During the 115th Congress, President Donald Trump, former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley have had great accomplishments regarding the appointment of conservative judges. There have been 85 new federal judges confirmed, including Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, 30 circuit court judges, and 53 district court judges. Despite these accomplishments, Senate Democrats continue their obstruction by holding up the confirmation of six more circuit court judges and 48 district court nominees.
Today, as the clock ticks down to a possible government shut down and the end of the 115th Congress, Senate Democrats refuse to agree to the customary year-end package of judicial nominees. During the 113th Congress, in which the Democrats controlled the White House and the Senate, the Senate confirmed 115 of President Obama’s judicial nominees. Of those, 17 were confirmed by a voice vote (agreed to by the Republicans) in the last two weeks of 2014.
Of course, the same respect could not be expected from the Democrats. In these closing days of 2018 and the 115th Congress, the Democrats have continued their obstruction in three ways:
First, Democrats have forced the Senate to take a separate vote to invoke cloture, or end debate, on 48 judicial nominees. That’s nearly ten times more than during the first two years of the previous nine newly elected presidents combined.
Second, Democrats have forced the Senate to take a formal roll-call vote to confirm a higher percentage of judicial nominees from Trump than from any new president in history. . . . Rather than confirm nominees by a voice vote that takes about 30 seconds and does not require the presence of senators, the Senate must use a roll-call vote that takes about 35 minutes and requires that all senators show up.
Third, Democrats have opposed Trump’s judicial nominees far more than any president in history. In fact, 46 Trump nominees received negative confirmation votes, compared to 45 nominees during the first two years of the previous 23 newly elected presidents combined. That’s going back to before Abraham Lincoln.
If the three ways above do not outline how the Democrats have been obstructionist, then one more point might:
Trump’s 85 judges received more total negative votes for confirmation than all 2,653 judges confirmed during the entire 20th century combined.
It is unfortunate that the Senate Democrats would rather listen to left-wing interest groups and continue their obstructionist ways, than to keep with the tradition of respect and order of the Senate, which the Senate Republicans showed their colleagues across the aisle in 2014.
Looking at the 2019 judicial outlook, President Trump will continue to have an opportunity to reshape the judiciary by the appointment of conservative judges, resulting in a dramatic shift of several circuit courts. (This article in places inappropriately labels non-partisan judges as Republicans and Democrats, instead of only labeling them according to the president who appointed them.)
The Second, Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Circuits, whose territory ranges from Vermont to Florida, could all soon have a majority of Republican appointees.
Even the Ninth Circuit, which has stymied Trump’s orders on immigration and environmental policies, is within striking distance of flipping its seats to a majority of Republican appointees.
. . .
[F]lipping the ratio of Republicans to Democrats at the appellate level could have a significant and long-lasting effect on the interpretation of federal law.
As the 116th Congress begins January 3rd, it brings a great opportunity for Senate Republicans, as they have a greater majority in the Senate. Regarding the Senate’s commitment to confirming more conservative judges, incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham said:
I will push for the appointment and Senate confirmation of highly qualified conservative judges to the federal bench . . . .
Thank you, President Trump, Mr. McGahn, Leader McConnell, and Chairman Grassley, for prioritizing the selection, nomination, and confirmation of judges who respect the rule of law.