NPR

Legal Opinions Or Political Commentary? A New Judge Exemplifies The Trump Era

Judge James Ho has begun what will likely will be decades of service on the federal bench, drawing attention from critics and supporters and encapsulating how much effect Donald Trump is having.

Less than a year into a lifetime appointment, a 45-year-old federal appeals court judge named James Ho may embody President Trump's most enduring legacy.

Ho has shaken up the staid world of appellate law by deploying aggressive rhetoric in cases involving guns, abortion rights and campaign finance regulations.

Today's government "would be unrecognizable to our Founders," he has written. He condemned what he called "the moral tragedy of abortion." And he's bemoaned that the Second Amendment appears to be considered a "second class right."

Critics say Ho is writing op-ed columns, not legal opinions. Friends and former colleagues said he's an intellectual engaging with ideas. And that he's just getting started.

What's clear to all is how much the young judge — and many others like him confirmed by

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