Senate Democrats trade judge approvals for campaign time

By Mike DeBonis | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Endangered Senate Democrats got their freedom to campaign for next month’s midterm elections and in exchange Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got something he highly values – votes on 15 of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees.

The deal struck by the two parties on Thursday allowed the Senate to wrap up its work until after the Nov. 6 midterm elections. The hiatus comes as a relief to a cadre of Democratic incumbents who face difficult races in states that voted for Trump in 2016. McConnell, R-Ky., had threatened to keep senators in Washington, voting on Trump’s nominees, until Election Day.

But ultimately Democrats paid McConnell’s ransom to get their incumbents back home.

Under the deal, the Senate started voting Thursday evening on the 15 judicial nominees. An additional package of executive-branch nominees is set to be confirmed later Thursday by unanimous consent, two Senate aides familiar with the deal said.

Three of the judicial nominees are to the circuit courts; the remainder are district court nominees.

Once the Senate confirms the 15, as expected, Trump and McConnell can take credit for installing 84 judges to lifetime appointments on the nation’s courts – two on the Supreme Court, 29 appellate judges on the circuit courts and 53 on the district courts.

Roughly one of every six appellate court judge on the circuit courts will be a Trump nominee.

The Senate deal comes less than a week after McConnell’s decision to “plow right through” opposition to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh left Democrats fuming – and some liberal activists demanding that they withhold consent for any additional confirmations.

“My suspicion is, they’re not too happy after last week, but this isn’t about them being happy,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the No. 2 GOP leader, said before the deal was reached. “This is about the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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