A Successful Trial Period for Trump’s Judges

There aren’t a lot of things the Senate does fast. But under President Trump, the “greatest deliberative body” has been deliberate about one thing: judges. It may not make flashy headlines, but Republicans are putting together a dream team on America’s benches, just as fast as the rules (and Senate Democrats) will let them.

For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, it’s been a grind. Earlier this month, the White House sent over its 12th wave of judicial nominees, chocked-full of solid men and women who would do the Constitution proud. And while McConnell has been shattering records for confirmations, the GOP’s success hasn’t exactly been front-page news. As Politico points out, Republicans are quietly making history while most people aren’t looking. “When the Senate is confirming judges, it often looks like the chamber is doing nothing. Cable news ignores it, the floor is often empty in a ‘quorum call.'” But that’s just fine with Republicans, who know that the real payoff for their work will come soon enough. “More than 30 lifetime judicial nominations are ready for the floor, and the Senate Judiciary Committee is continuing to churn them out in preparation for a long, slow [slog] on the Senate floor.”

To no one’s surprise, Senate liberals are pulling every procedural trick out of their sleeves to bog down the process. And while they have managed to stall the hires, Republicans aren’t losing steam. Trump has already nominated 69 judges, and even with the punishing 30 hours of obstruction on each one, he still managed to confirm 12 circuit court judges. “No president had 12 confirmed in the first year. So we’re putting a priority on changing the courts. And the kinds of people the president is sending up and we’re confirming are relatively young and extremely bright,” McConnell said.

One of those young and extremely bright judges is Kyle Duncan, a friend of Tony Perkins from Louisiana who’s been an excellent litigator on range of issues, including marriage and religious liberty. Earlier today, the Senate rewarded his record by confirming him to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where everyone is certain he’ll be a champion of the plain text of the law. Duncan’s nomination was even supported by his liberal opponents, like LSU professor Paul Baier, who argued on the other side the Louisiana same-sex marriage case. His glowing endorsement should have left no doubt as to his impartiality.

Both of us strove mightily as adversaries. Through it all, however, I always appreciated and respected Kyle’s advocacy for his client and his respect for the humanity of the same-sex couples who would be most affected by the case. While I disagreed with many of his arguments, often emphatically, I never found a trace of bias, bigotry, or any disrespect towards the same-sex individuals in the case… Kyle Duncan is a magnificent nominee for the Fifth Circuit who ought to be swiftly confirmed.

Fortunately for freedom-loving Americans, he was. By a three-vote margin, the Senate sent him to fill one of the 149 court vacancies. Of course, the president has been very clear about the type of judges that he would appoint: men and women who will interpret the Constitution and laws according to the plain meaning of the words written. There’s no better example of that kind of judicial temperament than Kyle. And we applaud the Senate for recognizing it.

Meanwhile, for Republicans like John Cornyn (R-Texas), who know their party is hanging on to its majority by a thread, re-stocking the courts is priority number one. It’s “one of the lasting legacies of any administration and any Congress, because these people will serve 25 to 30 more years,” he explained. With the sand slipping through the hourglass on this congressional session, party leaders know what they have to do. “In terms of prioritizing our time and effort, I think [judges] should be at the top.” That’s because they know, as we do, that the real work of protecting the conservative agenda won’t come down to Congress — but the courts.

The urgency of confirming these judges, Arizona’s Jeff Flake (R) pointed out, is also one thing Republicans can agree on. “It takes a long time, it’s tough, but it’s something that we can stick together on,” he said. If Senator McConnell “has to use most of the week to do one nomination,” Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) told reporters, “he’s going to pick a circuit judge almost every time.” It’s a long-term investment — but one, hopefully, that voters will reward them for.

Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Parents Speak out with Sex-Ed Sit out!

Ahead of State: Pompeo Moves Closer to Key Post

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *