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Somber MSNBC Panel Hits Panic Button Over the McConnell-Trump Judicial Confirmation Record

Somber MSNBC Panel Hits Panic Button Over the McConnell-Trump Judicial Confirmation Record

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.”

There was a lot of phony media reporting this week about how Democrats were supposedly treating their impeachment of President Trump as a “somber” moment in American history.

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.

Of particular annoyance and frustration to liberals like Velshi, Ruhle, and McLaughlin is the fact McConnell has done all this in the midst of the left’s obsession with impeaching President Trump.

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. —


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The big picture here is the destruction, by the Democrats, of one of the stabilizing influences on the system. When Judgeships were hard fought battles, the outcome was largely going to be centrist judges with only a limited number of major deviations either left or right.

The Democrats removed the barriers to extremist judges and this has the long term effect of making the courts less predictable and less of a voice of sanity and compromise in the fights between the Executive and Legislative branches.

I don’t think there is any way to go back though. When historians write of the fall of the American Empire in centuries to come (and they inevitably will), I think this be noted as a factor.

With a conservative record, a return to the center.

Let me simply observe that any justice system that can be so politically manipulated as this does not deserve to be called “just”.

Not Hillary
Everything else is gravy

Correction, para #3: “the NUMBER of Trump-nominated judges,“ not “the amount of Trump-nominated judges.“

I don’t think there has been anything as destabilizing to the country as Obama Judges. Roberts may want to hide his head in the sand, but this cadre of leftist judicial tyrants have basically assumed the roles of the President, Governors and legislators in every judicial circuit, seemingly ignoring SCOTUS and Circuit guidance and each one proclaiming himself a judge for the entire nation. And do not think for a second they do not conspire among themselves during deliberation.

“literally hoping Ruth Bader Ginsburg survives.”
She is almost gone.
I doubt anyone is counting how much longer she will live in ‘years’. The unit of measure would be ‘months’ at this point.
Anyone knows the over/under?

    Edward in reply to Exiliado. | December 23, 2019 at 12:33 am

    I don’t wish she would die. I just wish she would retire to enjoy what life is left to her. Other comments worthy of Leftist trolls (without the obscenities or improbable sexual suggestions) deleted before posting.

      The_Mew_Cat in reply to Edward. | December 28, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      I think she is enjoying the only thing she enjoys – being a Supreme Court Justice. That is the only thing keeping her going. If she retired, she would probably die immediately, and then disintegrate to dust as everyone watched just like a Jedi Master or Sith Lord.

      And nobody can really predict when anyone dies. Actuarial tables say RBG is the most likely to be next, but anyone can die at any time.

That is why we need four more years of Trump.

    And while we are at it four more years to develop a worthy successor to President Trump. If we wind up with a return to the good old boy Republican establishment types the country is lost.

In the last presidential election my straight Republican vote was weighted by the very dynamics of constitional Judicial appointments. It will be again. The rest as in the economy has been frosting on the cake ?

    franciscodanconia in reply to Another Voice. | December 24, 2019 at 7:58 am

    Agreed, and I like the big picture approach, myself.

    If the economy were truly booming, we’d be adding 300K-400K jobs per month, but what we’ve had under Trump I’ll take.

    I work in manufacturing, I haven’t seen it this stable in years. Under the tyrannical Obama Regime manufacturing shrunk, and was in the dumps.

Well, an attack through the federal judiciary is one way to implement Barry’s fundamental transformation of the country.

Just another indication that our judiciary is far too powerful, no matter who controls it. Far too much fundamental federal policy is now decided by an unelected oligarchy. At the very least, Lord Acton’s famous aphorism hints that we really should do something about this, no matter who’s picking the judges.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to tom_swift. | December 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    (2 of 2, the governance)

    The Lightbringer’s judicial sweep, and The Orange Crush’s counter are both two-pronged: policies, but also protocols and scope of judicial rule.

    “Constructionist” or similar judges, speaks to their notions of *how* decisions are made, and *the scope* of judicial authoritah.

    If the anti-people weren’t advancing their agenda by *also* expanding the scope, autonomy, and justifications for judicial fiat, their prior work wouldn’t be at such risk.

    Myself, I’d really enjoy hearing The Supremes say flat out, what they increasingly hint at: “You wanna do that, pass a law.”

(1 of 2: the politics)

Chucky n the Screaming-D’s decided to nuke the rules, because they’re all about declaring the rules, not working the game on the field.

Then The Murder-Turtle and an actual ex-executive are using the new rules to staff up. Gotta put people in jobs or nothing happens.

Poor Chuck-y. It sucks when you’re deling with people willing to actually do the work. You might have to get on the field and get muddy yourself.

Production note: Calling your retread boy band “The Screaming D’s” doesn’t make them punk now. If you have to tell people: you ain’t.

CJ Roberts last year or so made the statement: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Mr. Roberts said . “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”

The problem is that the Judges thought he was talking to the Country when in fact he was talking to them.

Roberts forgets the duck rule. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

On Garland, one of the options of advise and consent is to ignore. Just ask your teenager to do something they don’t want to do.

    J Motes in reply to freddy33. | December 22, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    Saw it on YouTube this morning: Collyer is resigning from the FISC/FISA Court and Roberts has already announced a replacement — A Democrat whose name I did not recognize. What are the chances that a Democrat judge will clean up the FISC/FISA bad practices? Why didn’t Roberts nominate a Republican?

      freddy33 in reply to J Motes. | December 22, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      They used to say the Souter was the worst modern appointment by a modern republican president. I think Roberts has taken the prize. The Bushes did a really poor job of selecting SCOTUS justices.

        artichoke in reply to freddy33. | December 22, 2019 at 10:22 pm

        They were radical leftists.

        Edward in reply to freddy33. | December 23, 2019 at 12:40 am

        Nope. The General of the Armies nominating the Governor of California as Chief Justice was the worst nomination to the SCOTUS in modern history.

        For those in Rio Linda that would be GEN Dwight Eisenhower and Gov. Earl Warren, respectively.

You MSNBC axeholes are the saddest bunch of axeholes on the air. With Scarborough and that dimwit Mike along with “Tingle up my leg,” and others you are freaking hilarious. You all must practice every day the art of being an axehole!~

This is why I’m not particularly fussed by Pelosi’s bwawking and sitting on the impeachment articles like a brooding hen. Cocaine Mitch can fill the time confirming Trump’s judicial picks while she dithers.

    artichoke in reply to Alex deWynter. | December 22, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    I hope so. But we’re arguably in a legal twilight zone. The Constitution says Trump can nominate federal judges “except in cases of impeachment”.

    Is this a case of impeachment, where she’s sitting on putative articles of impeachment that she is not transmitting to the Senate?

      “”The Constitution says Trump can nominate federal judges “except in cases of impeachment”.””

      No it doesn’t. It says that he can pardon people, except in cases of impeachment. It has nothing to do with appointments.

        Edward in reply to txvet2. | December 23, 2019 at 12:42 am

        Bingo. And thanks for proving that it is better to do the research instead of accepting what someone on the Web (or worse yet facebook) writes.

        Milhouse in reply to txvet2. | December 23, 2019 at 1:41 am

        And even that doesn’t mean he can’t pardon people while he’s impeached. It just means he can’t get someone out of impeachment by pardoning them.

1 in 4 is not bad but let me know when its 1 in 2.