President Donald Trump has often touted the number of federal judges he’s appointed during his first term in office, and this has only ramped up during campaign season. But no one could have guessed that the president would tell the audience at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., that, when all is said and done, there will be 302 Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices. Or at least that’s what it sounded like:
“We’re gonna end up with 302 great Supreme Court justices” — Trump
(there are 9 justices on SCOTUS) pic.twitter.com/PZyqEIvAC0
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 24, 2020
Trump: "We're going to end up with 302 great Supreme Court justices." (Sic.)
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) August 24, 2020
President Donald Trump: "We will end up with 302 great Supreme Court justices." pic.twitter.com/F7mGYyxs8x
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) August 24, 2020
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) August 24, 2020
It is absolutely true that President Trump has nominated—and the Republican-led Senate has appointed—nearly 300 federal judges since the 45th president assumed the Oval Office. Two of those appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, now sit on the Supreme Court of the United States. The president has been quite clear that he expects that total number of lifetime judicial appointments to exceed 300 by the end of the year.
On Monday, however, President Trump said the following, which was immediately interpreted as 302 justices, not 300 (judges) and two justices:
And the Republicans did not make it easy, let’s say, but you know if you have enough time, there’s not much anybody can do about it. We ended up with 142 judges, and then we’ve added many, many. And we’re gonna end up with 300—and two great Supreme Court justices.
“Nice work, Mr. President,” one person said, amid clapping and cheers.
There wasn’t much of a pause between the words “three hundred” and “two great Supreme Court justices,” but there was a slight pause for emphasis nonetheless—indicating that the president was saying there will be 300 judicial appointments, in addition to his two Supreme Court appointments.
“And remember this, I’m saying that I’m—I’m demanding actually—a list. Let Biden put up a list of the judges he’s going to appoint,” the president continued.
Editor’s note: an initial playing of the video sounded like Trump said 302 Supreme Court justices. But the other interpretation 300 (judges) plus two Supreme Court justices seems to be what he actually said and meant. It also matches with what the president has said before. The headline has been changed accordingly.
[Image via Twitter/screengrab]
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