Senate Democrats blast GOP for federal court stacking scheme


The Washington Times reports, Senate Democrats blast Trump’s judicial confirmations, cite lack of vetting and diversity:

The ten Democrats on the SenateJudiciary Committee released a 60 page report Thursday blasting Republicans for their rush to confirm “right-wing ideological nominees” with little vetting.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the committee’s ranking member, said President Trump has had more circuit court nominees confirmed in his first 328 days in office than any other president since the circuit court system was created in 1891.

Mr. Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, have vocalized their commitment to filling the federal bench, which had an unprecedented amount of vacancies when Mr. Trump took office.

The reason for this is the Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell, engaging in the unprecedented and unconstitutional “blockade” of President Obama’s judicial nominees, including his nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland. Republicans falsely claimed this was the “Biden Rule,” In Context: The ‘Biden Rule’ on Supreme Court nominations in an election year. It was in actuality an unconstitutional abuse of power by Sen. Mitch McConnell.

“Sustained efforts by Senate Republicans to block President Obama’s judicial nominees were intended to hold seats open for a Republican president,” the report read.

The research revealed the GOP-led Senate handed Mr. Trump 112 vacancies on his first day, which represents 12 percent of the entire federal judiciary. President Obama, in contrast, had 53 vacancies when he entered office.
It revealed the Republican majority held open 18 seats on the federal bench during Mr. Obama’s term, six for circuit courts and 12 were for district court slots.

According to the Democrats, Mr. Trump’s nominees are also getting confirmed eight times faster than Mr. Obama’s nominees were, bucking complaints from Republicans that they’re slow-walking the judicial picks by filibustering to eat up floor time.

The report also blasts Senate Republicans for not honoring the blue slip tradition, which allows senators from the home state of a nominee to signifying acquiescence in the confirmation.

On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing for a nominee to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Ryan Bounds, without either senator from Oregon returning a blue slip.

It also found only 11 percent of the president’s circuit court picks are people of color, while just 19 percent are women.

According to the report, Mr. Trump had five judicial nominees not renominated after the Senate returned from its winter recess, and three of those nominees had troubling commentary, which raised concerns over their impartiality if confirmed.

“While these nominees were never confirmed, they are emblematic of the types of nominees President Trump is choosing,” the report read.

Politico adds, Trump’s judges, U.S. attorneys overwhelmingly white men:

President Donald Trump’s picks for top prosecutors and judges are overwhelmingly white men, according to an analysis released by Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The report slams Trump for what the Democrats describe as a “degradation of the judicial nominations process, the lack of diversity among President Trump’s nominees, and this administration’s commitment to nominate ideological, often-unqualified candidates.”

The report found that just 8 percent of Trump’s nominees for U.S. attorney positions are women, and just 8 percent are people of color. The report found a similar, if slightly less stark, trend when it comes to judgeships: 25 percent of Trump’s district court nominees and 19 percent of his circuit court nominees are women; 8 percent of Trump’s district court nominees and 11 percent of his circuit court nominees are people of color.

The report contrasts the numbers with President Barack Obama, who made diversity in the judiciary a priority. In Obama’s first year, 42 percent of his judicial nominees were women and 52 percent were people of color.

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“President Trump’s first 15 circuit court nominees took an average of 131 days to be confirmed. In contrast, President Obama’s first 15 circuit court nominees took an average of 254 days to be confirmed — more than twice as long,” the report states.

“On average, President Trump’s first 15 circuit court nominees waited just 20 days from approval by the Judiciary Committee to confirmation on the floor. On average, President Obama’s first 15 circuit court nominees waited 167 days from approval by the Judiciary Committee to confirmation on the floor — eight times longer than President Trump’s nominees.”

Conservative activists made a reshaping of the judiciary — and especially filling Antonin Scalia’s vacancy on the Supreme Court — a crucial element in the argument in favor of electing Trump. Trump has kept up his end of the bargain with alacrity, making judicial nominations a central part of his agenda on Capitol Hill, and McConnell has used the reshaping of the courts to help maintain unity within his occasionally fractured conference.

Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense Fund president and director-counsel, talks to Ari Melber of MSNBC about how the Republican rush to fill the federal judge positions, many of which they slow walked under Barack Obama, means important vetting of candidates is not taking place even where extreme ideologies are apparent. Video Link. Several of these nominees are wholly unqualified.

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