McConnell Vows To Keep Confirming Judges Right Up Until January

McConnell Vows To Keep Confirming Judges Right Up Until January

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) vowed Friday that he would continue his full-court press to remake the judiciary up until January 3, when Democrats may take over the Senate, depending on the outcome of next week’s election.

“We’re going to run through the tape. We go through the end of the year, and so does the President,” McConnell told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “We’re going to fill the 7th Circuit. And I’m hoping we have time to fill the 1st Circuit as well.”

The seat on the 7th Circuit opened when Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett was elevated to the high court.

McConnell is clearly, and unsurprisingly, dispensing with the Thurmond rule, an unwritten practice for the Senate to stop confirming a President’s nominees to the federal judiciary at some point during an election year.

“We’re going to clean the plate, clean all the district judges off as well,” McConnell said.

After years of blocking President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, including, famously, his Supreme Court nominee, McConnell has gleefully rammed through rafts of judges at all levels. He has said that he considers his efforts in remaking the federal judiciary his greatest legacy.

He carried the same philosophy into the Barrett’s confirmation, sprinting it through no matter the previous rationale he deployed to block Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland: that it was too close to the election. Garland was nominated 237 days before the 2016 election; Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death left her seat open a mere 46 days before this one.

“A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election,” McConnell said on the Senate floor just before Barrett’s confirmation. “They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

The calls for Democrats to expand both the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary — should former Vice President Joe Biden win the White House and Democrats take the Senate — have been growing louder since Ginsberg’s death. Many in the party are incensed at McConnell’s hijacking of the judiciary, and Democratic senators spent the Barrett hearings pounding the alarm on the now-even more present risks to the Affordable Care Act, abortion access and LGBTQ rights.

Biden announced that, as President, he would stand up a blue ribbon commission to examine the court expansion question. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that “nothing is off the table.”

4 thoughts on “McConnell Vows To Keep Confirming Judges Right Up Until January

  • Scottie, McConnell will use every minute to further his cause. It has always been such. Now, if he falls into a minority position, he will argue how his replacement is doing the same thing. The people of Kentucky need to send this poster child for partisanship home. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Keith. I remember when Republicans became the minority the last time. All of a sudden they were crying big tears and demanding that the Democrats not do the very things the Republicans were cheerfully doing to steamroll and investigate the Democrats. In other words the Republicans claim there are two different rules. One for when they are in power and they can do all the dirty trick and ignore the niceties, and one for when they are in the minority and the Democrats are to play nice and treat Republicans as equals. Not this time. If the Democrats fall for that they deserve to lose the midterm elections. We have seen this game used against us repeatedly. Hugs


  • Scottie, you are mixing two points. First, the so-called Thurmond Rule (or is it the Biden Rule), namely that Presidents shouldn’t fill SCOTUS vacancies in the final year of a President’s final term. But that has zero to do with filling lower court nominees. Just check recent history.

    During the 2014 lame duck, Dems confirmed 27 nominees to the district cts, including 2 of Obama’s most controversial nominees with 45 and 46 negative votes each.

    During the 2010 lame duck, the Judiciary Comm held a confirm hearing in Nov, and the Senate confirmed judicial nominees until Dec 22. The 19 judges confirmed in Dec included 5 to the circuit cts and 2 more highly controversial nominees to the district cts.

    The classic example is Breyer’s confirmation to the 1st circuit ct. AFTER Carter lost his 1980 re-election, he nominated Breyer on Nov 13 and the Senate confirmed him on Dec 9. All during the lame duck. Aren’t you pleased with the result???


    • Hello Joey. Welcome to my Toy Box.

      The Thurmond Rule — an unwritten rule, not legally binding — holds that a judicial nominee should not be confirmed in the months leading up to an election. It has its origins in June 1968, when Senator Strom Thurmond, Republican of South Carolina, blocked President Lyndon B. Johnson’s appointment of Justice Abe Fortas as chief justice.
      It is not an actual rule, which means there is no way to adjudicate how close to an election it applies, or whether it applies at all. In June 2012, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a Republican and the majority leader, invoked it to block President Obama’s nominations to circuit courts. In December 2015, Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, argued that the rule was invalid.

      A 2012 study by the Brookings Institution showed that the pace of judicial nominations and confirmations slowed, but did not stop, in four previous election years.

      Notice when followed the rule applies to all nominees, when followed. It seems it is only really a talking point and is used or disregarded by whatever party has control of the Senate. So the idea it is only to be applied to SCOTUS nominees is incorrect.

      I reread the article to make sure I had not misconstrued the point. I did not. McConnell is not going to have the decency to stop putting nominees on the courts even during an election where it looks like a landslide for the other party and knowing these judges are unacceptable to that party. He doesn’t care, he is not interested in decency or fair play, and would be the first to scream and yell if it was being done by the Democrats. He has no shame. This is simply a power grab by a minority party that has been losing numbers and needs to cheat to win elections. McConnell said so himself.

      “This is something to really be proud of and feel good about,” McConnell said of Barrett’s confirmation. “We made an important contribution to the future of this country. A lot of what we have done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. It won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

      In the act of packing all the courts he has destroyed the process and damned the judiciary of the country. Hugs


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