Look, Iowa caucus debacle! Look, Bernie v. Mayor Pete v. Amy for America in New Hampshire. Look, Biden has fled to South Carolina, his campaign graveyard, I mean, firewall.

There you (and we) go again, chasing the media squirrel.

While you were focused on all that, Mitch McConnell continued ramming through Trump federal judicial nominees.

What are we up to, 192? Don’t blink or the number will change. The transformation of the judiciary will be Trump’s long-lasting legacy.

Minutes, yes minutes, after Trump was acquitted in the impeachment trial, McConnell set up for a vote 5 more judicial nominee votes:

Minutes after the historic votes on Wednesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) filed motions to invoke cloture, or end debate, on five nominees, including Andrew Brasher to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The Republican-led chamber will start with Brasher on Feb. 10 before moving on to four district court nominees….

The four district nominees are for courts in both red states—Alaska and Missouri—and blue states—Illinois and New York. The Senate has been slow to confirm Trump nominees with two Democratic senators.

You know how that ended, don’t you? All five were confirmed this week.

The most important was Brasher’s confirmation to the 11th Circuit, bringing that Circuit even in terms of judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans. The Democrat-media fear-mongering about Brasher was intense, Trump is elevating judges who could gut the Voting Rights Act:

Fresh from handing President Trump a victory in his impeachment trial, the U.S. Senate has moved to install federal judges who have expressed disdain for the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 law that struck down rules across the South that kept African-Americans from the ballot box.

Overturning voting-rights protections tends to benefit Republicans, who have said states, not the federal government, should decide the particulars of how elections are conducted. Some scholars even believe that weakening the Voting Rights Act ahead of the 2016 election helped Trump win the presidency.

The first of those nominees, Andrew L. Brasher, 38, was formerly the solicitor general of Alabama, a position that allowed him to stake out conservative stances on issues from gun control to reproductive rights. He was confirmed to an Alabama district court last year and, in a rapid elevation, was nominated only months later for a seat on the 11th Circuit court of appeals, which is based in Atlanta. Despite intense opposition by progressive groups, Brasher was confirmed by the full Senate on Feb. 11 in a 52-43 vote.

This was a baseless smear against Brasher. Carrie Severino noted on Twitter Brasher’s top-notch qualifications:

Congratulations to Andrew Brasher on his confirmation to the Eleventh Circuit. Brasher is rich in experience, having already served as a federal district judge, solicitor general, and deputy solicitor general in Alabama.

As an appellate advocate, Judge Brasher argued three times before the Supreme Court and seventeen times before the Eleventh Circuit. Today he also joins his former boss, Judge Bill Pryor, as a colleague on that court.

Yet despite Brasher’s impressive credentials and experience, the left persists in its sad and tiresome smear campaign against President Trump’s outstanding nominees. Thankfully the Senate once again saw through the baseless smears and voted to confirm a great judge.

The four district court nominees also were confirmed:

The U.S. Senate confirmed four of President Donald Trump’s nominees for federal district courts in Alaska, Missouri, Illinois, and New York, adding to the president’s efforts to reshape the federal judiciary.

Action by the Republican-led Senate brought Trump’s total confirmed district court judges to 137. They follow the confirmation of Andrew Brasher on Tuesday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which raised the total of Trump appointees to those courts to 51. Already more than a quarter of the judges at that level were tapped by Trump.

The newly confirmed district court appointees are Joshua M. Kindred, to the District of Alaska; Matthew Thomas Schelp, to the Eastern District of Missouri; John Fitzgerald Kness, to the Northern District of Illinois; and Philip M. Halpern, to the Southern District of New York.

Three more district court nominees breezed through their Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings.

A hot media topic is that Trump-McConnell are running out of district court vacancies to fill in states in which there is at least one Republican Senator. Since Lindsey Graham on the Judiciary Committee is continuing the policy of honoring ‘blue slips’ for district courts (but not appeals courts), Democrats could slow down judicial appointments in blue states:

Almost 84% of the nearly 80 current and expected district court vacancies are in states with at least one Democratic senator and fully 53 are in blue states, or states with two Democratic senators, according to Bloomberg Law analysis of Federal Judicial Center data.

That means this year—an election year when there’s already much less time to get things done in the bitterly divided chamber with a third of seats up for election in November—the White House will have to work with Democratic senators to get judges confirmed that they can agree on or possibly accept a lower yield on one of Trump’s most successful priorities.

Mitch will cross that bridge when he gets to it.

So while you were focused on New Hampshire, … well, you know, this is now a series:

 

 
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