Democrats Need to Vigorously Oppose McConnell on Rushed Senate Confirmation of 19 Right-Wing Judges

July 31st 2019

 
US Court House ( vagueonthehow )

US Court House (vagueonthehow)

By Jake Johnson

Common Dreams

Democrats are facing pressure to do everything in their power to fight back as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moves to ram through 19 of President Donald Trump's right-wing judicial nominees before the chamber breaks for recess at the end of the week.

The Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday confirmed two of Trump's lifetime appointees—Michael Liburdi and Peter Welte—without much difficulty.

Welte, Trump's pick for the U.S. District Court of North Dakota, was confirmed with the support of 18 Democratic senators.

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) were the only Democrats to vote yes on Liburdi, a member of the right-wing Federalist Society.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights pointed out on Twitter that both Liburdi and Welte refused to say Brown v. Board of Education—the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ruled racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional—was correctly decided.

By invoking the so-called "nuclear option" earlier this year, McConnell set the stage for rapid confirmation of Trump's judicial nominees, who are overwhelmingly young and have the potential to reshape the nation's courts for decades to come.

The "nuclear option" is a rule change that slashes debate time on lower-level judicial nominees from 30 hours to just two hours.

"McConnell confirmed only 18 Obama district judges in two years. Now, he wants to confirm 19 Trump district judges in one week," tweeted Christopher Kang, chief counsel for progressive advocacy group Demand Justice. "This is only possible because Republicans went nuclear and changed the Senate rules."

"Democrats must insist on every vote," said Kang, "and oppose this takeover."

According to Bloomberg Law, it is "unclear whether the Republican-led chamber will get through the entire batch of Donald Trump nominees before breaking on Thursday for its August recess, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he wants to clear a significant number of them."

"The Senate has set an aggressive pace for fulfilling Trump’s campaign promise to appoint conservative judges," Bloomberg Law reported Monday, "so far clearing 43 appeals court judges, 86 district court judges, and Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court."

Kristine Lucius, executive vice president for policy and government affairs at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement Tuesday that "McConnell's flagrant move to clear the deck before the Senate leaves for recess would bring Trump's total to 150 judicial appointments."

"The agenda is clear: transform the courts as quickly as possible to achieve through the courts what Senate Republicans cannot accomplish legislatively," Lucius said. "Senators must put an end to this blatant disrespect to our judicial system, traditions, and democracy. They must demand that each nomination receives a roll call vote, so the public knows where their senators stand."

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