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Idaho U.S. senators tout economy and judicial appointments

The United States is experiencing historical prosperity and the federal judiciary is being transformed with the appointment of conservative judges, Idaho’s two U.S. senators said Thursday.

Republican U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch in speeches to state lawmakers in the Idaho House of Representatives labeled the moves as good progress for the country.

“Business is strong, both the small business and the large business,” Crapo said. “Unemployment is lower than it’s ever been. Rate of growth of jobs is great. Wages have been over 3% in growth for 18 consecutive months.”

He also said the military has been strengthened and that allies are paying more of their share for global defense costs.

“This is a great time to be an American,” Risch declared. “My friends, capitalism works. The free enterprise system works. Economic freedom works. If we who govern keep taxes low, if we keep the regulatory system at an absolute minimum, this is what can happen.”

When Barack Obama was president, both often cited the U.S. budget deficit as cause for alarm. Neither mentioned the it Thursday even though the deficit is likely to burst through the $1 trillion mark this year under President Donald Trump.

“The tone of their speeches has changed dramatically,” said Democratic House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, a House member for six years who has previously speeches by the senators in the House. “The first three years that I was here, they were laser-focused on concerns about the federal deficit and what it was going to do to America. They have fallen stony silent on that issue since 2017.”

Crapo, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke at length about the federal judiciary and the appointment of what he calls rule-of-law judges, which he defined as constitutionally-oriented judges who rule on cases instead of rewriting laws.

He said the two associate judges President Donald Trump appointed to the United States Supreme Court gives the court five conservative judges and, for the first time in a generation, eliminates the risk of having the U.S. Constitution interpreted out of existence.

“I believe that has changed one of the most significant risks that we were facing in America,” he said.

He also noted that Trump has appointed 51 judges to the United States Courts of Appeals. He said that put a majority of conservative judges on seven of the 12 regional appeals courts, including the District of Columbia Circuit, and the rest are close to being dominated by conservative judges. He said the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees Idaho cases, now has 13 conservative judges out of 29 on the court.

Rubel, an attorney, said many judges appointed by Trump were rated as unqualified by the American Bar Association, a long-standing standard among presidents when appointing judges.

The Trump administration is “no longer even seeking American Bar Association review for those judicial appointees,” Rubel said.

Trump has also appointed more than 130 judges to U.S. district courts. Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye for the District of Idaho, who was first nominated by Obama and then by Trump, was rated well-qualified by the American Bar Association. He was sworn in as a district judge in 2017.

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