Numerous non-judicial nominees also advanced through other committees, leading to howls from liberal interest groups.
We long have complained about the slow pace of judicial nominees due to Democrat stalling tactics.
Despite the fact that a record number (12) of appeals court nominees were confirmed last year, there remained a serious backlog to fill over 100 vacancies.
Filling these vacancies, and feeding more nominees into the pipeline, is critical to reshaping the judiciary. But the pipeline, as squeezed by Democrats, can only handle so many nominees.
Chuck Grassley and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee finally appear to have had enough, advancing 17 nominees today. The Washington Times reports:
Seventeen of President Trump’s federal court nominees cleared the SenateJudiciary Committee Thursday, setting them up for floor votes as Republicans look to install as many conservative judges as possible.
Eight of the judges were deemed very controversial and were approved on a 11-10 party-line votes, while just two were approved unanimously.
Three of the judges were for circuit courts.
Democrats raised concerns over several of the nominees over their LGBTQ positions, saying they would not be fair to that community.
But Democrats spent the most time protesting Thomas Alvin Farr, who was nominated to be a district judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Mr. Farr was one of the judges receiving a party-line vote.
Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey Democrat, and Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat, who were both new to the Judiciary Committee this year, said Mr. Farr’s connection to former Sen. Jesse Helms’ campaign concerned them, and cited the Congressional Black Caucus’ opposition to the nominee.
The first I learned of the vote today was when I received an emailed press release from a group called the Civil and Human Rights Coalition protesting the vote, Civil and Human Rights Coalition Opposes Continued Effort to Rush Through Unacceptable Judicial, Executive Nominees:
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement today following the Senate Judiciary Committee’s approval of 17 judicial nominees and six executive branch nominees, including Eric Dreiband’s nomination to lead the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice:
“Chairman Grassley and his Republican colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee today continued their troubling pattern of ignoring Senate traditions to rubber stamp President Trump’s extreme and unqualified nominees. Never before has this committee jammed through so many nominees hostile to civil and human rights on a single day. Stuart Kyle Duncan, David Stras, Thomas Farr, Matthew Kacsmaryk, and Mark Norris are too ideologically extreme to serve as neutral arbiters; Charles Goodwin and Holly Teeter were rated Not Qualified to serve as federal judges by the nonpartisan and independent American Bar Association based on work ethic and lack of legal experience, respectively; and Eric Dreiband lacks the commitment to equal justice necessary to lead the federal government’s largest civil rights enforcement office.
This is not a fair process to the new committee members, who have not had a chance to advise on these nominees. These senators deserve better from Chairman Grassley. These rash actions are damaging not just to their rights but to the role that the Senate plays under the Constitution and the important vetting role that the committee has long served on behalf of the entire Senate. Our courts, and our country, deserve better.”
The Leadership Conference has previously called for senators to oppose the confirmations of judicial nominees Stuart Kyle Duncan, David Stras, Thomas Farr, Matthew Kacsmaryk, Mark Norris, Charles Goodwin, and Holly Teeter, as well as Justice Department Civil Rights Division nominee Eric Dreiband.
Although not mentioned by name in the press release, that coalition also opposed the nomination of Kenneth Marcus, who was voted out of the HELP Committee today.
Now Mitch McConnell needs to get these people floor votes. The Democrat tactic of insisting on one-by-one consideration with a full 30 hours of debate needs to be cast aside. A year of Democrats preventing Trump from staffing his administration, and delaying judicial confirmations, is enough.
As pointed out before, the liberal nightmare is that Trump could appoint half federal judiciary.
But that only can happen so long as Republicans control the Senate. While it’s unlikely Democrats can regain control in 2018, it’s not impossible. If that happens, the chance to rescue an institution would evaporate. Every single current and known future judicial vacancy needs to be filled by November 2018.
Hopefully Chuck Grassley and Mitch McConnell are approaching ramming speed on nominees.