April 11, 2019
Senate Rules Change Leads to Four Judges Confirmed in Two Days
Assistant Director of Strategic Engagement
Last week, the Senate majority passed yet another change in the rules governing the judicial nominations process. The Senate shortened the debate time to just two hours for district court nominees and certain other nominations. And this week we had a glimpse of how damaging this rules change will be, as the Senate voted to confirm two district court nominees in less than three hours on Wednesday.
Over the course of two days, the Senate confirmed Daniel Domenico (D. Colo.), Patrick Wyrick (W.D. Okla.), Holly Brady (N.D. Ind.), and David Morales (S.D. Tex.).
McConnell is fast-tracking President Trump’s judicial nominees
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sought the rule change to speed the confirmation of President Trump’s picks for lifetime judgeships. This, despite the fact that the Senate has already confirmed a record number of circuit court judges.
District courts play a huge role in adjudicating rights and freedoms for millions of people and have a direct effect on their daily lives. Rushing these nominees to a final confirmation vote is profoundly irresponsible. Senators need time to appropriately evaluate every judicial nominee and the 30 hours of debate time was part of that crucial vetting process.
Several of the nominees awaiting confirmation votes have extreme records: opposing reproductive freedom, attacking LGBTQ rights, undermining voting rights, and enabling torture.
As ACS President Caroline Fredrickson said last week in a statement about the rules change:
“The far right is engaged in a concerted campaign to use the courts to enact policies they have failed to pass legislatively. And finding new ways to jam radical nominees onto the bench is seemingly the main tool in their toolbox. The result? A judiciary that bears little resemblance to the diverse fabric of our country or the American ideological mainstream.”
This change to the amount of debate time the Senate has for lifetime judgeships is a power grab that is further undermining rules and norms. All done in the service of enabling President Trump and the Senate majority’s quest to fill the federal courts with judges who hold extremely conservative views.
Learn more about how the federal judiciary is changing under President Trump:
- Visit our On the Bench page for the latest updates on judicial nominations, including pending votes on Eric Miller, Neomi Rao, and other President Trump nominees for the federal bench.
- Read the latest from ACSblogand publications on judicial nominations.
- Judicial Nominations Map – See judicial vacancies in the circuit and appeals courts.
- Changing Circuit Court Composition– See how many judges have been appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents.
- Judicial Nominations: A Broken Process – Learn how Senate Republicans have broken the process for nominating judges to help confirm a record number of President Trump’s judicial nominees.