On January 31, Trump nominated U.S. Appeals Court judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat on the Supreme Court previously held by Justice Antonin Scalia until his death on February 13, 2016.
During the 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan pledged that he would appoint the first female Supreme Court Justice if given the opportunity. That opportunity came during his first year in office when Associate Justice Potter Stewart retired; Reagan selected Sandra Day O'Connor, who was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. In his second term, Reagan had three opportunities to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. When Chief Justice Warren E. Burger retired in September 1986, Reagan nominated incumbent Associate Justice William Rehnquist to succeed Burger as Chief Justice (the appointment of an incumbent associate justice as chief justice is subject to a separate confirmation process). Then, following Rehnquist's confirmation, the president named Antonin Scalia to fill the consequent associate justice vacancy. Reagan's final opportunity to fill a vacancy arose in mid-1987 when Associate Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. announced his intention to retire. Reagan initially chose Conservative jurist Robert Bork to succeed Powell. Bork's nomination was strongly opposed by civil and women's rights groups, and by Senate Democrats. That October, after a contentious Senate debate, the nomination was rejected by a roll call vote of 42–58. Soon afterward, Reagan announced his intention to nominate Douglas Ginsburg to the Court. However, before his name was submitted to the Senate, Ginsburg withdrew himself from consideration. Anthony Kennedy was subsequently nominated and confirmed as Powell's successor.
In 2018, President Donald Trump posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Scalia.
In a 2012 interview, Scalia had said he would prefer Judge Frank H. Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals as his successor. On March 16, 2016, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, nominated Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill Scalia's seat, but the Republican-controlled Senate declined to take any action on the nomination; the nomination expired with the end of the 114th Congress on January 3, 2017. On January 31, 2017, Republican President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to succeed Scalia. Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate on April 7, 2017.
When Ronald Reagan was elected president in November 1980, Scalia hoped for a major position in the new administration. He was interviewed for the position of Solicitor General of the United States, but the position went to Rex E. Lee, to Scalia's great disappointment. Scalia was offered a seat on the Chicago-based United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in early 1982 but declined it, hoping to be appointed to the highly influential United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit). Later that year, Reagan offered Scalia a seat on the D.C. Circuit, which Scalia accepted. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 5, 1982, and was sworn in on August 17, 1982.
Scalia was born in Trenton, New Jersey. A devout Catholic, he received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University. He then obtained his law degree from Harvard Law School and spent six years in a Cleveland law firm before becoming a law professor at the University of Virginia. In the early 1970s, he served in the Nixon and Ford administrations, eventually becoming an Assistant Attorney General. He spent most of the Carter years teaching at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the first faculty advisers of the fledgling Federalist Society. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Scalia as a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In 1986, he was appointed to the Supreme Court by Reagan and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, becoming the Court's first Italian-American justice.
Presidential approval polls taken during the first ten months of Trump's term have shown him to be the least popular U.S. president in the history of modern opinion polls. A Pew Research Center global poll conducted in July 2017, found "a median of just 22 percent has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs". This compares to a median of 64 percent rate of confidence for his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump received a higher rating in only two countries: Russia and Israel. An August 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll found on some measures "that majorities of voters have low opinions of his character and competence". By December 2018, Trump's approval ratings, averaged over many polls, stood at roughly 42%, two points below Obama's at the same time in his presidency, and one point above Ronald Reagan's. Trump's two-year average Gallup approval rating was the lowest of any president since World War II.
Reagan was raised in a low-income family in small towns of northern Illinois. He graduated from Eureka College in 1932 and worked as a sports commentator on several regional radio stations. After moving to California in 1937, he found work as an actor and starred in a few major productions. Reagan was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild—the labor union for actors—where he worked to root out Communist influence. In the 1950s, he moved into television and was a motivational speaker at General Electric factories, during which time he became a conservative. Reagan was a Democrat until 1962 when he switched to the Republican Party. In 1964, Reagan's speech "A Time for Choosing" supported Barry Goldwater's foundering presidential campaign and earned him national attention as a new conservative spokesman. Building a network of supporters, Reagan was elected governor of California in 1966. As governor, Reagan raised taxes, turned a state budget deficit to a surplus, challenged the protesters at the University of California, ordered in National Guard troops during a period of protest movements in 1969, and was re-elected in 1970. He twice ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1968 and 1976. Four years later in 1980, he won the nomination and then defeated the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter. At of age at the time of his first inauguration, Reagan was the oldest person to have been elected to a first term, until Donald Trump (aged ) in 2017. Reagan is still, however, the oldest president elected, at of age at his second inauguration. Reagan faced former vice president Walter Mondale when he ran for re-election in 1984, and defeated him, winning the most electoral votes of any U.S. president, 525, or 97.6% of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. It was the second-most lopsided presidential election in modern U.S. history after Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1936 victory over Alfred M. Landon, in which he won 98.5% or 523 of the (then-total) 531 electoral votes. Soon after taking office as president, Reagan began implementing sweeping new political and economic initiatives. His supply-side economic policies, dubbed "Reaganomics", advocated tax rate reduction to spur economic growth, economic deregulation, and reduction in government spending. In his first term, he survived an assassination attempt, spurred the War on Drugs, and fought public sector labor. Over his two terms, the economy saw a reduction of inflation from 12.5% to 4.4% and an average real GDP annual growth of 3.4%. Reagan enacted cuts in domestic discretionary spending, cut taxes, and increased military spending, which contributed to increased federal outlays overall, even after adjustment for inflation. Foreign affairs dominated his second term, including ending the Cold War, the bombing of Libya, the Iran–Iraq War, and the Iran–Contra affair. In June 1987, four years after he publicly described the Soviet Union as an "evil empire", Reagan challenged Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall!", during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate. He transitioned Cold War policy from détente to rollback by escalating an arms race with the USSR while engaging in talks with Gorbachev. The talks culminated in the INF Treaty, which shrank both countries' nuclear arsenals. Reagan began his presidency during the decline of the Soviet Union, and the Berlin Wall fell just ten months after the end of his term. Germany reunified the following year, and on December 26, 1991 (nearly three years after he left office), the Soviet Union collapsed.