April 11, 2019

Senate Rules Change Leads to Four Judges Confirmed in Two Days

Hannah V. Hastings 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.).

Visit the On the Bench page for details on confirmations, pending nominees, and vacancies.

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.

Related Resources

Learn more about how the federal judiciary is changing under President Trump:

Importance of the Courts, Judicial Nominations