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
Yesterday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a resolution condemning the House Democrats' failure to follow standard procedures and precedents in their "impeachment inquiry" against President Trump. The resolution called for the House to accord the President basic, constitutional due process protections. As of today, there are fifty co-sponsors for the resolution.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
“History will be kind to me because I intend to write it” is often ascribed to Winston Churchill. Justice Brett Kavanaugh could do little better in presenting his case for history than this after-action report by Hemingway, a reporter for the Federalist and Severino, a former Thomas clerk and a participant in many of the judicial wars through her work at the Judicial Crisis Network. Justice on Trial is chock-a-block with small, telling vignettes that only a participant or someone with impeccable sources could obtain. For instance, Justice Kavanaugh’s suits being temporarily stored in a neighborhood kid’s treehouse and retrieved for him by the kid to avoid a hostile, untiring, and intrusive press siege of his house. Similarly, the image of Senator Ted Cruz booming out “Treason!” in imitation of what the Democrats were likely to confront Justice Kavanaugh with will stick with the reader.Read more
Last Friday, the RNLA hosted its 19th annual National Policy Conference, featuring 2019 Ed Meese III Award winner Senator Lindsey Graham, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, former Independent Counsel Ken Starr, 2019 Betty Murphy Award winner Mike Davis, and many legal experts speaking on panels. The conference focused on Deregulation and the Administrative State, highlighting what Republicans are doing at the federal level under President Trump and the state level to ease regulatory burdens. C-SPAN broadcast the morning sessions, and video can be watched here.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
Today, Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s replacement on the D.C. Circuit, Neomi Rao, was confirmed. This was yet another “victory” in the effort to confirm great judges and justices. The results are starting to show.Read more
Today, at the end of a long executive business meeting, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to report favorably the nominations of William Barr to be Attorney General and 44 judicial nominees, including circuit court nominees Bridget S. Bade (Ninth Circuit), Paul B. Matey (Third Circuit), Eric D. Miller (Ninth Circuit), Eric E. Murphy (Sixth Circuit), Chad A. Readler (Sixth Circuit), and Allison Jones Rushing (Fourth Circuit). The judicial nominees had previously had hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee but were held up by Democrats' delays and obstructions, so they had to be re-nominated by President Trump in this Congress.Read more
When the 116th Congress started last Thursday, all pending nominations from the 115th Congress were sent back to the White House and the nominees will need to be renominated to be considered for confirmation by the new Senate. The hundreds of nominations sent back to the White House included a record number of judicial nominees, due to Democrats' delay and obstruction. Tom Jipping of the Heritage Foundation described the problem and the Democrats' tactics: