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Judicial confirmation update: Trump nominees “begin takeover of federal appeals courts”

Judicial confirmation update: Trump nominees “begin takeover of federal appeals courts”

While the media and the politicians chase the news cycle, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell keep on moving forward with a generational project.

https://youtu.be/s3u3kzXkncE?t=1454

The last time we checked in on the status of Trump’s judicial nominees on March 7, 2019, we noted that the confirmation steamroller kept on rolling, even as the news cycle shifted from drama to drama almost daily, Republicans continue reshaping federal judiciary, though you probably are focused on Democrat anti-Semitism:

Much focus the past week has been on the anti-Semitic accusations of dual and disloyalty from Democrat Representative Ilhan Omar, backed by the progressive wing of the party, particularly Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Democrats not only have been unable to deal with it, they connived to water down a planned resolution condemning the recent anti-Semitic outbursts of Omar.

This Corbynization of the Democrat Party got all the attention, but but there was other news mostly under the media radar: Republicans in the Senate continued to confirm judicial nominees over Democrat protests, and the pace may pick up.

Since then, Trump “flipped” the 3d Circuit, if you want to view it the way the media has viewed it. Axios reported,Trump flips appeals court previously dominated by Dem appointees:

The Senate on Tuesday voted largely along party lines to confirm Paul Matey — who served as deputy chief of counsel to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) during the Bridgegate scandal — to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that has handled cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

The big picture: Matey is the 35th circuit nominee to be confirmed under President Trump, a historic number at this point in his presidency, amid ongoing Republican efforts to impose a conservative imprint on the federal judiciary. Matey’s confirmation marks the first time Trump flipped an appeals court previously dominated by Democratic presidents’ nominees, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) breaking with his party and voting in favor the nominee. The Third Circuit now has a 7-6 majority of GOP picks and 1 pending vacancy.

Matey was confirmed over the objections of his home state Senators:

Matey, a member of the conservative Federalist Society, is the third judge Trump has placed on the court and the second one Senate Republicans have confirmed despite objections from home state Democrats. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) last year unsuccessfully tried to stop Judge David Porter from being seated.

New Jersey Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker questioned Matey’s legal views and said they were not consulted by the White House, but Matey was confirmed Tuesday in a 54-45 vote. One Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, voted in favor while all other senators stuck to their party line.

Richard Wolf in USA Today wrote of this 3d Circuit development in domino-theory terms, Trump’s conservative judges begin takeover of federal appeals courts:

At the critical appeals court level, where more than 50,000 cases are heard annually, Trump has replaced 23 judges named by Republican presidents and 12 named by Democrats.

Dan Goldberg, legal director at the liberal Alliance for Justice, noted that many of the appeals court judges Trump has had confirmed filled vacancies that Senate Republicans refused to fill near the end of the Obama administration. In some cases, the Trump judges were opposed by home-state Democratic senators.

“They are confirming more judges per year than any other president in history,” said Kristine Lucius, executive vice president at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, citing Senate Republicans’ refusal to consider home-state opposition.

In addition to the Third Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, with jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia and Alabama, offers conservatives hope. It has gone from having a solid majority of judges named by Democrats to a 6-6 tie.

Six other appeals courts have a majority of Democratic presidents’ nominees; four have a majority of Republican presidents’ nominees.

“The Third Circuit Is only the first of several circuit courts of appeal that are likely to flip from majority Democrat-appointed to majority Republican-appointed during Trump’s presidency,” said Elliot Mincberg, senior fellow at People for the American Way, a liberal group that has opposed most of his nominees.

Trump also pushed ahead deeper into hostile territory, as ABC News reported, Trump, ignoring Democratic senators, set to name 2 judges in California:

It has opposed President Donald Trump’s policy changes on asylum seekers, stood in the way of his travel ban and even blocked his effort to defund sanctuary cities.

The rulings, all by judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, have produced repeated presidential tongue-lashings.

Now, as the president continues his record-setting pace of filling vacancies on the federal bench — something that will leave a lasting imprint on American jurisprudence for years to come — Trump is poised to fill two vacant seats in California on the 9th Circuit Court, despite objections of the state’s two Democratic senators.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, have voiced their repeated opposition to nominees Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee. The two senators have attempted to withhold their approval, something that historically might have amounted to a senatorial veto.

