Deal cut to fast track 15 more federal judges, so vulnerable Democrat Senators could go home to campaign.
Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer struck a deal to allow a unanimous consent confirmation of 7 federal court nominations, and a fast track on 8 others. And #TheResistance is pissed.
The Senate reached a deal Tuesday to swiftly confirm seven federal district court judges, helping President Donald Trump put an enduring stamp on the U.S. judiciary….
The seven newly confirmed judges are Terry Fitzgerald Moorer in Alabama, R. Stan Baker in Georgia, Charles Barnes Goodwin in Oklahoma, Barry W. Ashe in Louisiana, James R. Sweeney II in Indiana, Susan Paradise Baxter in Pennsylvania, and Nancy E. Brasel in Minnesota.
Eight more of Trump’s district court nominees are set for confirmation next week, said McConnell’s deputy chief of staff, Don Stewart.
Former Hillary spokesman Brian Fallon accused Senate Democrats of bringing a “butter knife to a gun fight,” according to Bloomberg:
“Mitch McConnell is in the middle of stealing the federal courts for conservatives, and Democrats continue to bring a butter knife to a gunfight,” said Brian Fallon, executive director of the progressive judicial group Demand Justice and a former spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. “It is hard to think of a more pathetic surrender heading into the Kavanaugh hearings.”
This was another Mitch McConnell maneuver that paid off. While Democrats could slow down the process, McConnell kept the Senate in session which meant vulnerable Democrat Senators (of which there are almost a dozen) couldn’t campaign at home.
Democrats forced McConnell to act by unprecedented delay tactics in requiring cloture votes even on non-controversial nominees.
Historic Obstruction. @POTUS's nominees have already been subjected to more than four times as many cloture votes as the nominees of his six most recent predecessors combined in their first two years. pic.twitter.com/vIiQfg9vlB
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) August 23, 2018
Democrats resorted to those tactics because Democrats went nuclear in December 2013, eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees below the Supreme Court level. McConnell and other Republicans warned Harry Reid and company that the move would come back to bite them, and it did. When Republicans took back the Senate in 2014, Democrats lost the advantage the removal of the filibuster had given them (since they didn’t have even 51 votes), and when Trump won, it set up the perfect storm: A boatload of vacancies and a Senate free to ram through nominees with a bare majority.
All Democrats could do is slow-walk the process, but they couldn’t stop nominees as long as Republicans were united.
Considering how Harry Reid brought this problem on Democrats, it was pretty cheeky for Reid’s former Deputy Chief of Staff to attack Schumer:
Adam Jentleson, former deputy chief of staff under Reid took a swipe at Schumer’s decision to fast-track judicial nominees in a deal with McConnell in a series of tweets on Tuesday. He also laid out how Democrats could slow down the confirmation process and potentially stop some nominees.
“This comes down to leadership,” said Jentleson, who worked for Reid as communications director and then deputy chief of staff from 2011 to 2017.
Colin Kalmbacher at Millenial Politics expressed the frustration felt by many of the Democrat base, Senate Democrats Are Working Better With Trump Than They Ever Did With Obama:
… these judges are mostly Trump judges – with one exception. (That one exception is Judge Susan Baxter, an elderly moderate originally nominated by Obama – and held up by McConnell – in 2015.) In essence, this means six of the seven judges have been vetted and hand-selected by the Federalist Society, an arch-conservative judicial group hellbent on returning America to a pre-New Deal system of law and politics….
Residents at the Hart Office Home for Geriatrics are well known for their buddy-buddy friendship and perpetual double-dealing. This is true. But Tuesday’s confirmations take the fecklessness of the official opposition to a disturbing new level. Why? Because Democrats got next-to-nothing out of this deal.
As mentioned, the elderly Judge Baxter isn’t likely to serve long on the bench. But close to 100 percent of Trump’s Federalist Society-sanctioned nominees are young and ready to remake the judiciary like it’s 1889. As celebrated journalist David Dayen noted, the real prize for Senate Democrats was getting to go home early.
McConnell clearly is viewed as the villain here, as Splinter fumes:
Democrats, now and for decades, have been shamefully outpaced by Republicans in their war for the judiciary. The staunchly conservative Federalist Society has an iron grip over Republican judicial nominations, and the Republicans have cheerfully thrown out all pretense of following procedure on SCOTUS vacancies, blocking Merrick Garland under the pretense of it being an election year while going full steam ahead with Kavanaugh. But Republicans, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have also spent years blocking the confirmations of lower-level judges, leaving more unfilled judgeships in the last Congress than any time since 1952—and a huge opportunity for President Trump.
With all this anger about McConnell’s hand in all this, I’ll ask the question again: Is Mitch McConnell “the Michael Jordan of owning the libs”?
— Debra Messing✍? (@DebraMessing) August 29, 2018
In other news, the White House just announced its 17th Wave of judicial nominations, including one judge each for the 4th and 9th Circuits.DONATE
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