What Is Behind Chuck Schumer Allowing Trump to Appoint Fifteen Judges In a Single Week?

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If you follow Senate activity, in the space of barely an hour yesterday the Senate confirmed seven district court judges and paved the way to confirm eight more next week.

For all the intransigence we’ve heard about on the part of Senate Democrats in trying to stall the Trump/McConnell runaway freight train of Federalist Society judicial nominations, it seems like flopsweat is setting in and the left isn’t very happy.

Senate Democrats just gave a huge gift to President Donald Trump: They agreed to expedite votes on 15 of his nominees to lifetime federal court seats because they wanted to go home.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) had lined up votes for all those district court nominees last week. Normally, Senate rules require up to 30 hours of waiting time for each nominee ― something Democrats typically take advantage of to delay action on confirming Trump judges. But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) cut a deal with McConnell on Tuesday to bypass the wait times and let them all get through.

Why? So Democrats could get back to campaigning and focusing on winning re-election in November. The Senate is now out of session until next Tuesday.

Of the 15 nominees, six were confirmed by voice votes on Tuesday. Another one was confirmed on a recorded vote. The remaining eight will get quick votes next week.

It’s a major win for Trump and McConnell, whose No. 1 priority is filling up federal courts with conservative judges ― many of whom are incredibly anti-abortion, anti–LGBTQ rights and anti–voting rights. Trump has gotten 26 circuit court judges confirmed, more than any other president at this point in his term. Another way of putting it: 1 in 7 U.S. circuit court seats is now filled by a judge nominated by Trump.

This significance of this pace of nominating judges is not lost on us and it isn’t lost on Democrat activists:

“Trading this many lifetime positions away for a couple days back home in the dead of August is a metaphor for how myopic the Democrats’ approach has been at this dark moment in history,” said Brian Fallon, who, awkwardly, was previously Schumer’s chief spokesperson. He is now the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group.

“An entire branch of government is being lost for generations, and Senate Democrats are willfully blind to it,” Fallon said. “In the coming months and years, these same Democrats will issue outraged statements about the rulings issued by the very judges that they could not be bothered to try to slow down. It is pathetic.”

Harry Reid’s former buttboy, also weighs in:

But is Schumer really throwing away judicial nominations for the sake of just a few days for his troops to go home. Quite honestly, November’s outcomes are close to baked in right now and it is hard to see how a few days back in the home state is going to change fundamental dynamics in the races that are being contested. I’m not a Schumer fan, but I’ve never underestimated his tactical abilities…unlike Harry Reid, who in his latter years was obviously a mental defective.

If not sloth and indolence, what would make Schumer stand aside and let McConnell ram through judicial nominees? My theory, and take if for what its worth, is that Schumer is looking at losing around six seats, in a best case scenario. In a worst case series of events he could end up in a position where it would be difficult for him to filibuster legislation. If he acts like a dick, then McConnell, a well-known dick in his own right, would have little incentive to show Schumer any of the normal courtesies.

Rather than this being some act of gross incompetence, I think we should see this as Schumer acknowledging that he has nothing to gain from obstruction as his caucus is going to shrink and he’s falling back on Senate collegiality in order to have any influence at all.

The Resistance isn’t going to be happy about Trump winning any victories but there is a difference between the world inhabited the Fallon and his buddies and that inhabited by Schumer. Schumer’s world is real.

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