There is a lot of criticism of Senate leadership and most of it is highly debatable and arguably undeserved. What is not debatable is that Senate leadership has done a great job confirming President Trump’s judicial nominees. We detailed Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley’s efforts to end the abuse of the blue slip process. As CNBC noted in an important article over the Thanksgiving break entitled "Congress has handed Trump a historic presidential victory":
Grassley correctly noted that Democrats were now trying to use the blue slips tradition to replace the filibuster, and he's having none of that. As recently as last month, the Democrats and much of the news media's punditry were expecting Grassley, who is no fan of the president, to keep the blue slip tradition in place. But Grassley gave Trump this very special gift instead.
Not only has Grassley delivered in the Judiciary Committee but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others have on the Senate floor:
Consider that as of November 3rd, 13 Trump nominees to the courts have been confirmed this year. The big name is Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, but we also have eight new federal appeals court judges, and four new U.S. district court judges. President Trump has now already surpassed the last four presidents' records for first-year judicial confirmations. And he's even tied President Ronald Reagan number of appeals court confirmations in year one.
It must be noted that this was all set in motion by the most partisan of Senate leaders, Democrat Harry Reid:
And that brings us to the Democrat who provided the initial generous source of President Trump's solid triumph: Former Senate Majority Leader, and Democrat, Harry Reid. Reid is a major reason this good fortune has befallen President Trump because Reid was the one who killed the filibuster rule for judicial nominees in 2013. And when he killed it, it was gone for good.
Critics of the Senate and President Trump can’t say this is some Republican abuse of power; it is merely building on what Reid did. Smart political operatives are now starting to realizing the impact and long-term importance of the focus on judicial nominations of Chairman Grassley, Leader McConnell, and President Trump:
But real history is being made in the courts all thanks to a bad bet made by Senator Reid and remarkable cooperation between the Trump team, Senator Grassley, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. While the fights with other senators like Flake et al may grab headlines, these judicial confirmations will have a much bigger impact.