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Thomas Gallatin / Jan. 30, 2019

About Those Omitted Judicial Nominees…

Trump’s resubmitted list of nominations has some conservatives worried that he’s caving to Dems.

Has President Donald Trump caved to Democrat demands in his choice of judicial nominees? That’s the position taken by The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board in a piece entitled “A Bad Judges Deal.” The Journal notes that the names of three judicial nominees that had previously appeared on a list of more than 50 judges Trump sent to the Senate last year were conspicuously omitted when the list was resubmitted earlier this month. Those three individuals had been nominated for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. So why were they removed?

The Journal speculates that the omissions are due to White House interactions with the two Democrat senators from California: “Ms. [Dianne] Feinstein and the White House counsel’s office have been pen pals on this for some time. In a November letter to new White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Ms. Feinstein and Ms. [Kamala] Harris requested ‘that the White House work with us to reach an agreement on a consensus package of nominees.’ The Democrats want to pick one name from the White House list, one from their own, and a third consensus nominee.”

Clearly, there has been some backroom dealing going on, possibly in an effort to get Democrats to end their obstructionist tactics that have effectively slowed the judicial confirmation process to a crawl. As we have repeatedly noted, Trump is way behind his predecessors in judicial confirmations and that is entirely due to Democrat obstruction. Being in the Senate minority, Democrats can’t prevent Trump’s judicial nominees from being confirmed; they can, however, play procedural games to slow-walk the process as much as possible. Has a frustrated White House opted to try to make a deal with Dems in order to get them to end their delay tactics?

Possibly, but there is very likely much more behind this decision than merely a deal with Democrats to speed up the confirmation process. Before getting too concerned, it would be best to wait and see who Trump nominates rather than ring alarm bells over what names have been omitted.

Update 1/31: Fox News reports, “California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris lashed out at the White House after President Trump, under pressure from conservative activists, re-nominated two conservative California judges to the 9th Circuit federal appeals court over their opposition.”

In a joint statement, Harris and Feinstein groused, “We are deeply disappointed that the White House has chosen to re-nominate Daniel Collins and Kenneth Lee to the 9th Circuit. We made clear our opposition to these individuals and told the White House we wanted to work together to come to consensus on a new package of nominees.”

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