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is moving forward with a confirmation hearing for both men on Wednesday, ignoring the fact that both senators failed to return what are called “blue slips.”

Kenneth Lee was particularly impressive in his hearing testimony:

Another key appeals court nominee, Neomi Rao, was confirmed. Democrats and activist groups tried to savage her with distortions about her college writings precisely because she is considered a potential future Supreme Court nominee. We wrote about the attacks, Dems are trying to Bork and Kavanaugh appeals court nominee Neomi Rao. The Rao confirmation was a particularly bitter pill for Democrats because she replaced Brett Kavanaugh on the D.C. Circuit.

But wait, there’s more!

Senate Republicans are again threatening to modify the rules to put an end to abusive Democrat delay — and this time they may actually do it, as The Hill reports:

The backlash over circuit court picks comes as Republicans are mulling using the “nuclear option” to reduce debate time for hundreds of Trump’s nominees, a move that would allow them to implement a significant rule change with only a simple majority.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber.

McConnell suggested during a press conference last week that while he would prefer to have both parties support the rule change, he is prepared for Republicans to go it alone.

“We’re still hoping to have bipartisan support to go forward with the standing order, which would require 60 votes. In the absence of that, it still my desire to try to achieve that, and that’s an issue we’ll have — a discussion we’ll have among Republicans,” he told reporters during a weekly press conference.

The rule change would reduce the amount of debate time required after a nominee  clears the first procedural hurdle on the floor. Debate would go from 30 hours down to as little as two hours for district court picks and hundreds of executive nominees.

Supreme Court nominees, circuit court picks, Cabinet nominees and appointees for roughly a dozen independent boards would be exempt from the proposed rule change.

So while the media and the politicians chase the news cycle, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell keep on moving forward with a generational project.

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Comments

These days I will take good news anywhere I can find it. Finally obtaining some balance in the judiciary is really good news. Every day I am thankful that Ma Barker lost the election.

rabid wombat | March 17, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Not Hillary
Judges
Everything else is gravy
….

    userpen in reply to rabid wombat. | March 18, 2019 at 2:01 am

    Excellent summation Mr Wombat. Everything else is gravy.

    PrincetonAl in reply to rabid wombat. | March 18, 2019 at 6:02 am

    But man there is plenty of gravy too.

    JoeyFalconi1 in reply to rabid wombat. | March 18, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Patience, McConnell is the master of the Long Game. He’s already notched 2 Supremes and 36 circuit court confirms. And McConnell and Graham have teed up 6 more circuit nominees with 4 pending. When these judges are confirmed in the next few months, Trump will have appointed over 25% of the circuit courts in less than 3 years.

    As for changing the 30 hour rule, McConnell doesn’t need to. The rule change won’t make a huge difference, as it won’t apply to high-level positions. These include cabinet officials, circuit court judges, supreme court justices and about a dozen boards & commissions (FEC, Fed Reserve, etc). And those are the positions that count. Not the dime-a-dozen district court judges.

And the fake “conservatives” and “republicans” such as John McCain preferred and supported hillary who would have appointed far left activist “judges”. Hillary activist “judges” are not really judges but left wing activists who “interpret” the law according to their far left political positions and not the law as written.

The jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit also includes Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington – not just Caifornia.

    Edward in reply to jwoodatty. | March 18, 2019 at 12:26 am

    It does indeed, though we can be forgiven for thinking the lunacy that is CA results in the greatest amount of “news” from the Ninth Circus.

Excellent clip of soon-to-be-Judge Lee.

TheOldZombie | March 18, 2019 at 2:59 am

“Republicans are mulling using the “nuclear option” to reduce debate time for hundreds of Trump’s nominees, a move that would allow them to implement a significant rule change with only a simple majority.”

Stop mulling and do it.

I think Trump can win 2020. I’ll certainly be voting for him but nothing is a sure-thing. Anything can happen. Just ask Hillary. LOL

So lets get as many seats as we can filled as fast as we can. Better safe than sorry.

    healthguyfsu in reply to TheOldZombie. | March 18, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Agreed. If the right doesn’t do it first, the left will.

