Demand Justice Statement on Senate GOP Going Nuclear to Pack the Courts with More Trump Judges

April 3, 2019

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WASHINGTON, DC—Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon released the following statement on Wednesday after Senate Republicans invoked the so-called “nuclear option” in order to change the Senate’s rules and hasten the confirmation of more of Trump’s judicial nominees:

“Democrats could learn something from Mitch McConnell’s ruthlessness when it comes to confirming judges.

“One reason Donald Trump has so many vacancies to fill today is because during the first six years of the Obama administration, Senate Democrats let Republicans command a veto over a good number of Barack Obama’s nominees. If Lindsey Graham said he did not like an Obama nominee from South Carolina, Patrick Leahy would refuse to hold a hearing for that person, no matter their qualifications.

“The Republicans’ bad faith was obvious to many at the time, but Democrats indulged it anyway, thinking Republicans would at least extend the same courtesy back to them if and when they regained power.

“The joke, it turned out, was on the Democrats. As soon as Republicans won back the Senate and White House, they did not hesitate to junk every rule in the book in order to fast-track Donald Trump’s judges.

“Now, McConnell is going nuclear for the second time in two years to further speed up the conveyor belt of Trump judges. In response, Democrats are doing lots of complaining, but they still haven’t backed up their words with any action.

“To this day, many Democrats, even those from safe, blue seats, continue to vote for Trump’s judges two-thirds of the time. It is counterproductive for Democrats to cry foul about McConnell’s tactics, then turn around and help him confirm Trump’s outrageous nominees.

“Democrats may not have the power to stop Republicans from changing the Senate rules, but they do have the power to do more than just sulk about it. They should start opposing all of Trump’s judges en masse. They should commit to adding seats to ensure the next Democratic president has the chance to pick judges who can restore balance to the courts.

“McConnell has set a new precedent that it is OK to change the Senate rules in order to help confirm more of your side’s judges. Democrats must take this ball and run with it when they retake power.”

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