald Trump took office and comparable data for the previous five presidents.