With progressives still mobilized and angrier than ever following Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s successful confirmation to the Supreme Court amid credible sexual assault allegations, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) provided further cause for fury—and added to already deafening calls for new leadership in the Democratic Party—by cutting a deal behind closed doors with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) late Thursday to fast-track 15 more of Trump’s right-wing judges to lifetime federal court positions.
“Make no mistake, today was yet another step in the GOP’s takeover of our courts, stacking the deck against women and families at every level. Immediately following Kavanaugh’s confirmation and all of the energy and despair around it, this deal is especially painful,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement.
“Through this deal,” Hogue continued, “Democrats allowed Mitch McConnell and Republicans in Congress to fast track 15 more of Donald Trump’s nominees, including David Porter and Mark Norris, whose biased views and extreme anti-choice records indicate they will shape our country in Donald Trump’s brutal image for decades to come.”
There is no reason Democrats should be making any deals with Mitch McConnell to make it easier to confirm more radical conservatives to the courts. Especially not after Kavanaugh. https://t.co/4Nf4lLlzjl# p #4_19 # ad skipped = true #
— Leah Greenberg (@Leahgreenb) October 11, 2018# p #5_19 # ad skipped = true #
This is pathetic. Democrats are useless. https://t.co/oaMM5K4MSQ# p #6_19 # ad skipped = true #
— Leila Charles Leigh (@leilacleigh) October 11, 2018# p #7_19 # ad skipped = true #
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, declared in a statement of her own on Thursday that, with the essential backing of the Democratic leadership, the Senate has become little more than a “rubber stamp for Trump’s takeover of our courts.”
“In recent weeks, people from all corners of our country have risen up and spoken out about how a fair and independent judiciary is essential to protecting our civil and human rights. Yet, today the Senate is jamming through controversial judicial nominees without adequate debate,” Gupta said. “Every single senator should take their responsibility to consider lifetime appointments to our courts more seriously.”
Senate Democrats’ deal with McConnell is the second time in just two months that Schumer has agreed to help the GOP confirm a slew of Trump’s federal court nominees—many of which are hand-picked by the right-wing Federalist Society—with almost zero debate or public scrutiny.
As journalist Eoin Higgins detailed in a lengthy Twitter thread on Thursday, Trump’s latest batch of judges is a heinous and entirely predictable mixture of anti-civil rights, anti-LGBTQ, anti-women appointees who are now set to mold federal law for the next several decades.
While Democrats ostensibly agreed to help the GOP ram through judges in order to allow vulnerable Democrats to return home and campaign through the Nov. 6 midterm elections, progressives argued that Democrats are making a massive political mistake by refusing to use all of the tools at their disposal to combat the right-wing takeover of the judicial system, which will have severe ramifications for women, people of color, the planet, and the poor far into the future.
New Yorker writer Osita Nwanevu was among many commentators suggesting that Democrats easily could have allowed red-state Democrats facing tough re-election campaigns to return home while the rest of the Senate Democratic caucus remained to fight Trump’s nominees, but Schumer opted to fully cave to McConnell instead.
Instead of confirming these judges like this, if Senate Democrats wanted campaign time for vulnerable candidates, couldn't they have….just let those candidates skip out on the nomination process and campaign?# p #14_19 # ad skipped = true #
— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) October 11, 2018# p #15_19 # ad skipped = true #
Would voters have cared if Heidi Heitkamp wasn't in Washington to vote on putting Judge Whoever on the bench of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania? Might have even helped Heitkamp, Manchin, etc by distancing them from whatever Dems staying would have done in opposition.# p #16_19 # ad skipped = true #
— Osita Nwanevu (@OsitaNwanevu) October 11, 2018# p #17_19 # ad skipped = true #
“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,” Demand Justice chief counsel Chris Kang said in a statement. “The progressive grassroots 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.”