Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Senate Judiciary Committee Just Infuriated Democrats With An Unprecedented Move

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With only a week before the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are in big trouble and in more ways than one.

From Legal Insurrection:

You may recall that just after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Democrats agreed to confirm 15 federal judicial nominees in exchange for Mitch McConnell putting the Senate in recess so that vulnerable Senate Dems could return home to campaign.

#TheResistance was upset. While they can’t stop nominees, they demand resistance for resistance sake. But Senate Democrats had other priorities.

So Senate recess was a time for Republicans to halt the judicial confirmation train from rollin’ down the tracks?

Not.

Before you can get to a floor vote, you need a Committee vote. And before you can get a Committee vote, you need a Committee hearing.

So, the Senate Judiciary Committee has continued to hold hearings on nominees, lining up more Committee votes for just after the midterms.


And now, Democrats are really upset.

Here’s what NPR has to say about it:

… And now, for the first time, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings during a Senate recess, over the objections of the minority party.

No other Senate committee has been holding hearings during the current recess. But for judicial nominees, the Senate confirmation train keeps on running — even though, and likely because, Senate Democrats can’t be there. The Democrats and allied independents are defending 26 seats in next month’s elections and have to campaign during the final weeks before the midterms.

This week, just two senators — Republicans Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is retiring, and Mike Crapo of Idaho — showed up at the hearing for two appeals court nominees. The senators excused the nominees after just 19 minutes, several minutes of which were consumed by one controversial nominee talking about his wife, parents, children and even his cat.

Hatch, who chaired the Judiciary Committee for eight years, never held a recess hearing for a federal judge nominee. When asked this week why Republicans went ahead this time, he said, “We have to move ahead, and if they’re not cooperating, you just go ahead.”

And the Huffington Post is pissed! Here’s their take on the whole thing:

Not a single Democrat could attend either hearing. Only one other Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), was present. That means, between those two hearings, that three of Trump’s circuit court nominees and seven of his district court nominees sailed through without any real questions. The committee will likely vote to advance their nominations sometime after the elections….

In his opening remarks in last week’s hearing, Kennedy read aloud a statement from Grassley suggesting that the top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), had given the green light to move forward with hearings without Democrats.

“The ranking member not only agreed to hold hearings on Oct. 10, Oct. 17 and Oct. 24, but she also specifically agreed not to object to the timing of these hearings,” Kennedy said.

That’s not so, says Feinstein spokesman Tom Mentzer.

“We were scheduled to be in session at that point,” Mentzer told HuffPost. “At no time was there an agreement to do this during recess.” …

Grassley spokesman Taylor Foy said Wednesday that the hearing schedule was set weeks ago, and that Feinstein did not make her agreement contingent on the Senate being in session. He pointed to a letter Grassley sent to committee Democrats last week saying he was tired of postponing hearings.

“It would be unfair to nominees to change the schedule at the last minute after they’ve made their travel arrangements to Washington for their hearing,” said Foy.

But here’s the hard truth that the #Resistance ignores:

Senate Democrats are perfectly free to attend. They just are too busy campaigning trying to keep their seats at the moment.

That’s right. The dirty little secret is that no one’s stopping the Democrats from attending and asking questions. They just don’t want to.

H/T Legal Insurrection.

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