Senate Democrats are expressing confidence that they will be successful in confirming President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, Politico is reporting.
The report comes a day after the Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace now-Attorney General Merrick Garland on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals
Democrats say they're pleased with their pace of confirmations and are just as excited about Biden's nominations.
But it’s unlikely the president will approve the same number of judges former President Donald Trump did; 30 percent of judges on the circuit courts are Trump appointees.
“The number’s important, but the quality of the nominee is even more important," said Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill. "So we’re being supportive and careful that the people who come before the committee are ready to serve.”
Durbin is urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to "move our judges as quickly as possible.”
There are presently 82 vacancies to the federal bench, according to Politico. Biden so far has announced 19 nominees. By contrast Trump inherited 112 vacant judicial spots, including a Supreme Court seat in 2016.
“We’re moving very quickly,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a Judiciary panel member. “We will fill as many vacancies that there are. You can’t displace the Trump appointees, but we’ll fill all the vacancies.”
Despite the optimism, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested Monday if Republicans win back the upper house next year, he’d block Biden from filling a Supreme Court seat if it became vacant.
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell said it’d be "highly unlikely" he’d let Biden fill a seat on the high court if one came up in 2024.
"I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled," he said.
But for now, Democrats say it is full speed ahead with Biden’s judicial nominees.
“I am concerned about getting the Biden priorities through,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, citing infrastructure, voting rights and immigration reform. But she added she is "less anxious" about judicial confirmations.
And Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Democrats could “easily” catch up to Trump on judges. Biden's party is "processing them at about the same rate we were," he noted.
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