Anything but Weekends With Mitch
While you were watching other news, the U.S. Senate this week made major progress confirming judges. Credit goes to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who threatened to make Senators work on the weekend, including Friday. The horror.
Chuck Schumer’s Democrats have used every trick to delay confirming judicial and executive-branch nominees, including 30 hours of floor debate for even noncontroversial choices. This week Mr. McConnell called their bluff by declaring he was going to hold votes on four appellate-court nominees no matter how long it took. Democrats blinked so they could take off.
On Tuesday the Senate confirmed Notre Dame law professor Amy Barrett for a seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She’s the nominee razzed by Democrats because she might be, as Dick Durbin put it, an “orthodox Catholic.” The vote was 55-43.
The Senate also confirmed Joan Larsen of the Michigan Supreme Court to the Sixth Circuit, 60-38. Judges Larsen and Barrett are prime candidates for the Supreme Court when the next opening arrives. Allison Eid of the Colorado Supreme Court was approved for the Tenth Circuit, 56-41, and University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephanos Bibas will join the Third Circuit after a 53-43 vote.
The Senate has now confirmed eight of President Trump’s nominees to the appellate bench, in addition to Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. As Delaware Democrat Chris Coons noted, aghast, on the Senate floor on Thursday, “Four nominees in one week, beginning to end. That’s more than the number of circuit court nominees that were confirmed in the entire first year of President Obama’s Presidency.”
He’s right. Mr. Obama had three. Maybe the Steve Bannonistas should start giving Mr. McConnell some political credit.