    JoeyFalconi1 in reply to TheOldZombie. | March 18, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    They don’t need to change the 30 hour rule, as it will mostly apply to dime-a-dozen district court nominees — not the circuit court and SCOTUS nominees. As regards the district court nom backlog, it’s all pretty stupid as the Reps & Dems have agreed on many of those. If you look at Trump’s nominees, some are pretty liberal. It’s all about deal-making. And posturing.

The first Republican to play the long game well – Donald Trump. Judges is a very long game with a big return on keeping the law intact.

One of the (very) few bright spots in McConnell’s leadership, but I give him credit on getting 2 Supremes instead of just 1.

We just need one more to makeup for Judge Roberts going wobbly.

L.A. Times: Trumpsters are loyal due to gratitude and attitude.

If there was a reason to elect Trump,it was his judicial nominee list published prior to the election,On with the appointments of originalist judges.

    Another Voice in reply to jmccandles. | March 18, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Agree 100% !
    It was the reason many cast their vote for Pres. Trump when doubt lingered they reminded themselves of the open seat for Justice Scalia. It remains so for 2020, this time for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    All things considered, it will be his legacy to maintain a lasting strong hold for Constitutional judges.

      userpen in reply to Another Voice. | March 18, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      It is within the realm of possibility that Ginsburg’s seat will become vacant sooner than that. A couple of years ago “Ruth Baby” Ginsburg Halloween costumes were the rage. But she’s no longer Baby Ruth. Karma wise she is close to being at the end of her re-incarnation cycle. Maybe next time she will come back as a cow. It so, Trump could honor her with a tweet about Democrat’s sacred cows.

I expect RDG will purposely wait until next year to announce her retirement so the left can scream and shout about not filling her seat until after the election for “payback” of Garland. Just a theory but won’t be surprised when it happens

    JoeyFalconi1 in reply to crazyvet. | March 18, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Well, Ginzo would really like to wait longer than just 1 year before announcing her retirement. I bet she’d prefer 20 or so. But she might not be able to control that.

The Senate on Tuesday voted largely along party lines to confirm…

GOP nominees are always confirmed along party lines; Dem nominees are always confirmed with perhaps a handful at best of ‘nay’ votes.

The Democrats have long since stopped playing by the rules of a collegiate Senate; correspondingly it is long past time for the GOP to recognize that reality, that the purported ‘collegiate Senate’ does not exist and has not existed at least since the invention of Borking 30 years ago. I much prefer the conservative approach, that institutions and practices of long-standing should not be overthrown for light or transient reasons. But the collegiality of the Senate has been overthrown: the GOP attempts to preserve it are self-defeating, and are directed at preserving something that no longer exists.

The end-game of the collegiate Senate that the GOP is trying to preserve is important, and the end-game should be to reestablish it. But that cannot be done until the Progressive Left is utterly destroyed. The visions and goals of that murderous, savage political philosophy cannot be allowed to exist. It must be uprooted with all the savagery of its own advocacy. 160-million slaughtered and another 50-million aborted is enough evidence of its evil. We need no further proofs. Until such time as that is achieved, there is no cause or purpose to ‘playing nicely.’

Will that come back to bite the GOP? Maybe. Probably. But once the Left starts losing turf, like ISIS they will be contained, surrounded and eventually have the life constricted out of it. THAT is the most important milestone toward the reestablishment of a collegiate Senate.

    JoeyFalconi1 in reply to ss396. | March 18, 2019 at 2:42 pm

    Agreed on the Borking comment. But most of the battles of the last 50 years have been individualized, as with Fortas, Bork & Thomas. And most nominees sailed through, as with Ginsburg on a 96-3 vote in 1993. But no one can deny that individual ugliness became institutionalized hell with the Estrada filibuster in 2002.

    Not only was Estrada filibustered, but a slew of other circuit court nominees: Owen, Pickering, Kuhn, McKeague, Saad, Griffin, Pryor, Myers and Brown. The GOP threatened to exercise the Nuclear Option and confirm by majority vote. In the end, the Gang of 14 negotiated a deal where Estrada, Pickering and Kuhn had to withdraw.

    You want a villain? When Harry Reid went nuclear in 2013, he eliminated the need to negotiate.

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