Yesterday, the Senate confirmed twelve federal district judges and three circuit court judges (2d, 3d, and 9th Circuits) in very short order. The announcements read like a religious litany:

 

According to Politico, the votes were agreed to because vulnerable Democrats wanted to head home to campaign:

Senate Democrats accepted an offer Thursday from Senate Republicans to confirm 15 lifetime federal judges in exchange for the ability to go into recess through the midterms, allowing endangered Democrats to campaign.

The calculation by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his caucus was simple: That Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be able to confirm roughly 15 judges if he kept the Senate in session for the next few weeks anyway. So Democrats OK’d an offer to confirm three Circuit Court judges and 12 Circuit Court judges as the price to pay to go home for election season.

And Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley took a victory lap:

The Democrats are taking a flogging from their base over not fighting. From Politico:

Vanita Gupta, who leads the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, called it “appalling” for the Senate to confirm those nominees without debate. And Demand Justice, a group started to fight Trump’s court picks that spent considerable amounts during the Kavanaugh fight, called the deal “totally unnecessary.”

“It is a bitter pill to swallow so soon after the Kavanaugh fight that so many progressive activists poured their hearts and souls into. This period will be long remembered not just for the historic number of judges Trump has been able to confirm, but also because of how passive Democrats were in response,” said Demand Justice chief counsel Chris Kang. “The progressive grass-roots have awoken to the crisis of Trump’s takeover of the courts, and are not going to tolerate this kind of weakness for much longer.”

The Huffington Post:

“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.”

But Schumer had a stark choice: keep his troops in town and fight and allow all the judges to be confirmed or make a deal to allow all the judges to be confirmed and go home to campaign.

The big takeaway from this is that Schumer isn’t acting like he’s measuring the drapes for the Majority Leader’s office. This kind of cave dispirits the base and depresses turnout. He’s acting much more like a guy who is desperate to keep a 51-49 Senate.

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