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Trump Was Just Delivered Horrible News About His Judicial Nominees

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Since his inauguration back in January of 2017, President Donald Trump has had very few concrete achievements. His bid to overthrow Obamacare was an embarrassing failure. His tax cuts bill was a total disaster. He has hired and fired about a thousand different people from his administration. So, any successes mean a lot and are seized on for all they are worth. Appointing Republican judicial nominees in large numbers is one of the small handful of things that Republicans can point to that has actually happened since this President took office.

The ongoing efforts have been spearheaded by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for which President Trump is surely massively grateful, since they essentially consist of stuffing the courts full of as many people with right wing sympathies as possible. Now, though, poor old McConnell has encountered powerful Democrat Chuck Schumer and hit a major roadblock, which threatens to derail his plans for good. Politico reports:

Approving judicial nominees has been a priority for McConnell, who has won praise from President Donald Trump and conservatives for blocking former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and helping get Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.

The inability to reach an agreement on moving forward with Trump’s nominees represents a setback, though the White House on Wednesday praised the overall confirmation of judges.

“The President is pleased with the historic confirmation of 2 Supreme Court Justices, 30 Appellate and 53 District Court judges in the 115th Congress,” said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley in an emailed statement. “In the 116th Congress, he will continue nominating judges to fill vacancies that will uphold our laws and Constitution.”

The pending judicial nominations will be sent back to the White House, where a majority of them are expected to be re-nominated in the coming days. Following their re-nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee is likely to hold a marathon session in the next few weeks for the nominees who were pending on the Senate floor or waiting for a committee vote, according to George Hartmann, a spokesman for the Senate Judiciary Committee under outgoing Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.). Democrats can delay a scheduled markup by one week.

Of the 70 nominees, 31 were pending on the Senate floor and 21 were waiting on a vote from the Judiciary Committee at the end of the session.

Republicans had tried to move forward on the pending nominations, but the government shutdown combined with Sen. Jeff Flake’s vow to block all judicial nominees until Senate leadership brought legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller to the floor doomed the process. The Senate’s last federal judge confirmation was on Dec. 11, when it voted to confirm Jonathan Kobe to the 8th Circuit.

Despite all the disadvantages of hanging on to a centuries-old method of inefficient, bureaucratic government as we do at the moment, it does have its occasional advantages, such as getting in the way of a Republican takeover of the justice system such as this. Chuck Schumer acted in the national interest here – let’s hope for more of this kind of courageous, forward-thinking approach from Democrats in the future.


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