Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is rushing to set confirmations of conservative judges to lifetime appointments, with an eye on the possibility that Republicans will not have control over the Senate after the November elections, Politico reported.
Those confirmations would show conservative voters that the Senate can still take action regardless of whether Republicans lose the majority in the House of Representatives come November, the report said.
McConnell has a long-term plan to move courts toward conservatives after Barack Obama’s administration moved them leftward, and GOP leaders say that McConnell aims to fill as many of the 149 vacancies as possible this year.
"You have to be realistic about it and go into it with an expectation that (losing the Senate) is a possibility. And for that reason, I think it’s important that we move judiciously to get done as many as we can," Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in Politico.
"That’s one of the lasting legacies of any administration and any Congress, because these people will serve 25 to 30 more years… in terms of prioritizing our time and effort, I think that should be at the top," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told Politico.
Voting in conservative judges is one thing that Republicans are agreeing on, said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in Politico. "It’s something we can do. It takes a long time, it’s tough, but it’s something we can stick together on."
More than 30 lifetime judiciary appointments are ready for floor votes in the Senate. McConnell allowed only 20 confirmations during Obama’s final two years, but has already confirmed 32 for Trump, the report noted.
Democrats have slammed the push for conservative judges.
“It’s their highest priority. They want to put Federalist Society extremist judges by and large into lifetime appointments. They think they can change the face of America,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in Politico.
McConnell commented on the confirmations on April 2 at a Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce event in Kentucky. McConnell said that Republicans are "in the process of transforming the courts for a generation," Bowling Green Daily News reported.
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