Biden's impact on judiciary may be limited despite liberals' talk of "court-packing"

A concerted effort by Senate Republicans that began before Trump even was elected left him more than 100 federal court vacancies to fill upon entering office in 2017 – a vacuum Trump and GOP leaders made sure not to leave Biden entering 2021.

If Republicans retain their Senate majority by winning at least one of two runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5, they also will be in a position to block much of Biden’s policy agenda. That could lead the new president to use executive actions rather than going through Congress – and those could get blocked in the very courts Trump has stacked.

“The legacy of Trump’s judicial nominations is going to be a barrier not just to Biden but Democratic presidents for a long time,” says Brian Fallon, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Demand Justice and former press secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “We are behind the eight ball for years to come.”