President Trump has started 2019 by continuing his success of nominating excellent, well-qualified judges. This was the first major test of new White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and he has passed with flying colors.
Ms. Feinstein and the White House counsel’s office have been pen pals on this for some time. In a November letter to new White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Ms. Feinstein and Ms. Harris requested “that the White House work with us to reach an agreement on a consensus package of nominees.” The Democrats want to pick one name from the White House list, one from their own, and a third consensus nominee.
Why Mr. Cipollone or the President would agree to this or any other deal with these Senators is a mystery. The hope seems to be that a White House concession would somehow produce less resistance to Mr. Trump’s nominees. And this would be useful if the President gets the chance to replace, say, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
It’s hard to believe someone could think this is plausible. Ms. Harris is running for President and will oppose any Trump nominee to the High Court. Ms. Feinstein was once more reasonable, but she and Ms. Harris were two of the worst mudslingers on the Judiciary Committee that smeared Brett Kavanaugh.
A concession to them now on nominees would rightly be seen as political weakness. It would concede influence that neither Senator has earned and set a precedent for other Democrats who would demand similar consideration. The result would be nominees who aren’t nearly as qualified, or as originalist in their thinking, as Mr. Trump’s nominees have been.
The Editorial Board concluded by clearly declaring and cautioning:
Consulting Senators on judicial nominees from their home state is a courtesy, not a right. It hails from a day when most Senators operated in good faith, unlike today. Democrats are trying to cajole White House concessions now because they know it will be harder to defeat nominees with 53 GOP Senators.
Remaking the federal judiciary may be the only thing a Republican Senate can accomplish in divided government. The White House shouldn’t water down the quality of its nominees to please Democrats who won’t be helpful when their votes are really needed.
The worry of the WSJ Editorial Board thankfully turned out to be a non-issue. Late yesterday, President Trump nominated great, well-qualified conservative judges for the Ninth Circuit. Chairman Lindsey Graham of the Senate Judiciary Committee praised their selection in a statement:
“I’m very supportive of the nominees submitted by President Trump to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. These are highly qualified nominees and I am hopeful they will receive wide bipartisan support,” Graham said. “These nominations continue a trend by the Trump Administration of selecting highly qualified men and women to serve on the federal bench.”
Ed Whelan of Ethics and Public Policy Center praise these latest nominations in the National Review today:
Amidst concerns that many of us had that the White House was striking a bad deal with California’s Democratic senators, I am delighted to report that President Trump has announced an outstanding slate of Ninth Circuit nominees to three vacancies in California. Specifically, the president will renominate Daniel P. Collins and Kenneth K. Lee, and he will nominate Daniel A. Bress…
The RNLA will keep tabs regarding President Trump's judicial nominations and confirmation progress and continue to give regular updates.