A gavel sits on a desk inside the Court of Appeals at the new Ralph L. Carr Colorado Judicial Center, which celebrated its official opening on Monday Jan. 14, 2013, in Denver. 
Photo by Brennan Linsley/AP

Trump nominates, and the GOP confirms, the nation’s youngest federal judge

Keeping up on every conservative judicial nominee confirmed by Senate Republicans would be a dizzying task. Donald Trump’s White House and the GOP majority in the upper chamber have prioritized moving the federal judiciary sharply to the right, and with Senate Democrats effectively powerless to stop the crusade, Republicans are taking full advantage of the opportunity.

Some of these judges, however, stand out as unique. Jennifer Bendery had this report earlier this week.

Senate Republicans voted Monday night to advance the nomination of Allison Jones Rushing, yet another of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees who is troubling for a number of reasons.

Rushing worked for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organization that has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She has argued that there were “moral and practical” reasons for banning same-sex marriage.

But it’s her age that may be most notable: She is 37.

That’s neither an exaggeration nor a typo. Donald Trump nominated a 36-year-old lawyer to be appellate judge last year, but the Senate wasn’t able to confirm her before the end of the last Congress. Republicans did, however, hold her confirmation hearings during the lame-duck session – only a handful of senators participate – clearing the way for her re-nomination and yesterday’s 53-44 confirmation vote.

Literally every Senate Republican voted for the nominee, making her the nation’s youngest federal judge.

Her previous association with the right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom was a key concern for Democrats, but the young lawyer’s inexperience was just as jarring: according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Rushing has only tried four cases to verdict, and she wasn’t the lead counsel on any of them.

Nominating someone this young and inexperienced for the district court bench would’ve been audacious, but Trump chose for the appellate bench, the level of the judiciary just below the U.S. Supreme Court.

And since our system provides lifetime appointments for federal judges, it stands to reason that Allison Jones Rushing may be on the federal bench for the next half-century.

Much has been said over the last couple of years about the Republican scramble to stack the courts with conservative ideologues, but let’s not forget the importance of their age. The White House, in partnership with interest groups such as Federalist Society, aren’t just carefully choosing judicial nominees who’ll move the court to the right; they’re carefully choosing abnormally young judicial nominees who’ll move the court to the right.

Rushing isn’t alone. The HuffPost report on this added that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “has teed up votes for U.S. circuit court nominees Eric Murphy and Chad Readler, who are 40 and 46, respectively.”

To appreciate why Americans will be dealing with the consequences of the Trump presidency for decades, look no further than these conservative judges.