Today, Ed Whelan posted the four big questions in judicial confirmations for 2020 and answers to the four big questions he posed at the beginning of 2019. The first big question is whether a new Supreme Court vacancy will arise.
Although one did not in 2019, he notes that a nominee for a vacancy that arise this year would likely be confirmed "notwithstanding the ruckus the Left will raise." Looking ahead to 2020, he also asks:Read more
Liberal extremists and some Democrats are always finding reasons to oppose President Trump’s judicial nominees. The reality is they are usually not mad for substantive reasons, but for political or worse reasons. And these extremists won’t tolerate any dissent. For example, as Thomas Jipping writes in Democrats take partisanship against judicial nominees to new level in Trump era:
The judicial confirmation process has gotten so twisted, so fast, that the Left is starting to eat its own. Freshman Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), for example, has already been attacked by progressives for supporting too many Trump judicial nominees. Yet one-third of her judicial confirmation votes this year have been NO.
To put that in perspective, it took the 10 longest-serving senators in American history a combined total of 135 years to cast as many votes against judicial nominees as Sinema has cast in less than one. Still, it’s not enough to satisfy the left.Read more
Many have long believed that Democrats use race as a political weapon, especially against those of a protected class. This has long been part of judicial nominations politics in particular. Form the “high tech lynching” of Clarence Thomas during the George H.W. Bush administration to the fact that Senator Dick Durbin led opposition to Miguel Estrada during the George W. Bush administration for the racist reason that he did not want a Republican to nominate the first Hispanic to be on the Supreme Court. Now comes another test for the Democrats.
Today President Donald Trump nominated the first openly gay person to a federal circuit court, Patrick Bumatay. Bumatay is also a minority and most importantly an outstanding nominee for the Ninth Circuit. His background is very impressive.Read more
Yesterday marked an impressive milestone for the Senate and Trump Administration, the 150th new judge was confirmed during the Trump Administration:
Six district court nominees won confirmation Wednesday, bringing the president’s total number of appointed judges to the lower federal courts to 105. Mr. Trump has also appointed 43 circuit court nominees and two Supreme Court justices since taking office.
The pace has far outdone President Obama, who only saw 20 circuit court nominees and 74 district court judges confirmed during the same period of time. Mr. Obama, though, like Mr. Trump had two Supreme Court appointments within his first three years.Read more
President Trump nominated Steven Menashi to the Second Circuit. In a fair world, Mr. Menashi would breeze through the hearings. The liberal gold standard of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the American Bar Association, rated him “well qualified.” His personal background is also inspiring. Menashi’s paternal grandparents were Iraqi Jews, living in Baghdad, before moving to Tehran and then finding a home in Israel. His grandmother survived the Farhud, a violent pogrom against the Jewish community of Baghdad in 1941, by fleeing the city for the countryside. Menashi’s grandfather fled Ukraine for the United States at age 16 and his maternal grandmother’s family emigrated from Lithuania.Read more
After the hotly contested election in 2000, Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the bipartisan Help America Vote Act ("HAVA"). HAVA was a response to the chaos of the 2000 Florida recount. HAVA was not perfect but it represented a good faith effort on all sides to come together and passed 357-48 in the House and 92-2 in the Senate. This should be the way all election reform is done. Unfortunately, it is not true anymore.Read more
Joe Biden's announcement that he is running for President was unique in that the prelude included several apologies or near apologies for his behavior toward women. Among those apologies was one to Anita Hill, who falsely accused Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. As former Associate White House Counsel Mark Paoletta wrote a few years back when the Hill-Thomas subject was being brought up in relation to the Bill Cosby and Roger Ailes matters:Read more
Thanks to the leadership of Senator James Lankford and Leader Mitch McConnell, efficiency and order have been restored to the U.S. Senate. Their resolve to move past the Democrats’ partisan obstruction is now allowing the Senate to fill judicial vacancies in a timely manner and equip federal courts to be fully operational and serve the American people.Read more
Under the leadership of Senators Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham, James Lankford, and Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans have been confirming judges at record pace. Democrats have not tried to substantively oppose most nominees (maybe because they are so well qualified) but have attempted to use obscure Senate procedures to do so. An example was the “cloture rule:”
This involves Rule 22, which provides a time consuming process to end debate, a necessary step before the Senate can vote on confirmation. Under Rule 22, even when the Senate votes to end debate, there can be up to 30 more hours of consideration. In the past, the minority party cooperated to informally schedule a final confirmation vote. Today, Democrats will not cooperate on anything, forcing the Senate to use this drawn out process for nearly every nomination, including those with no actual opposition.
The Senate has taken six times as many of these unnecessary cloture votes as during the same period under the previous nine presidents combined. You read that right. Even though the Senate votes to end debate every time, Democrats insist that the clock keep running for those 30 hours of debate after cloture. Even worse, they almost never spend time on the Senate floor actually debating these nominations.Read more