Liberal legal analyst Danielle McLaughlin said in a panicked voice that she had no idea what the Democratic counter-strategy was, outside of “literally hoping Ruth Bader Ginsburg survives.”
But one place where there actually were somber faces was on Monday’s “MSNBC Live” show, where co-hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle were busy hitting the panic button over the amount of Trump-nominated judges Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has successfully confirmed.
In speaking with liberal attorney and legal analyst Danielle McLaughlin during a segment on how Trump was “moving federal courts to the right,” Velshi asked McLaughlin if it was normal to have 98 vacancies in the federal judiciary. Here’s a partial transcript of their back and forth, via Newsbusters:
McLaughlin declared that, “No, this goes back to the historic actions of Mitch McConnell and others during the Obama presidency.”
Despite Democrats holding the Senate for six of Obama’s eight years, she added, with a noticeable emphasis on personal pronouns, “I think we had the Senate for about 14 months, a majority in the Senate, we actually got rid of the filibuster, which has come back to bite us, the idea that you used to have a super-majority to approve a federal judge or an appellate court judge, but now its only a simple majority and of course that’s what Republicans have.”
… McLaughlin accused Republicans of taking, “some gleeful pleasure in messing up the system and messing with the system and stopping a president [Obama] from really exercising the power that is given to him, fundamentally by the Constitution.”
After Velshi interjected to voice his agreement, McLaughlin concluded the segment by falsely accusing Republicans of not doing their constitutional duty in 2016 and that they are therefore hypocrites: “Advice and consent is obviously a power that the Senate has, but they did not even exercise it. I think for all their talk about standing by the Constitution and being the party of law and order, in fact they have been historically obstructionist — as it relates to President Obama especially. They did not do what the Constitution wanted them to do.”
The looks on the faces of Velshi, Ruhle, and McLaughlin as they discussed McConnell’s track record pretty much said it all. Watch this exchange below:
Also during the same segment, Ruhle very animatedly asked McLaughlin how Democrats could counter McConnell’s laser-like focus on judicial confirmations after Velshi noted earlier that Trump’s judges would have an impact on the federal judiciary “for years to come.” McLaughlin told them in a panicked voice that she had no idea, outside of “literally hoping Ruth Bader Ginsburg survives”:
About the only thing they got right in their discussion was the staggering number of judges McConnell has confirmed.
I’m always more than a little amused when I hear or read about liberals talking about how Republicans allegedly “messed up” the confirmation system for Democratic presidents. Last I checked, the party that controls the Senate is not duty-bound to even consider judicial appointments they’re uncomfortable with, much less confirm them.
The “system” McLaughlin and other leftists like to claim Republicans “messed up” under Obama is, in reality, “the system” in which Obama radically transformed courts across the country during the six years Democrats controlled the Senate under his presidency.
His transforming of various courts was even noticed by liberal newspapers and other publications who were otherwise predisposed to lament on how President Obama’s nominations were being “obstructed” by Senate Republicans the last two years he was in office.
For example, in a 2014 piece on the way Obama had already radically changed the federal judiciary, the New Yorker reported:
The transformation of the D.C. Circuit has been replicated in federal courts around the country. Obama has had two hundred and eighty judges confirmed, which represents about a third of the federal judiciary. Two of his choices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, were nominated to the Supreme Court; fifty-three were named to the circuit courts of appeals, two hundred and twenty-three to the district courts, and two to the Court of International Trade. When Obama took office, Republican appointees controlled ten of the thirteen circuit courts of appeals; Democratic appointees now constitute a majority in nine circuits. Because federal judges have life tenure, nearly all of Obama’s judges will continue serving well after he leaves office.
In 2016 as Obama’s presidency was winding down and as the Merrick Garland situation was playing out, Politico wrote that Obama’s confirmed judicial nominees were “already moving American jurisprudence in Obama’s direction”:
Obama has already appointed 329 judges to lifetime jobs, more than one third of the judiciary, and they’re already moving American jurisprudence in Obama’s direction. He got two left-leaning women onto the Court: Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic justice, and Elena Kagan, his former solicitor general. He also flipped the partisan balance of the nation’s 13 courts of appeals; when he took office, only one had a majority of Democratic appointees, and now nine do. Just last week, two Obama appointees to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down some of North Carolina’s strict new election law, calling it a discriminatory effort to stop blacks from voting.
In fact, the Fourth Circuit Court’s transformation alone has been a case study in the liberal legacy left by Obama’s strategic transformations of key courts. So much so that there’s a running but not-so-funny joke among Republicans here in North Carolina that the Fourth has become the de facto state legislature.
This is not far off the mark considering the number of lawsuits related to laws passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly that have made their way to the Fourth Circuit over the years, where Democrats have seen a lot of success with rulings in their favor – like on voter ID laws, on the HB2 “bathroom bill” indirectly via the Gavin Grimm transgender rights case out of Virginia, as well as the ongoing redistricting drama.
If that isn’t evidence enough, the reporting from the New York Times in 1999 on the Fourth Circuit compared to their reporting on it in 2014 just goes to show you how much it changed during the Obama years. For example, in 1999, the paper wrote that the Fourth had become a “model of conservative pursuits.” In 2014, this is what they were reporting:
The imprint of the Obama judges is already being felt. In July, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion declaring Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, the author was an Obama appointee, Henry F. Floyd. That court now has 10 full-time judges appointed by Democratic presidents and five who are Republican appointees. When Mr. Obama took office, the court had a majority of Republican appointees.
Is McConnell at a record-setting pace when it comes to confirming Trump’s judicial nominees? Yes. Is he under any Constitutional obligation to slow the process down a bit in order to appease leftists who have erupted in outrage over McConnell taking full advantage of rules that were put in place under Democratic Senator Harry Reid? Absolutely not.
Nor is the onus on President Trump to nominate judges who are more in line with Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s way of thinking.
The candidate who wins the White House gets to make judicial nominations as president. If that president’s party also controls the Senate, there’s a good chance most of their nominees will be confirmed. If the parties are different, partisan gridlock will ensue. This is how it has worked for decades, and no amount of hurt feelings by Democrats and liberal commentators will change that.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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