Demand Justice Releases First Annual Report Card Grading Senate Democrats’ Voting Records on Trump Judges

March 15, 2019

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High-Ranking Dems Among Worst Performers2020 Contenders Warren, Booker, Sanders, Gillibrand, Harris Rate Highly but Klobuchar, Bennet Earn F’s

Demand Justice to Run Ads in Home States of Lowest-Scoring Democrats and in IA, NH, SC to Highlight Presidential Candidates’ Grades

WASHINGTON, DC—Demand Justice on Friday announced the first edition of a new, annual report card that grades Senate Democrats based on their voting record on President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees. The report card covers the 115th Congress, during which the Republican-held Senate, with the consistent approval of many Democratic senators, set a record for the number of federal circuit court judges confirmed in the first two years of a presidential term.

Overall, more than half the Senate Democrats analyzed voted for Trump’s judges 60 percent of the time or better. More than a third of the Democrats received a D or an F grade.

Alongside the release of the report card, Demand Justice announced it will run digital ads in a number of senators’ home states based on their grades. Ads will also run in the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina highlighting the grades received by the senators running for president.

“Senators can condemn Trump until they’re blue in the face, but actions speak louder than words, and when it comes to judges, too many Democrats vote too often with Trump,” said Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon. “A disappointing number of Democrats have buried their heads in the sand and helped Trump and Mitch McConnell to pack the courts with judges representing the far-right fringe of the country. This report card should send a message to every Democrat, especially those who have their eyes on the White House in 2020, that progressives will hold them accountable if they don’t take the fate of our courts seriously.”

Some of the top Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee were among those to receive the lowest grades. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, received a D-plus, as did Senator Chris Coons. Senator Dick Durbin received a D, while former Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy got a D-minus. Senator Amy Klobuchar received an F.

Senators Mazie Hirono and Elizabeth Warren received the highest grades. Each got an A.

Among other Senate Democrats running for president, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders received an A-minus, and Senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand both received a B-plus. On the other end of the spectrum, Senator Michael Bennet, a rumored potential candidate, joined Senator Klobuchar in receiving an F grade. They both voted for 70 percent of Trump’s district court nominees, pitting them around the bottom third of the caucus on that measure. Klobuchar’s grade also owes in part to her decision in 2017 to support David Stras, a former clerk to Clarence Thomas who is on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist. Bennet, meanwhile, voted for cloture on Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, and also supported a former Thomas clerk on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist, Allison Eid.

The report card is graded on an academic scale of A-F based on each senator’s floor votes on Trump’s Supreme Court, circuit court, and district court nominees and their use of blue slips for circuit court nominees from their home states.

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