"Dark day" for Senate: Dems protest as Mitch McConnell rams through "nuclear option" on judges

Majority leader "has broken the Senate to pack the courts," says Sen. Jeff Merkley as another norm goes down

Published April 4, 2019 7:00AM (EDT)

Mitch McConnell (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Mitch McConnell (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

This article originally appeared at Common Dreams. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest maneuver to push federal judges onto the bench more rapidly has his critics in the chamber concerned for the institution and the courts.

The latest in McConnell's scheme to pack the courts come hell or high water would limit debate on district court appointees from 30 hours to two.

Most commentary on the rule change focused on the way McConnell and the GOP will use it to force President Trump's extreme right-wing nominees through the Senate and fill the courts with regressive extremists for a generation.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, put the move in perspective.

"In President Trump's first two years circuit court nominees have been confirmed nearly TWICE as fast as they were in President Obama's first two years," Feinstein said on Twitter. "In fact, President Trump and Leader McConnell have repeatedly bragged about their record-setting pace of confirmations."

"This is not a Washington fight over quaint, genteel Senate courtesies," Kristine Lucius, executive vice president for policy and government affairs at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, wrote in an opinion piece for USA Today. "This is about how far McConnell will go to cram biased nominees through the Senate."

"McConnell has consistently broken the Senate to pack the courts," said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

"Mitch McConnell just made it easier for Congress to rubber stamp Trump's extremist and unqualified nominees," said the Senate's other Oregon Democrat, Ron Wyden.

By Eoin Higgins

Eoin Higgins is a journalist in New England. He writes the Flashpoint newsletter.

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