Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may not have much in common with President Donald J. Trump, but he’s working overtime to make sure Trump’s judicial nominees are confirmed by the Senate.
Trump’s judicial appointments have been slowed by Senate Democrats who are terrified of the idea of that conservative, constitutional judges might end up reshaping our judicial system.
McConnell and his Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee are working overtime to make sure Trump’s nominees get confirmed.
A handful of Republican senators did something unusual on Wednesday: With the Senate not even in session, and no Democrats in sight, they convened the Judiciary Committee to advance a half-dozen of Donald Trump’s judicial nominees.
It’s great to see the U.S. Senate ACTUALLY working.
For Republicans, there’s nothing that matters more. They aren’t pitching a big visionary agenda to persuade voters to return them to power next year — there’s only passing mention in the midterms of repealing Obamacare, and little talk of making Trump’s border wall a reality. It’s all about the judiciary.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given every indication that his primary focus — through Election Day and, assuming Republicans still control the Senate, in the two years to follow, will be the ongoing reshaping of the courts.
“I love the tax bill and a lot of the other things we did. But I think lifetime appointments — not only to the Supreme Court but to the circuit courts — are the way you have the longest lasting impact on the country,” McConnell said in an interview this month. “The president and his team have sent up, in my view, excellent judges, and we’ve had the unity we’ve needed … to get them confirmed.”
That could mean a 2019 that looks a lot like the scene Wednesday: Reporters asking senators about unrelated issues outside the Senate Judiciary Committee, while inside the GOP continues barreling ahead with confirming a parade of younger conservative judges like 36-year-old Allison Rushing, who could serve on the Fourth Circuit for perhaps 40 or 50 years given her youth.
McConnell’s pace of filling federal court seats has been eye-popping, especially on the powerful appellate circuits. Addressing the conservative Heritage Foundation on Tuesday night, McConnell touted 29 circuit court judges confirmed since Trump took office, which he described as a record pace “in any administration in history.” That’s 16 percent of the 179 appeals court seats.
Go Mitch, go!
The Kentucky Republican pledged Tuesday night to continue two more years of work on his confirmation agenda if the GOP keeps the Senate. It’s a mission, set in motion by his 2016 decision to bottle up Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination, that is looking easy to carry out.
To transform the courts, Republicans need the presidency and 50 GOP votes in the Senate given the recent evisceration of the filibuster on nominees. With 51 seats and a generous Senate map laid out before them, there’s an easy roadmap for the GOP to continue clawing back the more than 300 lifetime confirmations that Democrats oversaw during Barack Obama’s presidency.
“A president is entitled to nominate people,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said on Wednesday, adding that he “would support legislation that says if the president, no matter who the president is, nominates somebody in the executive branch or judicial branch, the Senate’s got 90 days to vote yea or nay. That’s what we’re paid to do.”