Judiciary

August Confirmations Overcome Dem Obstruction

A backlog remains, but Mitch McConnell's canceling of the August recess alleviated the situation.

Jordan Candler · Aug. 30, 2018

In June, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scrubbed August recess, explaining, “Due to the historic obstruction by Senate Democrats of the president’s nominees, and the goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year, the August recess has been canceled.”

The move ensured that Democrat obstruction would face reprisal and that important issues like confirming judicial nominees would be addressed. At the time, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) made this critical observation: “We still have 271 nominations to confirm.” Which made August the perfect time to push them through.

That work is ongoing, but it’s already paid dividends. In fact, on Tuesday alone, the Senate sent seven district court nominees to their respective benches, with eight more nominees slated for confirmation in the coming week. That being said, the backlog remains large.

As The Daily Signal recently reported, “Of the 179 current and known future federal court vacancies, 160 are on district and specialty courts, according to the Judicial Crisis Network, which monitors judicial appointments. … Trump has 80 pending district and specialty court nominees awaiting Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, and 26 more awaiting a Senate floor vote.” The Signal adds, “It would require votes on at least 10 judges per week for the rest of the year to confirm all of Trump’s nominees for the district and circuit courts, [The Heritage Foundation’s Thomas] Jipping said.”

That’s a massive workload left, but just image how much bigger it would be if McConnell hadn’t canceled August recess. Yet there remains another opportunity to ease the backlog. The Signal notes “it’s possible the Senate would take action in a lame-duck session after the November midterm elections.” McConnell should take advantage of this timetable as well, since — this month’s achievements aside — Democrats will continue obstructing to the extent they can.

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