Just after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats agreed to confirm 15 federal judicial nominees in exchange for Mitch McConnell putting the Senate in recess so that vulnerable Senate Democrats could return home to campaign. But now, the Senate Judiciary Committee has made an unprecedented move during that recess, infuriating the Democrats who agreed to it in the first place.
As President Donald Trump campaigned for the White House in 2016, conservatives asserted that the most important reason to elect him instead of Hillary Clinton was because at least two Supreme Court justices would be retiring during the next president’s term, giving either Clinton the chance to make the highest court in the land a panel of liberal activist judges or Trump the opportunity to appoint decidedly conservative justices who would uphold the values enshrined in our constitution.
Now, we are seeing the fruits of our grassroots efforts to get Trump elected. Not only has he put two new judges on the Supreme Court, but he has appointed a vast number of judicial nominees to federal courts nationwide, meaning that our entire judicial system is taking a conservative turn which will last for a lifetime.
Just after Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats agreed to confirm 15 federal judicial nominees in exchange for Mitch McConnell putting the Senate in recess so that vulnerable Senate Democrats could return home to campaign.
The Senate approved a package of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees Thursday, notching another 15 confirmations just days after Justice Brett Kavanaugh was installed on the U.S. Supreme Court.
The confirmations came as half a dozen Democratic lawmakers, particularly those in red states, were pressed to return home to defend their Senate seats for the final stretch before the November midterm elections.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seized on the opportunity and made Democrats an offer: let the Senate adjourn until after the election, provided Democrats don’t force the full 30 hours of debate allowed for each nominee.
Democratic leaders were left at an impasse: They could keep their caucus in the Capitol to oppose the nominees — effectively ceding the campaign trail to Republican challengers — or confirm Trump’s judges briskly and risk alienating their supporters. [Source: The Daily Caller]
The Democrats elected for the latter, to the relief of vulnerable senators who said the nominees would have been confirmed before the election anyway. “If we stayed here for two or three weeks, we’d probably have done the same thing,” Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana told Politico. “I think it’s good.”
But, if Democrats thought the Senate recess would be a time when Republicans would halt the judicial confirmation train altogether, they were sorely mistaken.
As Legal Insurrection reports, before you can get to a floor vote, you need a Committee vote. And, before you can get a Committee vote, you need a Committee hearing. So, the Senate Judiciary Committee has continued to hold hearings on nominees, lining up more Committee votes for just after the midterms.
To say that the Democrats and their cronies in the media are livid would be quite the understatement. NPR’s Nina Totenberg lamented:
… And now, for the first time, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings during a Senate recess, over the objections of the minority party.
No other Senate committee has been holding hearings during the current recess. But for judicial nominees, the Senate confirmation train keeps on running — even though, and likely because, Senate Democrats can’t be there. The Democrats and allied independents are defending 26 seats in next month’s elections and have to campaign during the final weeks before the midterms.
This week, just two senators — Republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is retiring, and Mike Crapo of Idaho — showed up at the hearing for two appeals court nominees. The senators excused the nominees after just 19 minutes, several minutes of which were consumed by one controversial nominee talking about his wife, parents, children and even his cat.
Hatch, who chaired the Judiciary Committee for eight years, never held a recess hearing for a federal judge nominee. When asked this week why Republicans went ahead this time, he said, “We have to move ahead, and if they’re not cooperating, you just go ahead.”
The Huffington Post’s Jennifer Bendery was equally perturbed:
Not a single Democrat could attend either hearing. Only one other Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), was present. That means, between those two hearings, that three of Trump’s circuit court nominees and seven of his district court nominees sailed through without any real questions. The committee will likely vote to advance their nominations sometime after the elections….
As for all the Democrat complaining, though, it should be noted that no one is stopping them from attending these hearings and asking questions. But, apparently, winning re-election is more important to them than actually doing the jobs they were elected to do in the first place.